When it comes time for the NCAA Tournament, preparation is vital. There’s a reason why the WBD March Madness crew, while extremely recognizable, nets criticism at times annually. You want to make sure you’re on point. Otherwise, you’ll look like you aren’t knowledgeable enough. And sometimes, as we learned again on Friday, that can put you in dubious situations.
Longtime radio announcer Bill Rosinski, formerly the voice of the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers, was on the call for the matchup between the Xavier Musketeers and Kennesaw State Owls. It was a thrilling game, but one that wound up getting marred by insensitive and inaccurate comments about Xavier’s Jack Nunge.
Nunge transferred to Xavier from Iowa, where he played three seasons. Rosinki detailed this in poor form on Friday afternoon.
This is a disgracefully out of context and inaccurate description of Jack Nunge’s college basketball journey.
On the radio call of Xavier’s NCAA tournament game today.
Lot of game left for them to make this right, and sure hope they do. pic.twitter.com/j2L7b3NlEJ
— Jordan Loperena (@JordanLoperena) March 17, 2023
“You mentioned Nunge, one of the few players who’ve been… Xavier’s… one of the few players who’ve been in the NCAA Tournament. He played at Iowa, and this is the story: Y’know one-and-dones used to be a guy who’d go into college, Austin, and go pro the next year. One-and-done now is, ‘I’m gonna go here, then I’m gonna go to another college, and then another college. Amazing,” Rosinski said.
That… isn’t… quite what happened at all. Again, Nunge played three seasons at the University of Iowa. He contributed to some pretty good teams, too. But he transferred to Xavier later on.
He did that because his father passed away at the beginning of his final year at Iowa, according to David Eickholt.
First off, Jack Nunge is one of the best humans I’ve covered. His father tragically passed at the start of his final season at Iowa. He transferred to be closer to his family and home.
He didn’t just transfer to transfer.
Hope they bring it up again. https://t.co/nlwFzS96kA
— David Eickholt (@DavidEickholt) March 17, 2023
The Courier & Press detailed the reasons for Nunge’s transfer from Iowa to Xavier in a January 2022 article:
His heart was broken when his father, Dr. Mark Nunge, died unexpectedly at age 53 on Nov. 21, 2020, four days before the Hawkeyes’ season opener. Dr. Nunge was an emergency medical specialist at Deaconess Gateway Hospital. He worked in Iowa City at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics before moving the family to Newburgh.
The Nunges are quite the athletic family. Mark played basketball at the University of Rochester. His wife Beth (Poppens) played volleyball and basketball at Central College. Their oldest daughter Rebecca played volleyball at Notre Dame and is now in the Indiana University School of Medicine. Their other daughter Jessica is currently a senior volleyball player at Illinois. His cousin, Chelsea Poppens, played at Iowa State and in the WNBA.
Jack transferred from Iowa to Xavier to be closer to his family, which is more readily able to see him play. Not only that, younger brother Bob is a freshman walk-on at Xavier who lives with Jack in a house off campus.
“It has worked out,” Jack said. “I have helped him adjust to college life. We have our little squabbles about deciding who is supposed to clean and stuff like that.”
Yikes. There’s unprepared, and then there’s really unprepared. Not that we’re expecting a lot of college basketball personalities to not go on the occasional one-and-done diatribes. They can do that, but you’ve got to at least know the backstory. Not all transfers are the same, which makes the backlash against them so nonsensical in the first place.
As for Nunge, he made the play of the game as he produced the game-winning block to hold 14th-seeded Kennesaw State off and lead Xavier to advance.