Bill Walton’s returning to broadcasting with the Pac-12 Networks


After taking two years off to deal with serious back issues, Bill Walton will be back on television serving as a color analyst on both the Pac-12 Networks and ESPN.

The former UCLA great spent 20-plus years behind a microphone after his playing career ended with the Boston Celtics in 1987, covering the NBA, college basketball and Olympic basketball on various networks.

“We are extremely honored to have Bill Walton lend his knowledge of the game as an analyst for the Pac-12 Networks,” Pac-12 Enterprises president Bill Stevenson said in the network statement.

“Bill’s legendary playing career has made his name synonymous with UCLA and the Pac-12’s basketball tradition and his unique style and engaging personality has had the same effect in the sports broadcasting arena. We are excited to have him on board.”

The official announcement came on Thursday, which also featured the Pac-12 announcing that it’s new networks would broadcast 150 men’s basketball games this season.

And for the first time in league history all Pac-12 home games (that means non-conference games hosted by Pac-12 teams too) would be televised in some form.

The changes ushered in by Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott has given the league unprecedented exposure across the board, and the addition of Walton to the announcing team should help matters from an entertainment standpoint.

“Commissioner Larry Scott is a vibrant, dynamic, visionary leader who stands alone at the top of our world,” said Walton in the statement. “He is a huge reason why I am here. I make my choices in life based on purpose and people — and that is why I am so excited about what we have at the Pac-12 Networks.

“Pride and loyalty are the driving emotions in my life and what could be better than what we have here. The West is The Best. Tradition. Environment. Demographics: We have it all!! Let’s go to college!!! Let’s play ball!!! Let’s chase our dreams!!! Here we go!!!”

To say the least the two-time national champion is excited about this new opportunity.

But my question is which Pac-12 player ends up being lavished with praise as then-Phoenix Sun Boris Diaw once was?

What should be an improved year in the Pac-12 became even more interesting with the addition of Walton.

Photo Credit: Pac-12 Networks

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.