My first recruiting visit was to Oral Roberts. I played with Mark Acres, a year ahead of me. He played for ORU, coached by Ken Hayes. When he picked me up at the airport, coach Hayes took me to Jenks High School to meet Steve Hale, hoping we'd hit it off. Once we got to the school, we sat down with Oral Roberts. We prayed together. He prayed that I would go to school there. Coach Hayes' plan was he was going to get me, Wayman Tisdale, Mark Price and Steve Hale. He was 0-for-4.
When I was in high school we didn't have cable at our house. ESPN wasn't what it is today. National TV was ABC or CBS, not ESPN. My parents out in California would have to go to a bar or a restaurant to watch my games. I'm amazed everything is on television now and how much it's grown.
My favorite part of the job is going to games. Sitting with Bill Raftery, watching a game, it's like sitting in a bar. After we go to practices, we later eat lunch and talk about what we saw. Getting to sit courtside and talk about the game, you can't beat that.
The biggest misconception about what we do is that we actually care who wins. We don't. The only thing I root for is a good game. No one wants to see one team kill another team. It's more memorable if it's an exciting game. I could care less who wins. I have too much respect for coaches who put in all that work to slant a game to one side or the other. One thing that's contributed to that is it's in vogue to pick the winner. The reason we do it is it captures people's attention. But if I knew who would win I'd be sitting in Vegas with a drink in my hand.
Dick Vitale is the most genuine, generous man on the planet. If you introduced yourself at an airport, by the end of the conversation he'll know everything about you, have your home address and send you a box of things he signed — a T-shirt, a ball or a book — and mail it to you. He's such a great guy. He did my games as a player. Working with him has been a privilege.
Conference realignment and all the money being exchanged can be traced back to an NCAA decision to limit the amount of times a team could be on television. They thought it would keep people from attending games, that if you could watch a game on TV you wouldn't go. They still worry about it. But it's a stupid concern because the more you give people the more they want. It's really incredible the amount of content we give people on the Internet, Twitter, Facebook, talk radio and television. It's not saturated. The more we put out there the more people want to consume.
When I got married in 1992, I was an assistant coach at Duke. My wife wasn't interested in being a coach's wife. I wanted her more than I wanted to be a coach. As much enjoyment as coaches get out of the game, it can be hard on a family. Most coaches pick up and move every few years. That's really hard. There's also stress on the family from winning and losing. It's difficult.
I couldn't carry my law practice and be a TV analyst. I chose what got me a better seat at games. It just kind of took off and I made a career out of it. I'm still with my law firm, but I don't practice law anymore.
The first time I saw my wife, Wendy, I was thumbing through a basketball magazine. Like everyone else, I wanted to see what they were saying about me. Her picture was in the magazine. She was a cheerleader at Duke. I thought, ‘She goes to my school, maybe I have a shot.' I started pursuing her. They probably call it stalking now.
My wife is an artist who has her own studio at our home. About 10 years ago, when I came home from a road trip, I walked into the house and there was a painting on the mantel. Being married, I learned to be careful what I said if I saw something new. I asked her where she got it, thinking how much did it cost. She told me she painted it. Through her, I understand art a lot better. My wife is really good. My 17-year-old daughter, Tori, is even better. It's amazing how she can draw in pencil anything you give her.