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News » An eye for quality imports ESPN analyst praises Europeans' skills, says Mavs got fine prospect

An eye for quality imports ESPN analyst praises Europeans' skills, says Mavs got fine prospect

An eye for quality imports ESPN analyst praises Europeans' skills, says Mavs got fine prospect
ESPN Basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla knows Rodrigue Beaubois just about as well as anyone in Dallas not on the Mavericks payroll.

Fraschilla, who lives in the Park Cities, twice coached the 25th player taken in Thursday night's NBA draft. Fraschilla worked with the athletic 6-2 point guard at the Reebok Eurocamp in Italy in 2007 and again this month.

The camp, by the way, is the brainchild of the Mavericks' Donnie Nelson. It annually invites the top 50 players in Europe to get together for the benefit of NBA scouts.

Coincidentally Beaubois also had been working out in Dallas during the spring. The two chatted when they flew back and forth to Italy on the same planes.

Fraschilla, who also has studied Beaubois extensively on film, likes the pick.

"If he was drafted out of Kansas or Texas, Mavericks fans would be holding a block party today," Fraschilla said via phone while walking the streets of New York on Friday.

That was Fraschilla's reaction when he was told that Mavericks fans, hoping for immediate help for their team, haven't exactly embraced the pick of a raw European player. Fraschilla conceded that the 21-year-old, who played in France, has a lot to learn about the game.

"I wouldn't call him a project because that has negative connotations," Fraschilla said. "He has all the tools, but he is just a puppy. He needs time to grow into a player."

Understand that Fraschilla brings a bias to the conversation. He has fallen hard for talented European players. He likes their fundamentals and enthusiasm for the game.

Fraschilla wears two caps at ESPN. He is the network's lead Big 12 analyst and its draft expert on European players.

During ESPN's draft coverage, Fraschilla was called upon five times during the first round to break down the selection of a Euro. That's about his annual draft average.

"Europeans play the game the way we used to," said Fraschilla, who coached at Manhattan College, St. John's and New Mexico before joining ESPN in 2002. "They pass to the open man, and they make open jump shots."

It was at Manhattan in the early 1990s that Fraschilla fell for European players. He had a player from Spain who was "a smart, intelligent team player who knew the ins and outs of playing the game, and he introduced me to a whole new world."

"I could no longer be chauvinist enough to think that we know everything there is to know about the game," Fraschilla said. "It was an eye-opener."

Fraschilla said he thought Beaubois would be drafted "anywhere from the 25th pick to No. 38."

He compared Beaubois to Dee Brown, a 6-1 guard who played a dozen NBA seasons, mostly with the Celtics, and won the 1991 slam dunk contest at the NBA all-star game.

As for Basketball in France, Fraschilla compared the top level to the Big 12. It's not nearly as good as Basketball in Spain, Italy and Greece, which Fraschilla said is better than any college conference in the United States.

But where a player comes from should never be a determining factor.

"It's just as easy to be a bust from Duke or Oklahoma as it is from Spain or France," he said. "What matters is what's inside a kid."

Radio Daze

The lineup shuffling at 105.3 The Fan has begun. Out this week were Kevin Scott and Greg Hill, who held down the 9 a.m. to noon shift since the station debuted in December. It appears that more changes are on the way.

Personnel changes early in the life of a sports talk station are part of the game as management juggles in hopes of finding what it considers the right formula. But this was far earlier than at The Ticket or ESPN.

When The Ticket debuted in January 1994, the lineup was Skip Bayless (6-9 a.m.); Curt Menefee (9-11 a.m.); Mike Rhyner and Greg Williams (11 a.m.-2 p.m.); George Dunham and Craig Miller (2-5 p.m.); and Chuck Cooperstein (5-8 p.m.). The first major change came in June 1995 when Chris Arnold replaced Menefee, who left KTVT (Channel 11) for a TV job in New York.

When ESPN 103.3 debuted in April 2001, the lineup was Mike & Mike (5-9 a.m.): Tony Kornheiser (9-noon); Dan Patrick (noon-3 p.m.); and Chuck Cooperstein and Newy Scruggs (3-6 p.m.). The first major change came in July 2003 when Randy Galloway switched over from then corporate sibling WBAP-AM (820) and bumped Cooperstein and Scruggs from afternoon drive time.

By the way, The Ticket lineup has been intact since early 2000 when Norm Hitzges moved from KLIF-AM (570) to its corporate sibling. Nine years is several lifetimes in the radio business.

And note: There isn't a radio market in the country with three thriving sports talk stations.

Around the Horn

ESPN attracted solid ratings for its three-night LSU-Texas coverage from the College World Series. The series averaged a 3.7 rating (92,130 homes) in Dallas-Fort Worth, peaking with a 4.2 (104,580 homes) for Wednesday night's decisive game. Nationally, the series averaged 2.059 million homes. As for the broadcasts, analyst Robin Ventura sounded as if he took one too many punches from Nolan Ryan. ... In the wake of the United States' stunning upset of world No. 1 Spain, 2-0 on Wednesday, ESPN has soccer's U.S.-Brazil Confederations Cup final at 1 p.m. Sunday. ... NBC's 30th anniversary of Breakfast at Wimbledon starts with consecutive three-hour, tape-delayed lunches at 2 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday. The women's final is July 4 at 8 a.m. followed by the men's live final at 8 a.m. the next day. ... DirecTV subscribers are in luck. I think. The satellite provider is offering expanded Wimbledon coverage, including a six-screen mix channel that can't be easy on the eyes. ... Terrell Owens and his partner Joanna Krupa, the supermodel, were eliminated from the opening show of ABC's Superstars this week. Now comes word that Owens and Krupa, who did not get along as evidenced by Krupa's bleep-laden anti-Owens diatribe, will be back Tuesday thanks to a series-ending injury to tennis-ex Jennifer Capriati. How convenient for ABC to get back the biggest name on the show and his spitfire partner.

'Fourth and Long' update

Michael Irvin's "so-you-wanna-be-a-Cowboy" reality show on Spike TV is coming down to the wire. Six episodes are done, four to go. The ratings have been more than respectable. Through five episodes, the show averaged almost 1.46 million homes for its two weekly Monday night showings. That's a healthy number for Spike.

Because no one was cut last week, seven players remain. The most impressive have been wide receivers Jesse Holley, 6-3, 216 pounds, from North Carolina, and Andrew Hawkins, 5-7, 175 from Toledo.

I just watched the seventh installment, which will air on Monday, and I assure you that someone does get cut. This week's guest star is Jerry Rice, who leads a team of "49ers" against the Cowboys wannabes in a "rivalry game." Included on the 49ers are players previously cut by Irvin who are given a chance to get back into the game.

Irvin line of the week: "The one thing I hate more than losing is losing to Jerry Rice."


BARRY HORN TELLS you who's doing it right and what to watch for on our media blog.

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Added: June 29, 2009


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