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Sean Miller sentimental about legendary voice of college hoops Bill Raftery

Simon Asher

Bill Raftery smiles at the camera after the Arizona-Utah game, January 5th, 2017. Raftery is a long time color analyst for College Basketball.

Arizona head coach Sean Miller’s days at the University of Pittsburgh as the starting point guard were highlighted by one of the great plays in college basketball history, “The Pass” as he so calls it in his household. 

The play was a two-on-one fast break to which Miller threw a pass to forward Jerome Lane, a standard play by most accounts, but when Lane took off something was different. Not only did Lane dunk the basketball, he obliterated it, and subsequently, the backboard, which shattered into a million shards of glass upon impact.

It had happened before, but what made this moment great was the voice of legendary color analyst Bill Raftery on that evening’s ESPN telecast as he coined the phrase, “Send it in, Jerome!”

That dunk is one of the legendary moments in college basketball history. That call is one of the iconic sound bites in all of sports.

Raftery’s call of Jerome Lane dunk from Sean Miller

Raftery was in attendance for the Arizona Wildcats men’s basketball game on Thursday as part of the Fox Sports One telecast. It is was a rare moment in which the predominantly east coast broadcaster was able to venture out west and call a game. 

“I have, really a lot of admiration for him,” Miller said. “In a world and a game where ego is so big, I don’t know if anyone has done a better job representing college basketball and having no ego like Bill Raftery. If you talk to a hundred coaches all a hundred of them would say the same thing.”

Miller developed a relationship with Raftery during his Pitt days and said he hasn’t been able to see him very much except when the Wildcats make the NCAA tournament in March.

“You know I really miss him,” Miller said. “When you grow up in the east in the Big East [Conference] back then, you saw him once a week.”

Miller spoke with tremendous reverence about one of the legendary voices in hoops today. Raftery has had a long career as a color analyst and uses other catch phrases to go along with providing insight that has made him one of the best at what he does. Raftery has called games for ESPN, CBS and now Fox during his career, a career that Miller wishes he could witness more often.

“It was great to have him here today,” Miller said. “He’s a special, special guy, does things right and I wish we could have him more.”

Follow Saul Bookman on Twitter.

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