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Fran Fraschilla: Are College Basketball and the NBA Similar?

ESPN college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla joined Jeff Thurn on Friday’s edition of Overtime. 

Fraschilla (@franfraschilla) serves as a college basketball analyst for ESPN. Before entering into his broadcasting career, he was a former coach at Manhattan, St. John’s, and New Mexico.

Fraschilla discusses Iowa State’s college basketball season, and why they have been fun to watch:

“They have had a terrific season, there’s no question. DeAndre Kane, the transfer from Marshall is likely to be first-team All-Big 12, Jeff. Melvin Ejim is going to play his final home game tomorrow, and this is a team that went 14-0 in non-conference with impressive wins over teams like Michigan, Iowa, at BYU. It just happens the Big 12 has been so balanced and competitive. It’s the No. 1 RPI league in the country. So, the Iowa State team has seven losses right now, but it is a very good team that could go to the Sweet Sixteen and beyond that, who knows.”


Iowa State is 22-7 overall, 10-7 in the Big 12. Kane is their leading scorer, averaging 20.0 points per game, while Ejim is their leading rebounder, averaging nine boards a game. Offensively, they rank 10th in the country, averaging 82.4 points per game. Defensively, they rank 264th, giving up 73.3 points per game.

Fraschilla on how college basketball is similar to the NBA:

“Anything that the NBA does usually gets copied by the college coaches. They spend all year studying the game. Let’s put it that way. While college coaches got to make sure players are going to class, going to alumni functions, things of that nature. 25% of college coaches a year probably revolves around coaches, while at the NBA level, it’s a 12-month deal. So, all the good ideas, while it’s pick and roll offenses, how to defend a star player, that trickles down to the college level, but what I would say is the difference, and I want to point this out because as your listeners get ready for the NBA playoffs and NBA Draft, I always try to tell people if you are not watching the NBA on an every night basis, then for someone like me who doesn’t get much chances as I want to because I am immersed in college, people forget how good the NBA level is. That’s why in a given year of the 30 first round picks, 22 of them are eventually going to be busts. If you get eight good players out of a draft, that’s really a good accomplishment. So, yes there are similarities but just because a guy has been a good college player, doesn’t mean he will translate to the NBA level, and that’s something I wish more fans would realize is how good the NBA is.”

To hear more of Fraschilla’s interview, click on the link below:

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Catch Thurn weekdays on ESPN 99.1 from 3 to 6 p.m.

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