*FanSided prohibits its writers from using any photos that aren’t USA Today Sports Images. Therefore, I couldn’t find an actual photo of Clark Kellogg to use for this article. Enjoy this photo of the Ferris wheel instead!
Thanks to the kind folks over at Capital One, I was able to interview CBS’s very own Clark Kellogg earlier today and talk some college basketball. Quite simply, Kellogg has done just about everything there is to do with the game of basketball. He had a stellar career at THE Ohio State University. He was the #8 pick in the 1982 NBA draft by the Indiana Pacers. He played four seasons in the NBA (which were hampered by injuries). He worked for the Pacers front office. And now he’s most notably the voice of college basketball on CBS. Oh, and he’s taken to the court with President Barrack Obama, too. But we’ll get to that later. Furthermore, Kellogg is heavily involved in the Capital One Cup, which promotes excellence in the field of sports and in the classroom for all student-athletes.
Without further adieu, Clark Kellogg.
(DP) What made you want to get involved with the Capital One Cup?
(CK) Because of my experience in athletics, both at the collegiate and pro level and also Capital One’s desire to celebrate not just athletic achievements but also educational achievements. It was an easy deal for me. Those are two things I’m extremely passionate about; athletics, particularly basketball, and education, which is a way to empower young people to be their very best during their time in college and beyond. To have a chance to serve as an ambassador for the Capital One Cup, which is the most comprehensive award for sports excellence — with a payout of $400,000 to the winning men’s and women’s programs in Division one over the course of course of the Fall, Winter, and Spring sports seasons. That was a great way to be involved in a win-win partnership. Let’s celebrate achievement; top ten finishes across multiple sports on the men’s and women’s side.
(DP) The college basketball season just recently got underway, with some great cross-conference games taking place in the next few days. Which ones, in particular, will you be paying close attention to the most?
(CK) There’s so many when you think about it. I’m excited to see Baylor and Oregon. I love the way Oregon plays. I know they have some new personnel and a few holdovers from a year ago. Dana Altman is one of my favorite coaches regarding how his teams play. They play aggressively, they play hard, they space the floor, and they share the ball. They’re one of the most entertaining programs. Whether it was at Creighton or K-State, wherever he’s been [Altman] his teams have been enjoyable. But I know Baylor has some nice personnel from a year ago, too. And Scott Drew does a nice job there. Obviously we have the Big 10/Big East Challenge in honor of Dave Gavitt — one of the great contributors and coaches in the history of college basketball. But there’s just a ton of games. I’ll be immersed in trying to watch what I can live, but most of the watching I’ll be doing will be via tape, so I can breeze through as many games as I can in a four or five hour period for the next few days. But a lot of good matchups on tap.
(DP) You mentioned Baylor-Oregon. You’re an Ohio State guy. Those three schools are all football schools. Do you think it’s a challenge for traditional football schools to build a quality basketball program as well?
(CK) I don’t necessarily look at it as a challenge. I just think you need to realize that not everybody gets top billing in the marquee. Whether it’s football or basketball or business vs. engineering on the campus, everybody can’t be on top. But each part can excel in its own way at the highest level. And when they do that everybody wins. The fact that Ohio State has such a great tradition in football helps, I think it’s an asset. I think it’s just accepting that basketball is not football here, and it’s the same way at a lot of other places. But that doesn’t mean basketball isn’t appreciated or esteemed. So I tend to look at it from that standpoint.
(DP) Even though it’s not even Thanksgiving, what teams do you think will be contenders come March?
I tend to look at it this way: at this point in the season I like to highlight some teams that could surprise or overachieve. Not just teams in the power five conferences. I like to start watching the Fairfield’s and Stoneybrook’s; those types of teams, just to have a sense of who they are and what they can do, because some of those teams will be in the field of 68. And usually a couple will emerge and win a game or two. If you look at teams who have a chance to play perhaps in the Final Four, you usually have a dozen or so at the start of the season. Teams that you look at on paper and see that they have a chance to be there. You have to start with the heavyweights — the usual suspects — like North Carolina, Kentucky, and Duke. Outside of the heavyweights, Cal is a team that everyone is talking about; they have two outstanding freshmen. I watched them play the other day. They’re active, have a nice blend of youth and experience, and have one of the best all-around guards in the country in Tyrone Wallace. He’s a stat sheet stuffer. They have shooting all around him and active bigs with these two young guys. So I think that’s a team to keep an eye on. Vanderbilt is relatively young — primarily sophomores and juniors — but talented with good depth and skill. I’ve got them circled as a team for me to keep an eye on. Some of the teams that are outisde of the power five conferences are Tulsa, who has really good balance. Providence, who has maybe the best point guard and maybe the best player in the country in Kris Dunn. And then Texas A&M. They’ve had a nice nucleus and have added a pretty good incoming class at least on paper.
(DP) Finally: you played President Obama in a game of POTUS back in 2010. You lost by one letter. Is there a rematch in store?
(CK) I’ve tried to get one, but he won’t give it to me. I’ve had two other encounters with him since then. But when I tried to arrange for a rematch he was happy with winning the one and only.
Big thanks to Clark and Capital One once again. You can catch Clark all season long on CBS.