I was thrilled to be the keynote speaker for the Express Pros Refresh Leadership Conference in Thousand Oaks, CA. It was an honor to share the microphone with corporate giants like John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, and motivational speaker Christine Cashen. It was unbelievable to know the event was on simulcast, with over 8,000 people hearing our comments on leadership. I shared my views on making it in the game of life. Talking specifically about my journey from the 6th grade classroom to the Hall of Fame as a basketball analyst and broadcaster. Bob Funk, CEO and founder of Express Pros, had a vision and a plan three decades ago and today he has had incredible success in building an organization that is one of the best at what it does.
Storrs, Connecticut is the college basketball capital of the world.
One night after the Huskies men won the championship in Arlington, Texas, the UConn women cut down the nets in Nashville beating Notre Dame.
That gave Geno Auriemma his ninth women’s title, passing legendary Pat Summitt. His team went through the season unblemished again.
Breanna Stewart and Stephanie Dolson dominated inside, while Kelenna Mosqueda-Lewis and Bria Hartley were solid on the perimeter. Throw in Mariah Jefferson’s speed and you have a perfect starting five.
Congrats to the fans in Connecticut, winning both titles for the second time ever. The first time was a decade before.
Congrats to Kevin Ollie and the UCONN Huskies. What an amazing story, a program not eligible for the NCAA tournament last season, cutting down the nets at AT&T Stadium.
Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright would not be denied, combining for 36 points. They were so disruptive on the defensive end when UCONN raced to a 30-15 lead.
Free throws were a big story. The Huskies were 10-for-10, while the Cats were 13/24.
I was surprised Connecticut out rebounded Kentucky.
Congrats to the Huskies, national champions!
A 7th and 8th seed will play for the national championship on Monday night.
Connecticut did a masterful defensive job in snapping Florida’s 30-game win streak. DeAndre Daniels was outstanding with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Scottie Wilbekin was held in check, scoring just four points. Florida had just three assists and shot one-of-10 on trifectas.
Kentucky pulled out another thriller on a late three-pointer by Aaron Harrison. Traevon Jackson missed a last-second shot for the Badgers. Alex Poythress was vital on both ends of the court for Big Blue Nation.
March Mayhem continues today. I cannot wait to call the Florida-Connecticut game for ESPN International.
Friday night I had the pleasure of attending a dinner thrown by @Allstate. My man Dan Keats did a terrific job. I met members of the Allstate Good Works team, including Aaron Craft, Joe Harris and Jordan Morgan.
I was happy to beat Joel the Longhorn in the Bracket Challenge, baby!
Kicked off our Final Four stay in Texas with a fundraiser to help The V Foundation.
Darius Rucker performed at Gilley’s and it was a special event. David Gilliken and Bill Webb did a super job sponsoring the event, a Slam Dunk Cancer.
I cannot wait to get to Texas for the Final Four.
There is Florida, riding a 30-game win streak. Billy Donovan would love to add a third national title to his future Hall of Fame resume. Wisconsin is back in the Final Four for the first time since 2000. The Badgers are 13-2 in their last 15 games.
Connecticut advanced as a seventh-seed. Playing at Madison Square Garden for the regional semifinal and final helped. Shabazz Napier willed the Huskies to the winner’s circle, making big shot after big shot. Rounding out the field is Kentucky. John Calipari’s team is o a great run after beating Wichita State, Louisville and Michigan to make it to Texas.
We started with 68 in the big dance. There is excitement galore surrounding the group competing next weekend.
After falling just short of the Final Four each of the last three years, the fourth time was a charm for Florida. The Gators, the top-seeded team in the NCAA tournament, moved to the Final Four in Texas by knocking off a game Dayton team.
Billy Donovan’s team led by as many as 17 points before the Flyers rallied behind Dyshawn Pierre. In the end it was too much Scottie Wilbekin, Patric Young and Michael Frazier.
I was so impressed with Wilbekin’s leadership. He hit a big three-pointer at the end of the half. Wilbekin also settled his team down when Dayton made a big run.
Florida is looking for its third national championship, The team is two wins away from that goal.
Florida extended its winning streak to 29 games in a row, but it was not easy.
UCLA trailed 56-55 before going cold, failing to score a point for almost five minutes. Michael Frazier, who had totaled 13 points in the first two games of the NCAA tournament, had 19 big points against the Bruins. He hit five trifectas to give the Gators some momentum.
Now Florida goes to its fourth straight Elite Eight, but the Gators want to go a step further. Next up is a battle against Cinderella Dayton, which is coming off an impressive win over Stanford.
Archie Miller is a rising star in the coaching profession, leading the Flyers to the Elite Eight as an 11th-seed.
When it is all said and done, I do not think the Gators will be denied. I see Florida moving on to the Final Four.
My wife and I had a fantastic time in Naples for the Collier County Boys and Girls Club fundraiser.. We had the opportunity to meet so many great people. The leadership skills of the CEO, Theresa Shaw, and COO, Tony Orr, are special. I was so impressed by the way they communicated with everyone in attendance. Over 500 in attendance to honor the youngsters from the Boys and Girls Club, where they are so proud they have been voted for having the best programs in the state of Florida. We were joined by Shaquille O’Neal who was absolutely terrific and was a kid at heart with everyone in the crowd. It was a fantastic time, to put it in my words, it was simply “Awesome Baby with a Capital A!”