Before he was an analyst on ESPN’s College GameDay, Jalen Rose spent his college days playing for one of Michigan’s greatest teams.
Now, with the show heading to East Lansing, Rose is spending some time back in enemy territory, and MSU fans are making sure he knows it.
“People are going to say stuff, or say ‘Hey Jalen, what you doing up here?’ or remind me of games where they won or when they yelled things at me,” Rose said while meeting with the media on Friday. “It’s a good rivalry , it’s a healthy one.”
Rose will be stepping back onto Breslin Center’s court Saturday morning when he takes a seat at the GameDay desk in front of thousands of fans. He likely will be showered with boos and jeers by those clad in green and white, but for the most part Rose embraces coming back to the land of Sparty.
“Oh it’s all love,” Rose said. “What a lot of people may or may not know is I love Michigan, I went to school there, but … I did a lot of partying in Lansing, so I’m probably not a stranger to older people around my age in these parts.”
One analyst that doesn’t deal with the animosity Rose does is former Duke basketball player Jay Bilas. As a matter of fact, Bilas labeled MSU as one of his favorite college destinations, but he couldn’t bring himself to buy ice cream during his first visit to the MSU Dairy Store earlier in the day.
“I love it here, I wish it was a little warmer,” Bilas said. “I love coming here, because I love the Breslin Center, because I learn something every time I come here. the coaches’ doors are always open, so you can sit in and learn something about one of their opponents, or about the game or about how they are looking at things.”
The two will join fellow analysts Digger Phelps and Rece Davis on the set tomorrow morning, with filming beginning at 10 a.m. for their ESPNU show and 11 a.m. for their ESPN show.
Appling to the NBA?
If there is one person in East Lansing to ask about NBA talent it might be Rose, who played 13 years in the league and currently contributes to ESPN’s NBA coverage.
There is no question MSU has some NBA talent on its roster with senior forward Adreian Payne and sophomore guard Gary Harris, but what about senior guard Keith Appling?
“Potentially,” Rose said. “At some point being in the NBA is about fit, and if he was at the right place at the right time, he absolutely could.”
A concern Rose has with MSU’s floor general is that in today’s NBA, point guards have to be more “dynamic” with the ball than Appling is willing to be.
On the flip side, Bilas said he has no reason to doubt Appling’s ability to play in the league, even with his height disadvantage at 6-foot-1.
“Yeah, he can play in the NBA, there is no question,” Bilas said. “A guy that can handle the ball, shoot and defend at the point guard position can play. Now he’s not a big player … so that’s going to be an issue, but the more smaller guards have made it in the last five or ten years than ever before.”