Andrew Monaco's M-Blog - May 2013

Andrew Monaco

Andrew Monaco serves as studio host and sideline reporter, along with play-by-play on select games, on Fox Sports Southwest, KENS and KMYS. He is the TV and radio play-by-play announcer for the Silver Stars, continues to do TV for the Rampage, (where he served as radio voice until the 2007–08 season) and handles TV on Austin Toros' telecasts. Prior to joining the SS&E family spent more than a decade covering a variety of teams.
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Dr. Jack Ramsay
by Andrew Monaco | May 17, 2013

Dr. Jack Ramsay
Photo by Christian Petersen/NBAE/Getty
I am very sorry to hear that Jack Ramsay will not be broadcasting any longer, stepping away from his ESPN Radio work to attend some health issues. I have had the pleasure to work with Dr. Jack, when I filled in as host/courtside reporter on Miami Heat telecasts.

First and foremost, a true gentleman. I enjoyed listening to him on those games, and I loved listening to him talk basketball with then head coach Pat Riley. At that time, Jack would get soundbites for the telecast from Riley, but the best part was what they discussed before and after the camera was rolling.

I cherish the moments we shared on those pregame and postgame shows. Nothing makes you appear smarter than sitting next to Dr. Jack as he talked basketball. I also appreciate the times off the court when he would share stories of players and games, coaches and referees, college and pro.

Dr. Jack was so big, ESPN would send satellite trucks to his homes, instead of making him go up Bristol, CT. Sp there would be a satellite truck lighting up the streets of Ocean City, NJ and later Naples, FL, as Jack did his pieces from his home.

ESPN Radio hit the jackpot when it teamed Dr. Jack with Jim Durham. The two clicked and you could tell they had chemistry. you can't fake that in our business. We were all stunned at the sudden passing of Durham. Not only was one of the great voices in our business silenced, but also lost was one of the great broadcast teams.

I first met Jack in Seattle, after an utterly disastrous day of travel. It was my first time filling in on the Heat telecast and we were supposed to get together the evening before the game, so I could meet the crew. It never happened. A delay in Atlanta led me to Dallas, then Salt Lake City, and finally Seattle. A long day's journey into night, carried over into the early morning in Seattle.

So the meeting would take place in the morning, for breakfast. I arose approximately five minutes before the meeting and hurried to the hotel restaurant. Everyone there, but Jack.

I should have known. He wasn't late, but typical Jack -- busy. He breezed in and ordered -- egg whites and dry toast (let's just say my order was nowhere near as healthy) and said he got his morning run in AND taped a segment at the local TV station.

The first thing I think about Dr. Jack is what a consummate gentleman he is. And his shoes. Usually in that order.

Of all the stories, my favorite is the one about me, and I'm not sure Jack knows I know, or if I'm supposed to know. It was relayed to me by Eric Reid, longtime TV voice of the Heat. I still had a mustache at the time and wore my best black suit for that initial Heat telecast. After our first game, Jack said to Eric, referring to me, "That young man looks like he just walked off a wedding cake."

Thanks Dr. Jack for that memory, and all the memories.

Cory Joseph Stepping Up
by Andrew Monaco | May 2, 2013

Cory Joseph
Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty

A young point guard walks on the floor and has to bark orders to a team featuring three future Hall-of-Famers.

No, it’s not the start of a joke.

And Cory Joseph certainly is no punch line.

Joseph, the second-year pro out of Texas, went from sporadic bench player at the start of the season, to requesting to play for the NBA Development League Austin Toros, then becoming the first point guard off the bench in the Spurs first round series victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

“He relished the opportunity to play every game with Austin,” said Sean Marks, Toros’ GM and Spurs’ Director of Basketball Operations. “He made a big improvement and you can see it in his level of confidence, especially on offense.”

Marks added that Joseph extended his range from 15 feet “to becoming a terrific three-point shooter.” Joseph shot 48% beyond the arc in his 26 games with Austin. He also averaged 19.4 points, 5.5 assists, 4.8 rebounds and two steals per game, earning him 2013 NBA D-League 2nd Team honors.

But this is more than just Joseph’s D-League accomplishments. As Sean Elliott said repeatedly on Spurs’ telecasts, Cory was an NBA player, with NBA talent, playing in the D-League.”

Chad Forcier, Spurs’ assistant coach and responsible for player development, raved about Joseph’s “appetite to learn, to improve, to be an NBA player and he backed it up with all his work.”

Perhaps Cory’s biggest improvement? “He improved his leadership, he is vocal out there and he leads by example,” said Marks. “His play is contagious.”

One person who saw Joseph’s ascension is former Spurs’ assistant and current head coach of the Orlando Magic, Jacque Vaughn. I had a chance to talk with Vaughn last season, when the Spurs were in Utah and I asked him what he saw in Joseph. “Leadership,” Vaughn said. “This team will play for him.”

Vaughn also saw a lot of himself in Joseph. He recounted how when he was with the Jazz and John Stockton got hurt, the starting point guard duties fell on him, but he admitted he was filling some big shoes. Things changed when Stockton himself, along with Karl Malone, told Vaughn to be the lead the team, be himself, that’s what he was there for. Their confidence in him made for a more confident Vaughn on the floor.

Joseph showed off that trait, and others, in the series against the Lakers, earning Spurs’ head coach Gregg Poopovich’s praise. “When you enter the playoffs, you know the intensity level increasers a few decibels. Physicality increases, all that sort of thing,” Pop told the San Antonio Express-News. “That suits him (Joseph). He’s not going to back off that. It’s not going to knock him off his spot. He’ll continue to compete. That’s what made us choose him in the end.”

The Spurs made their choice and Cory Joseph made his choice. Instead of sitting on an NBA bench, he opted to play 35 minutes a night with the Toros in the D-League. Ultimately, it earned Joseph confidence.

The confidence that Sean Marks, Chad Forcier, Toros’ head coach Taylor Jenkins and the rest of the Spurs have in Joseph is paying off as well.