March Madness Media Mic Check: Shooting Five With CBS Announcer Spero Dedes

Spero Dedes is a Paramus, New Jersey boy and Fordham University graduate whose passion for sports has taken him on a lifetime journey that very few people will ever be fortunate enough to enjoy.

Just 37 years old, Dedes, a former radio play-by-play voice for the New York Knicks and Lakers, is one of sports broadcastings rising stars. In addition to his college basketball and NBA work, Dedes also announces college football and NFL games.

Image title

(Photo Credit:

Dedes is a broadcasting prodigy of sorts, who broke into the game 15 years ago at the age of 22 as the radio announcer for the New Jersey Gladiators of the AFL.

By 2004, he was working the the Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece for NBC Sports and became a fill-in commentator for College Basketball broadcasts on CBS and the NFL on FOX. In 2009, he became part of CBS NCAA hoops coverage.

Now, as one of the most recognizable March Madness media mouths, Spero has his pulse on every aspect of the NCAA Tourney. He kicked it with The Shadow League at CBS and Turner Sports March Madness Media Day at Manhattans Midtown Hilton Hotel and offered his “Five Key Themes” for  the 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Big Dance.  

Parity Breeds Unparalleled Excitement, Interest And Intrigue

Every year it seems like we are saying, This is the most wide open the NCAA Tournament has ever been. I spoke to guys like Jim Nantz who have been covering this thing for 30 years and Greg Gumbel and they agree that this year it truly is wide open.

I do a lot of NBA and NFL and you go into those games kind of knowing whos going to win and who has the upper hand. The college basketball games… theres such a unique set of circumstances with everything. Most of these kids are never going to play pro, so theres a lot of emotion involved in these final games and most of them are super close, so that just adds excitement for us announcers calling the games.

Don’t Believe The (Cinderella) Hype 

“Unlike last year, theres no Kentucky or Wisconsin or a team loaded with young talent like Duke, who could be dominant teams. Theres literally 15 teams that could get to the Final Four. Once we get past that first round, they’ll be no Cinderella teams left because there’s no prince charming teams. Everybody is on similar levels.

There are teams with more talent than others and power name schools who traditionally do well in the tourney, but how surprised would anyone be if Tennessee-Chattanooga upsets Indiana? Or if Hawaii advances to the Sweet 16. It would be unexpected, but not as shocking as when Kentucky won 38 straight games and lost in the Final Four.”

Snoop Dogg Already Told You, Dont Sleep On The West Coast

Ive done a bunch of Pac-12 games this year and a lot of those teams out West, because of the time difference, especially here in New York, people havent gotten a chance to really see those West Coast teams. Utah is a team that can be a sleeper. Theyve got Jakob Poeltl, the 7-footer from Austria, who is one of the Top 5 big men in the country. If they get hot that could be a tough handle for anyone.

I know Oregon lost some games late in the year but when they are at their best, theyre phenomenal. Dillon Brooks to me is one of the best shot makers and scorers in the country. So to me its one of those kind of under the radar teams as we see every year that will have a big tournament.

Image title

(Photo Credit:

The Return Of Senior Leadership:

I think its refreshing. Look at a kid like Andrew Andrews from the University of Washington, who got better each year. I think its just nice to see a kid for whatever his reasons were, to stay for fours years and have his moment as a senior. For a couple of years there, with all the one and done players and everything thats happened at Kentucky, its almost like if you stayed for your junior and senior year it was almost a detriment to your NBA hopes. Its like Why did this kid stay in college. They wondered why he didnt come out.

“When I grew up, guys like Tim Duncan stayed in school for four years and it was respected. Now it has kind of flip-flopped. Its nice to see the cycle kind of revert back to that. To me, some of the best teams in the country are the teams that have a couple of impactful seniors, not only who are starting but are just in the team mix or rotation. 

Coaching Kings  

“Look at a guy like Sean Miller. If you forced me to pick one guy, Id pick Sean. I love his temperament and demeanor. This is not your typical Arizona team. Much like Cal has had to mold his group in Kentucky, Sean has had his best year of coaching this year at Arizona, even with all of the great teams hes had there, because this hasnt really been a dominant team.

I love Tony Bennett. I dont think that he gets the credit he deserves nationally. Hes beloved in Virginia because they obviously see him every game, but if youre talking about young coaches, hes right at the top of the list.

John Calipari has had so many great teams and players, but this is one of his best coaching performances.”

You can catch Spero Dedes doing first -round coverage of the NCAA tourney (California vs. Hawaii) live from Spokane, Washington with Doug Gottlieb and Ros Gold-Onwude at 2pm on Friday March 18th.

Back to top