College notebook: Ex-Cavalier talks a good game
Courtesy University of Virginia
Ted Jeffries (right) is in his second season with his broadcast partner Dave Koehn (left) on the UVa basketball radio network. Jeffries went to three NCAA tournaments with the Cavs as a player.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
When his alma mater was looking for a radio analyst, Ted Jeffries was intrigued.
Jeffries used to play center for the Virginia men's basketball team. He played pro basketball overseas and spent three seasons as a college assistant coach. Serving as the color commentator for the UVa radio network seemed like a "natural transition" to him.
"Secretly, it's kind of been a passion of mine to want to be on the radio," he said. "When I went to UVa, I was a communications major and I had thoughts of maybe one day trying to own a radio station and being on the radio."
Jeffries is in his second season as play-by-play announcer Dave Koehn's partner.
"My job is to kind of bring the [listener] into ... what happens during the play," Jeffries, 42, said. "How did Joe Harris get this great shot? Why was Akil [Mitchell] able to break free down low? It kind of makes my job easy because of what I know about the game of basketball."
The hardest part of his job might be making his observations quickly so Koehn can get back to describing the action.
"Dave really needs to talk about a particular play, especially when a shot goes up," Jeffries said. "My feelings don't get hurt if I get cut off. That's the real challenge, being concise with your point and getting out."
The 6-foot-9 Jeffries played in three NCAA tournaments, helping UVa make the Sweet 16 in 1993 as a senior. He also helped UVa win the NIT as a junior.
He averaged 6.4 points and 6.1 rebounds in his career.
"I may talk about my experiences as a UVa men's basketball team member ... and make comparisons to some of the things that a basketball player may be thinking," he said. "I don't compare myself to any one particular player or talk about how I may be better than they were. If anybody saw my stats, they don't really jump off the page."
Jeffries also works for UVa as a fundraiser. He is in his sixth year as a development director for the University of Virginia Alumni Association.
So how critical does he get on the air about the Cavaliers?
"You're not gong to berate any one guy, but if a guy's not performing up to what you've seen from them, I'm comfortable being able to say, 'They're not playing very well right now,' or 'This team didn't play well today,' " he said.
"In your language, you really have to make sure you're watching how far down that hole you go. You don't want to seem too down on the team or program or coach because losses are never as bad as most seem."
UVa made a splash by beating Duke at John Paul Jones Arena last week but is coming off a road loss to Boston College. UVa is 17-1 at home this season but 3-7 on the road.
"That's really been a challenge for this team," Jeffries said of road games. "It can be the youth, kind of the inexperience of being in different arenas and performing on the road in the ACC. They're not able to duplicate the same performance they put out when they're at John Paul Jones Arena."
Tourney time for Radford women
Last fall, Radford women's basketball coach Tajama Ngongba said a 20-win season was a realistic goal for her team.
But this has been another mediocre season for the Highlanders (14-13, 9-9). This is the second straight year they went 9-9 in league play.
Sixth-seeded Radford will face 11th-seeded UNC Asheville at 2 p.m. today in the first round of the Big South women's basketball tournament at Coastal Carolina.
Injuries and deaths of family members have affected the team, said Ngongba.
"All of those issues tend to play a factor on the team's mental focus," Ngongba said. "Some of the issues that they've had to face off the court this season have been tremendously challenging.
"We're in a good place mentally [now]."
The team also suffered from disciplinary issues.
Da'Naria Erwin Spencer was suspended for seven games earlier this season. Last week, she was dismissed from the team.
Even when Erwin Spencer did suit up, she did not make the impact she had in the past. She averaged just 10.3 points this season, down from 17.3 points last year, when she earned All-Big South honors.
"It rarely happens, but sometimes your great go-to player just has an off season," Ngongba said.
UNC Asheville (2-27, 0-18), whose starting lineup includes Lord Botetout graduate Grace Blaylock, lost to Radford 66-54 on Jan. 3.
If Radford wins today, it will face third-seeded Presbyterian. Radford split its two meetings with Presbyterian, including a loss last week.
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