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Volume 20 No. 46
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Webber’s passion for tourney refreshing

It was fun listening to Chris Webber call NCAA tournament games this year. Teamed with Brian Anderson and Lewis Johnson, Webber brought what seemed to be a genuine enthusiasm to the broadcast, audibly clapping in the booth and whooping during highlight-worthy plays.

My favorite Webber moment occurred during the West Virginia-Gonzaga Sweet 16 game when he ranted about how long a replay review was taking. He appeared to be speaking for all viewers when halfway through a seven-minute review, he blurted out, “C’mon, man. C’mon. We know this is ridiculous now.”

It’s interesting to see Webber as the NCAA tournament’s breakout star. It wasn’t long ago that he was an NCAA pariah due to a rules violation scandal dating back to the late 1980s. The scandal involved a school booster who made payments to players.

Webber played at Michigan for two seasons, leading the Wolverines to the 1992 and 1993 Final Fours. In 2003, the NCAA ordered Michigan to disassociate itself from Webber for 10 years for the former player’s role in the scandal. That ended in May 2013.

For TBS President David Levy, that background made it especially satisfying to see Webber earn so much good press during the tournament.

“I think he is a superstar,” Levy said. “He had some challenges, as you know, with the NCAA. It’s nice to see him back and doing these games.”

CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus agreed, praising the broadcast team’s work throughout the tournament. “They proved that they are a good team,” he said.

— John Ourand