“5 on 5” is a ten question interview with notable people in FRIARTOWN. We ask 5 basketball related questions and 5 off-topic ones.
John Rooke, aka the “Voice of the Friars”, was kind enough to take part in another edition of “5 on 5” via email.
John Rooke is an award-winning broadcaster, currently serving in several broadcast capacities, including 20 years as the play-by-play voice for Providence College basketball; Big East Conference football and basketball play-by-play for ESPNU, ESPN Regional Television and the ISP Sports Network; stadium voice for the New England Patriots and New England Revolution; host for Inside the Big East on ESPNU and several regional sports networks and local TV stations; and talk host for the ESPN Radio Network and WEEI Radio in Boston.
Friarblog.com: We all know Sharaud Curry has been struggling shooting-wise. Have you noticed anything else different about Sharaud from previous years? Is he just having trouble adapting to the new players? Just a slow start?
John Rooke: Just a slow start, IMO. He’s actually trying to do too much, to get others involved. Sharaud just needs to be himself, and he’ll be fine.
Friarblog.com: Greedy has been the most consistent player all season. If there is one bad thing you could say about him, is that he takes too many threes (who doesn’t?!). Should he get a stop light? Or only take a few a game as long he continues to knock ‘em down at a 30% clip?
John Rooke: All Greedy needs is to learn WHEN to take the three. When his shot selection becomes better, he’ll be even more devistating than he is right now. Scary.
Friarblog.com: Let’s talk about Vincent Council. I love Vincent Council. He’s obviously impressed everyone so far with his play as a freshman. What is one thing that impresses you about him that a regular Joe like me wouldn’t notice by listening to the game / watching on low quality video feeds.
John Rooke: Council has court savvy that is beyond his years. He plays like an upperclassman, knows how to get the ball up the floor, and looks to pass FIRST. He can also penetrate and kick. He can be all-BE before he’s through.
Friarblog.com: Russ Permenter and Kyle Wright have had their struggles adjusting, but have also had some impressive performances along the way. How do you think they will fair in BIG EAST play?
John Rooke: Tough to say, although I like both guys. They need to learn to bring IT every night, and realize that if the shot doesn’t fall, there are many other ways to contribute. Russ will get his chances, and so will Kyle.
Friarblog.com: Heading into BIG EAST play, it’s clear that the Friars are going to take some lumps. Aside from just being a general overall better team in March vs. November, what is one specific thing you would like to see in these games (besides WINS of course!)?
John Rooke: Improvement. And by that – better recognition of situational play on the floor, better recognition of when to take a 3 and when to back off or go inside…and better on the ball pressure in half-court defensive situations.
Off Topic Friarblog.com: The Patriots are in first place, but not without any problems. A question I heard on ESPN which I will ask you – “Did Belichick lose his team after the missed 4th down against Indianapolis?”
John Rooke: I think so…at least some of them.
Friarblog.com: So last time you mentioned you didn’t get out to the movies much. What about TV shows? Pick up any good new ones this year?
John Rooke: Big fan of Friday Night Lights, but haven’t seen much of the new season (on DirecTV) yet…guess I’ll have to wait to a network picks it up in the winter. Also enjoy Man v. Food on the Travel Channel!
Friarblog.com: I didn’t catch your broadcast of the BU game (I think?) you did with Tim Welsh. What was it like working with him in such a different manner? Did you give him any tips?
John Rooke: It was fun working with Tim. The producer said after the game that it was like we had worked together before, and I just laughed. “Yeah, about 10 years or so!” He was very prepared, and didn’t need alot of direction.
Friarblog.com: You are a Texas Longhorns alum. What are your thoughts on the big National Championship game?
John Rooke: Hook ‘em Horns! I feel good about the big game – although Bama is also very good. Tough, physical, and they are deceptively quick. My son says 31-27 UT, and I think I’ll go along with that. Most everyone thinks Bama will win big – we’ll see. They said that about USC back in ‘05, too. That Texas-USC game only turned out to be one of the greatest college football games of all time. History says the Heisman winner (which Mark Ingram won) hasn’t fared well recently.
Friarblog.com: Speaking of Texas, a co-worker of mine is also an alum and a huge fan. He recently went to the ESPN GameDay game when there was some big State Fair or something going on. He showed me the menu of food items (including Fried Butter, Fried Coke etc). Have you ever been to that? If so, what is your favorite weird food item there?
John Rooke: The State Fair of Texas! Many, many times – every year as a kid – and boy, do I miss it! My goal, someday, is to establish the State Fair of Rhode Island. Think that would work around here? Nothing too weird on my menu, I’m strictly a Fletcher’s Corny Dog kinda guy. They are delicious – with yellow mustard, too!