NCAA Tournament Interviews: CBS Color Commentator Clark Kellogg

    
March 29th, 2012

Recently CHN writer Jon Teitel spent some time with one of the voices of the Final Four, CBS color commentator Clark Kellogg. But Kellogg was also an outstanding player, having won a Big Ten Player of the Year award at Ohio State in 1982. His son Nick is a member of the Ohio team that won the MAC tournament and reached the Sweet 16 before losing to North Carolina last week. 

Jon Teitel: What are your memories of the 1980 NCAA tournament as a player at Ohio State (Kellogg scored 12 points before fouling out in a four-point loss to eventual national runner-up UCLA)?

Clark Kellogg: It was a disappointing loss after beating ASU in the first round. That was the best team I played on during my time at Ohio State.

JT: In 1982 you were named Big Ten Player of the Year. What did it mean to you to win such an outstanding individual honor?

CK: It is something you shoot for and was a tremendous honor. I had a strong year that helped us overachieve as a team.

JT: What are your memories of the 1982 NCAA tournament (Kellogg had 14 points and 12 rebounds in a seven-point loss to James Madison)?

CK: It left a bitter taste in my mouth.

JT: In 1982 you declared for the NBA Draft after your junior year. Why did you decide to go pro, and what is the most important factor for today's student-athletes when making their own decision?

CK: First and foremost it is a personal call. I was pretty mature for my age and always had the desire to be a pro going back to age 10. I knew that I would continue to keep education as one of my priorities. I ended up graduating in 1996.

JT: In 1983 you became the second-ever 21-year old rookie in NBA history to average 20+ points and 10+ rebounds per game (Rick Barry was the first). How were you able to make such a smooth transition from college to the NBA?

CK: I was a pretty good player and I worked hard. I got tremendous guidance from the strength and conditioning staff at Ohio State. In the NBA I was able to play a lot because the Pacers had been struggling before I got there. My college teammate Herb Williams also taught me how to take care of myself.

JT: In 2009 you took over for Billy Packer as lead analyst for the Final Four and national title game. What is the easiest part of the job, and what is the hardest part of the job?

CK: The easiest part is that I love watching and studying the game. It also helps to be partners with Jim Nantz, who is one of the best broadcasters ever and a joy to work with. It is a wonderful privilege so I do not know if there is a hard part to it. Having to travel and be away from my family is a bit hard.

JT: You were appointed to the Ohio State Board of Trustees in 2010. How important is the school's athletic success to you and the rest of the board?

CK: We want to see Ohio State excel at every level in every way. We are an educational institution, but it is also important for our teams to strive for excellence in the right way.

JT: In March 2010 you lost a game of H-O-R-S-E to President Obama (the game was called "P-O-T-U-S" for the occasion). Was it surreal to be playing against the President, and how good a shooter is he?

CK: He is a real shooter. He has a sweet stroke on his lefty jumper! I thought that I could let him hang around for awhile and then finish him off, but he got me at the wire. It was a tremendous memory on a picture-perfect day at the White House.

JT: Daughter Talisa was an All-ACC volleyball player at Georgia Tech, son Alex played basketball at Providence and son Nick had 14 points, eight rebounds and three steals for Ohio in a Sweet 16 overtime loss to North Carolina last week. Who is the best athlete in the family, and do your kids credit at least some of their success to genetics?

CK: I have a saying: you cannot run away from the DNA! My wife was also a good athlete so our kids were exposed to athletics at a young age. However, at the end of the day the kids have to want to do it and work at it.

JT: What kind of work are you doing with the Capital One Cup?

CK: Capital One is committed to the achievement of student-athletes both on and off the court. Fans can follow the race for the Cup at www.capitalonecup.com. The teams in the Final Four can earn 60 points toward the trophy if they win the title.