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Why was Cory Alexander at JPJ Thursday night? The answer will surprise you

Chris Graham
uva basketball
Photo: UVA Athletics

Credit to Cory Alexander, who was at JPJ Thursday night, broadcasting live on location, when he didn’t have to be.

And if you’re noticing a change in tone from me on the Cory Alexander beat from even just yesterday, yeah, just read on.

Alexander, we know, had run afoul of the fan base and coach Tony Bennett last week when he inserted himself into the action in the final minute of the Cavaliers’ 73-70 win over Florida.

Turns out, he had been assigned to broadcast Thursday’s game with Texas Southern remotely.

That’s the weird thing that ESPN has been doing since before COVID, but don’t blame the remote broadcasting thing on COVID – they just use it a lot more these days, because they found out they can save money not having to pay their broadcasters per diem by having them work from home.

Alexander, realizing how it would have looked if he was calling the game from his home studio, reached out to higher-ups at ESPN to make a push for being on location.

The issue there: ESPN didn’t have a play-by-play person assigned to work the game on location.

The solution: Doug Sherman, who was the play-by-play guy for the UVA-Florida game in Charlotte last week, and who worked a game in Albany last night, agreed to do the game in person from JPJ.

So, credit to Doug Sherman there, for taking one for the team.

I didn’t get to hear the broadcast because I was on press row, which just so you know, isn’t anywhere near where the TV broadcasters work from.

We sit up toward the back of the lower bowl.

Back in the U Hall days, we were courtside, but those seats fetch good dollars, so they moved the ink-stained wretches back, knowing we wouldn’t complain.

There aren’t many of us left to complain, honestly.

I counted eight working media members on press row tonight.

Anyway, it’s been years since I’ve been down on the floor, which is why you’ll never have to read about me telling a ref that a call was wrong, and flipping my phone out with a replay to make my case.

cory alexanderI had to shake my head at Cory’s tweet from Wednesday doubling, tripling, infinity-ing down on how he was in the right last week, quoting Thomas Jefferson, a Bible verse, and mangling the UVA Honor Code, which for the record doesn’t cover not seeing a ball go off a kid’s knee as you make the case that the call should go the other way because you’re bending over backwards trying not to look like a homer.

Twitter let him have it, as it should have.

I wasn’t sitting close enough to the broadcast table to know if fans sitting courtside gave him hell, as they should have.

I do know that the gesture of him making it a point to be there in person Thursday night to take it like a man went over well with the Virginia program.

Cory’s still going to Cory – still going to fill in the gap with stories about his playing days in the place of anything resembling insightful analysis.

He’s no Dan Bonner, no Jay Bilas – more a Dick Vitale, look at me kind of guy.

Credit to the guy, though, because he could’ve taken the easy way out, and didn’t.

From my perspective, we’re all square.

With reporting by Scott German

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].