Legendary broadcaster Verne Lundquist dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Monday to discuss his new book, “Play by Play: Calling the Wildest Games in Sports–From SEC Football to College Basketball, The Masters, and More,” which chronicles some of his most iconic moments in the booth.
“I’ve been blessed,” Lundquist said on Taz & The Moose. “You go into this kind of a craft hoping that you get lucky and that something memorable breaks out in front of you. We all have that aspiration every week, and then if you’re lucky, something does – and then the challenge becomes can you capture it verbally while not over-talking it? I’ve been blessed in that several things like that have happened.”
Including Christian Laettner’s game-winning jumper against Kentucky in the 1992 East Regional Final.
“The drama was so great because Kentucky had been on probation for four years – what a shock for college basketball schools – and they had come back in with the kids they call The Unforgettables and they have one real star: Jamal Mashburn,” Lundquist explained. “And Duke was the blue-bloods. Duke was up by 12 in the first half and then this scrappy bunch from Lexington came back.”
Kentucky’s Sean Woods banked in a running jumper over Laettner with 2.1 seconds to go to set up the final play.
“Laettner, at that point, had been 9-for-9 from the field and 10-for-10 from the free-throw line,” Lundquist said. “He was perfect.”
If you don’t know what happened next, you might not be a sports fan.
“They had tried this play before – and it hadn’t worked – in a game against Wake Forest,” Lundquist said. “So (Grant) Hill threw it 70 feet and it curved a little bit, but Laettner caught it perfectly – and he canned a 17-footer (to give Duke a 104-103 win). Many people say (it’s) the greatest college game ever.”