Malcolm Huckaby is growing his career as a basketball analyst with ESPN this year and is becoming one of the more widely known names among Boston College grads. Huckaby was a senior on the 1994 Elite Eight basketball team and scored over 1,000 points in his career at the Heights including 199 threes.
Malcolm was kind enough to talk with me Tuesday morning after covering the MAAC championship game Monday night. Since ESPN and ATL covered his childhood in Bristol, our conversation steered in some other directions.
Trying to figure out why Malcolm Huckaby was completely away from basketball for a while and now is emerging with ESPN as a TV game analyst, he gave credit to his wife and mom for pushing him back towards the game he loves. "I was away from hoops for a long time...I give credit to my mom and my wife...I'd be lying to you if I said I wanted to go into broadcasting coming out of basketball."
Huckaby left playing in 1998 and started broadcasting BC games in 2010, Steve Donahue's first season. Now Huckaby is loving his broadcasting career willing to wait and see if that pulls him away from the financial services industry.
Malcolm Huckaby was a starting senior guard on the 1994 Eagles squad who knocked off the Tar Heels in the NCAA Tournament and went all the way to the Elite 8, still Boston College's best run ever in the NCAA Tournament. But tournament success was not common during Huckaby's time at the Heights. His trips to the Garden and the Big East Tournaments were forgettable including a 13 point loss to Georgetown in the first round prior to making the Elite Eight run in 1994.
Growing up in Bristol, Conn., a lot of Big East teams were in the mix for Huckaby to play in college, including UCONN. Michael Adams was playing for Boston College at the time and his brother Joe was one of Malcolm's high school coaches.
"Michael used to come home to Bristol Central and a couple time he played with me. I was looking at other Big East schools. It just so happened Dana Barros was going to be a senior. I knew it was a Big East school I could play right away."
The Eagles were 8-20 his senior year of high school. So why not UCONN, being from Connecticut? "UConn was in the mix...but there was a logjam at the guard position." The ability to play right away was the single biggest factor in Huckaby coming to Boston College.
Malcolm was actually also drafted to play baseball out of high school by the Astros, but his parents put an end to that thought. He had two dreams of places he was to play growing up, "Madison Square Garden and the Great Western Forum where the Lakers played. I was able to get on both."
Malcolm continues to live out some of his dreams now covering basketball. He tells his wife he has to watch basketball games at night for work and he jokes with his friends, "I'm covering college hoops. I've got the best seat in the house at these games in great arenas. I'm meeting coaches, covering players, talking about a game I love, and I feel like the most blessed and happy guy in the world. I don't consider this work."
Looking ahead at this year's ACC Tournament, Huckaby is very high on Miami.
"I'm not jumping on the Miami bandwagon. I said this at the beginning of the season. I really like Miami because of their balance. Shane Larkin. It's amazing to me the progression he has made from freshman to sophomore year. He looks a lot quicker and for me Durant Scott although he got away with a flop here at Boston College, which I didn't like. To me, he is a really good back court player. He and Larkin are great on the defensive end, so I like Miami because they can beat you offensively and they can defend."
After Miami and Duke, Malcolm "would put BC up against any team in the ACC."
Talking specifically about about Boston College, he got very excited talking about Olivier Hanlan, as most BC fans do.
"Olivier Hanlan, I tell you what, he is going to be very, very good. He reminds me a lot of Howard Eisley but he shoots the ball better than Howard did his freshman year, and that is saying something. He just does not play like a freshman."
Malcolm talked about when he was playing high school ball, he would never face a skilled big man and had to make adjustments once he experienced that in the Big East. Now, freshman guards like Hanlan and Rahon can be successful immediately because of the competition they face in AAU ball. "The backcourt of Rahon and Hanlan, I love them."
Talking about Eddie Odio's development, "his freshman year and he caught the ball it was like a hot potato, he would not even look at the rim. Now he is playing with confidence and that for me, as with any player...if you are not playing with confidence, you are going to look bad. That's the biggest diference I've seen with Eddie Odio, you can tell he is playing with confidence."
Lonnie Jackson is BC's best three point shooter, hitting 63 shots from behind the arc at a 38.7 percent rate. But when talking about BC's best 3 point shooters with a guy who hit nearly 200 of them during his BC career, he got back to Olivier Hanlan again.
"You know in the beginning of the season I would have said Lonnie Jackson, but I give a slight edge to Hanlan. When he gets his feet set, he has a really nice stroke from the perimeter."
I wanted to thank Malcolm for taking the time to chat. Glad that you are looking forward to the Eagles having some success and making some noise in the ACC Tournament starting tomorrow as we are.