GRANT HILL likes watching basketball with a side of "Onions!"
Tomorrow, Hill and former La Salle hoops star Bill Raftery will be broadcasting their first Final Four games on television.
Raftery, of course, is renowned for his quirky phrases, including "Onions", "Mantoman" and "Send it in, Jerome."
Hill and Raftery will team with Jim Nantz for tomorrow's national semifinals and Monday's title game.
"We're just three friends talking about the game," Hill told the Associated Press, "and I don't know if that's how it comes across, but that's how it feels. So it's really cool."
Fate played a big role in Raftery and Hill getting the gig.
First, Steve Kerr left the broadcast team to become head coach of the Golden State Warriors. Then, Greg Anthony was suspended after his arrest for soliticing a prostitute.
"When they called me, I was taken aback, to be honest," Raftery said, "because there were so many good choices. I guess if you stick around long enough, they'll call your number."
In a neat twist, Nantz broadcast his first NCAA Tournament game with Raftery in 1986. Five years later, Nantz worked his first national championship game featuring a Duke team that included Hill.
The coincidences, said Nantz, make this Final Four that much more special.
Said Nantz: "The ties that my first partner is now my partner 30 seasons later. That Grant Hill was in the first championship game that I called in 1991, it is a very special mix. I've been around a long time. I can tell when something is going to be good. This is going to be great."
The Eagles and SportsRadio 94WIP are planning to launch a 24/7 HD radio station.