By BRIAN LESTER
Jim Heller told the me the other day that he plans on returning for another season as the radio voice of the Univeristy of Findlay men's basketball team.
It's great news. Heller is a top-notch radio broadcaster and a class act as a person. I respect his work and enjoy the chances we get to chat about UF basketball during the grind of a long season.
Heller is thrilled about his looming return and echoed the same thoughts I have about covering UF basketball.
It's a neat experience. In the seven seasons I've been on the beat, I feel as if I've become a part of the program in some small way because the effort I put forth to cover the team is appreciated by the coaches, the players, the school and the fans.
Head coach Ron Niekamp and long-time assistant Charlie Ernst are as good as they get in the business. They never have a problem going above and beyond to help me do my job as a writer.
The players are always willing to talk after a game regardless of the outcome. And even after their careers are done, they never forget you.
A few weeks ago, I had a chance to do phone interviews with Josh Bostic, Morgan Lewis and Lee Roberts, three of the stars of the 2009 NCAA Division II national championship team. All three had no problem taking a little time to talk about their experiences of playing their first seasons of professional basketball.
They had no obligation to do it, and yet, they never acted as if doing the interviews were an inconvenience or a waste of time.
The same went for Tyler Evans at the Elite Eight in March. The hero of the 2009 national championship game was in Springfield, Mass., for a CBS promotion.
I interviewed him about the experience and asked him to reflect on the 3-point shot he drilled to lift the Oilers to a title in a 56-53 overtime win over Cal Poly Pomona.
The bottom line is the UF hoops program is first-class all the way and it won't be long before another season is underway. I'm looking forward to being a part of it. Heller is as well.