Arizona PBS to feature Final Four interviews, programming

Bobby HurleyAs the NCAA Men’s Final Four rolls into Phoenix, Arizona PBS is showcasing a host of news coverage, programming and events, including an in-depth interview with Arizona State University men’s basketball coach Bobby Hurley on Arizona Horizon.

It all starts on Tuesday, March 28, on Arizona Horizon at 5:30 p.m. Hurley, who became ASU’s head coach in 2015, explores the state of college basketball. Hurley played in three Final Fours and helped lead the Duke Blue Devils to back-to-back national championships in the 1990s. The show also will feature a behind-the-scenes look at the Final Four basketball court being assembled at the University of Phoenix Stadium.

On Wednesday, Arizona Horizon features a discussion on the Final Four’s economic impact with Debbie Johnson, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism and co-chair of Phoenix Final Four host committee, and Tom Sadler, president and CEO of Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority.

On Thursday, Arizona Horizon has a story on the history of basketball at Phoenix Harmon Park as well as a discussion with Dawn Rogers, executive director and CEO of the Phoenix Local Organizing Committee. Rogers will talk about community initiatives, including the renovation of Harmon Park. It’s all capped off on Friday with a sports journalists’ roundtable on the big Final Four stories from the week.

Cronkite News, the news division of Arizona PBS, will be reporting from Final Four events and games throughout the week, covering local connections to the big game. Reports will be featured on the 5 p.m. newscast and online at cronkitenews.azpbs.org.

“We are thrilled to provide our viewers with quality programming and news coverage that celebrates the spirit of the Final Four,” said Arizona PBS General Manager Mary Mazur. “As a part of Arizona State University — the host of the Final Four — we are looking forward to an exciting week in our community.”

Final Four-Inspired Programming: Tuesday, March 28

Also on Tuesday, March 28, Arizona PBS also will feature a block of Final Four-inspired programming.

At 7 p.m., “Independent Lens” takes a deep personal look at small-town life following a down-but-not-out varsity basketball team as it struggles to compete, and the town tries to hang on for survival on “Medora.”

At 8:30 p.m., “John Wooden: The Indiana Story” examines the early years of legendary UCLA men’s basketball coach, who won 10 NCAA Division I National Championships.

Then at 9 p.m., “Afropop: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange” explores the world of playground basketball on “Doin’ It in The Park: Pick-up Basketball — NYC.”

Final Four Talks at the Cronkite School

The public also is invited to a special series of talks ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, the home of Arizona PBS, featuring top journalists and executives from CBS Sports, ESPN and Turner Sports.

The discussions kick off on Wednesday, March 29, at 4 p.m. with a panel discussion on public relations in sports. The talk features Jerry Caraccioli, CBS Sports communications executive director; Scott Kuykendall, Marquette University associate athletic director; Chevonne M. Mansfield, American Athletic Conference communications director; and Nate Smeltz, Turner Sports communications vice president.

On Thursday, March 28, at 3 p.m., Rece Davis, ESPN’s prime-time host for on-site coverage of the NCAA Men’s Final Four, discusses ESPN’s coverage of the Final Four with Brett Kurland, director of the Cronkite News Phoenix Sports Bureau.

The discussions are free and open to the public. The Cronkite School is located on the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus at 555 N. Central Ave.

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