US Van Gundy Basketball

In this June 2, 2016, file photo, television announcer Jeff Van Gundy speaks before Game 1 of basketball's NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers, in Oakland, Calif. 

Associated Press

He’s one of the most distinguished voices calling the NBA for ESPN, and this September Helenans will have a chance to hear from him firsthand.

Longtime NBA coach and current ESPN color commentator Jeff Van Gundy will be at Carroll College as part of a dinner on Sept. 22 hosted by Saints coach Carson Cunningham and the men’s basketball program.

“I am elated to be able to visit the state of Montana, the city of Helena, and Carroll College,” Van Gundy said. “Carson Cunningham is a tremendous coach who I enjoy sharing time with because I always learn something new. The job he and his team have done turning their program around is nothing short of incredible. I can’t wait to whitewater raft and get to know his players.”

Van Gundy is best known currently for his quips on ESPN’s NBA broadcasts, including his calls of the NBA Finals. Often working alongside former NBA coach and player Mark Jackson and play-by-play man Mike Breen, the trio’s voices have been prominent as the NBA’s popularity continues trending upward worldwide. Before he became a must-see-TV personality, Van Gundy coached the New York Knicks from 1996-2001 and then the Houston Rockets from 2003-2007, overseeing NBA Hall of Famers Patrick Ewing, Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady and Dikembe Mutombo. The Van Gundy-coached Knicks advanced to the ’98-99 NBA Finals as an eighth seed out of the east, the only time an eight-seed had ever made it that far. Van Gundy also served as coach of the eastern conference in the 2000 NBA All-Star Game.

“We're thrilled to welcome Coach Jeff Van Gundy, the NBA game's best color commentator, to Carroll College and Helena, Montana,” Cunningham said. “How cool that a basketball figure of such worldwide renown is willing to take the time to visit us. We’ve very grateful.

“We’re excited to show him what our program and Carroll College are all about and to hear him drop pearls of hoops wisdom that are applicable to life writ large, and also, I’m sure, to hear him tell funny and riveting stories. We hope folks will come out and join us for an entertaining evening.”

In past events, the Carroll basketball team has had a chance to raft with the dinner attendee, getting quality time with high-caliber basketball personnel.

Van Gundy joins a list of acclaimed hoops minds that have visited the Queen City under Cunningham’s tenure. Cunningham also facilitated bringing in former Purdue coach Gene Keady (2014), Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens (2015) and ESPN college basketball analyst Dan Dakich (2016).

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Van Gundy’s older brother, Stan, is currently coach and president of basketball operations for the Detroit Pistons.

The event begins with a social hour at 5:30 p.m., with dinner scheduled for 6:15 p.m. in St. Thomas Aquinas Commons’ dining hall on Carroll College’s campus. Prices to attend the dinner are $50 for a single ticket, or $90 per couple. Cunningham welcomes those interested in a corporate table to email him at carsonjamescunningham@gmail.com.

Tickets are available for purchase here.

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