Bill Raftery, a former La Salle player, weighs in

Bill Raftery , who played at La Salle in the early 1960s, called Thursday night's matchup interesting. AP
Bill Raftery , who played at La Salle in the early 1960s, called Thursday night's matchup interesting. AP
Posted: March 29, 2013

LOS ANGELES - This part of La Salle's NCAA run is a shame: By the luck of the draw, Bill Raftery hasn't been assigned an Explorers game yet.

The CBS Sports college basketball analyst, best in his business, doesn't mind.

"It's been fun being a fan - you don't often get a chance," said Raftery, who is working the games in Washington this week.

Raftery, 69, was a La Salle cocaptain in 1962-63.

"Don't look up my record, that's all," Raft rafted. (In fact, the Explorers weren't bad in his time, going 15-7, 16-9 and 16-8, and he led the Explorers with 17.8 points a game as a sophomore in 1960-61.)

He has stayed in touch with the program over the years and said he's gotten to know Explorers coach John Giannini ("I think he really understands what La Salle is all about"), helped with some meet-and-greet La Salle events, and at least met all the players.

"I'm still trying to figure out what a Southwest Philly Floater is," Raftery said. "We had Jimmy Flavin from West Catholic. We had Flave's Floater."

Talking this week, Raftery put on his analyst's cap for a second, calling it an interesting matchup, noting that Wichita State, La Salle's NCAA Sweet 16 opponent Thursday at the Staples Center, "is one of those teams defensively that takes you out of what you want to run. . . . Make you rely on your skill set."

And La Salle's guards, as anyone watching now has seen, have a skill set, and some onions.

"I think these guys are really good at reading defenses," Raftery noted.

He doesn't mind watching Thursday's game from across the country.

"We go where we're told - I'd probably jinx them if I went," Raftery said.


Contact Mike Jensen at mjensen@phillynews.com. Follow @jensenoffcampus on Twitter.

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