Even at a lanky 6-foot-6, former LSU forward Ricky Blanton still doesn't look the part of a basketball titan.
Then again, Blanton never needed the most impressive physical tools to carve out his legacy on the hardwood at LSU during his career in the 1980s.
Blanton, now 46, is in his third year as a color analyst for LSU basketball radio telecasts, capping off a full-circle experience for the Miami native.
"Calling these games keeps me current with the program," Blanton said. "To be able to share some insight, get in the players' head for fans to hear and host the coach's show, this is right in my does."
Blanton still ranks among the top 15 in scoring, rebounding and assists in the Tiger record books, and after dabbling in the NBA for a few years following his 1989 senior season, he returned to Baton Rouge and established himself as a Louisiana basketball staple.
While running an insurance agency, the LSU folk hero also started a popular youth basketball camp in the late '90s before becoming the Nicholls State head coach from 2002 to 2004, winning just nine games.
When LSU hired Trent Johnson as its basketball coach in 2008, Blanton formed an instant friendship with the man tasked to stabilize the same program Blanton once helped prosper.
"I was at the press conference to introduce [Trent]," Blanton said. "We kind of hit it off, and that's the power of basketball. We've both enjoyed great opportunities in life from this sport. He was comfortable with me, and next thing I know, LSU is asking me to call the questions."
With the radio gig, Blanton works alongside longtime LSU play-by-play announcer Jim Hawthorne, who used to call Blanton's own games in the 1980s.
"Jim laughs because I still address him as Mr. Hawthorne," Blanton said. "The respect is well-deserved, though. If you do something for 30 years, it's because you're good. The best compliment I can give is that I'm still learning basketball when we work