Now rising media stars, Budick and Asman reflect on their Ultimate Hoops start

Budick (left) and Asman in their New York studio. photo by Riley Ludwig

Budick (left) and Asman in their New York studio. photo by Riley Ludwig

On a journey that began in middle school and will continue through Super Bowl LI in Houston, Ultimate Hoops has served as a powerful platform for a rising college radio duo – and reaped plenty of benefits along the way.

Jake Asman and Dan Budick have known each other for about a decade – nearly half their lives. They attended grade school together and were good friends by the time they entered the high school ranks. That friendship (and, ultimately, partnership) was sparked by a mutual interest in the sports media world, the broadcasting field in particular.

Asman and Budick joined the Ultimate Hoops team in Syosset in 2012 when they were high school seniors. They were brought on by Ed Tierney, then the Northeast Regional Manager. The two instantly brought a fresh perspective to a brand that already held itself to a very high standard.

The social media savvy duo implemented their own content almost immediately. While they followed basic league guidelines, they went above and beyond the call of duty.

Budick explained a major appeal of UH: “The opportunity was there to be creative. There weren’t limitations in terms of what we could do.”

Part of that opportunity has been provided by Alicia Koerner, a Syosset League Coordinator who has known the pair since they started at Ultimate Hoops.

“Their passion and the love of sports they possess makes Jake and Dan an asset to the UH Media Team and truly portrays what Ultimate Hoops is all about,” says Koerner.

For Asman and Budick, the Ultimate Hoops experience was more than just a few articles and pictures here and there. It turned into a production that would include professional video interviews, pregame and postgame shows, one-on-one sit-downs, award shows…you name it. Asman said that the goal has always been “to treat the players as close to professionals as we possibly can.”

Asman and Budick entered Ithaca College in 2013. While they would continue their work with Ultimate Hoops during school breaks, their focus turned to creating a sports radio program at Ithaca. In addition to doing high school radio, Asman and Budick called football games for the Syosset Braves. Considering that they had already been working together for four years, a new venture for the television/radio majors seemed natural.

The Asman & Budick Show originated as a podcast when the two were in their second semester as freshmen. The television station at Ithaca, ICTV, was thinking about going into podcasting. At the time, there wasn’t an opportunity on the campus radio station to have an individual sports talk show. Asman & Budick did a podcast through ICTV on the New York sports scene and major sports stories that aired a couple times a week. That ultimately turned into a live, two-hour-a-week show on VIC radio, a student-run station at Ithaca.

As they worked to grow their radio program, the tandem continued to do work for Ultimate Hoops during the summer months. Over the past year or so, they developed the Ultimate Hoops Podcast Network, which has since gone national.

As evidence of its growth, Budick noted the many podcasts of UH National Manager Reid Nelson and the fact that hoops star Candice Wiggins recently became a big name to join the network.

“We’ve seen the evolution of going from just a postgame article to now doing postgame interviews and a postgame podcast.”

The broadcasters of Ithaca Bombers football have also taken their talents directly to the court, calling Syosset Summer League contests live. Both were quick to note that UH has, and continues to be, another vehicle to perfect their craft.

Said Asman, “If it’s an opportunity to get on air, we use that to get better as broadcasters. We use Ultimate Hoops as a way to get extra reps doing interviews, extra reps hosting shows, extra reps doing play-by-play.”

It’s no surprise that as the Asman & Budick team has helped build Ultimate Hoops up the past few years, their radio show has seen a similar rise. Over time, they were able to get credentialed through the major sports and thus be able to get bigger and better personalities on the show. Well-known guests have included NBC’s Bob Costas and versatile sportscasters Ian Eagle and Kevin Harlan.

Asman was fortunate enough to intern in Rio for the 2016 Summer Olympics, and Costas was one of the people he worked with. As he explained of Costas and other guests, “The fact that they’re willing to come on a college radio show or podcast, you know they’re pretty good people. I think it’s a testament to the work that our staff and Dan and I have put into to the show to make it as legitimate and as professional as possible.”

That hard work has led to the ultimate gig - The Asman & Budick Show will be hitting the road for Houston’s Super Bowl LI in early 2017. After a year in the making, they got the go-ahead from the NFL and, perhaps most importantly, their school. Ithaca College was gracious enough to give the show the funding with the firm belief that its anchors will not disappoint.

While they are very thankful for the opportunity, it’s not something that came as a shock to Asman and Budick. In fact, it’s a dream the two have been discussing for years. 

As Budick remarked, “We’d be lying if we said we didn’t talk about it. We said, ‘Imagine one day if we get to do our show from the Super Bowl. Come February 1st, we get to do just that.’”

The broadcast will occur live from Radio Row at the Super Bowl LI Media Center. Sports talk radio stations from around the country will set up shop and have the chance to talk with names from the NFL, sports media personalities and celebrities in general. The main goal at the Super Bowl for The Asman & Budick Show, as they both echoed, is to “interview as many people as we can to provide unique content for our program.”

There’s no question that the content these college seniors have provided for Ultimate Hoops has been revolutionary. Since joining the UH team, Syosset’s media has consistently ranked among the highest in the country. Asman explained that, “The reason why we were so successful in Syosset and now Garden City (which opened last October) is the players trust that we’re looking out for their best interests…Work hard to build those relationships, and the on-air product because of those relationships becomes that much better.” 

Asman and Budick are both very grateful for the relationships they’ve formed with the Ultimate Hoops crew in their region. Those names include James Barone, Alicia Koerner, Ken Koerner, Nicole Freedman and Seth Schwartz. They’ve also formed unique bonds with Northeast Regional Manager James Mooney and, at the top of the UH food chain, Reid Nelson and Alan Arlt.

The bottom line, said Asman, is “Ultimate Hoops understands that we are aspiring sports broadcasters. That has allowed us to use our talents for the betterment of the league, which is what it’s really all about.”

James Mooney explained that even though the duo can no longer be with Ultimate Hoops year round, their influence remains. “Through Jake and Dan has emerged Anthony Leo, who is now our League Coordinator for Garden City and the media man for Syosset. He learned how to do the podcasts and continues to build off of what those two created.”

So what does the future hold for Asman & Budick? As far as their burgeoning broadcasting careers go, Asman feels like his strengths lie in the range of a radio show host. Budick, meanwhile, aspires to do play-by-play at a higher level. Will they be teaming up again once their Ithaca days are behind them?

You’ll just have to, quite literally, stay tuned.

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