From Barea To Bob O: Followill's 5

Mavs TV play-by-play man Mark Followill fields your questions every Monday. Come inside for his thoughts on the teachings of Bob O and the production of JJ Barea ...

1. "In light of recent events, what kind of influence was Coach O on you when you first got the TV play-by-play job with the Mavs?'' – Barry

FOLLOWILL: "This whole thing been very hard. It's something unfortunate happening to somebody who is a very good friend and true mentor. Bob made every effort when I first came aboard with the Mavericks to offer sage advice. Back then, Bob and I I lived near each other. So we would ride together into games, after plane rides … You get close and learn a lot about about each other on those 2:30 a.m. car rides.

We were very close back then when I was on the radio, and obviously our friendship became more intensified when I switched to TV. Not just in terms of talking basketball, but again, Bob also helped me as a mentor. I'm trying to put it into words but I'm not sure I can. It's a really good friendship, we've shared some really cool experiences – and Bob's been someone for me to lean on for some not-so-good experiences in my life. He's helped me growing as a person.

2. Mark, I remember being at a Mavs draft watching party at some bar/restaurant off Dallas North Tollway about 2001? Norm was broadcasting from the place and you were at his side. Norm's reactions to your comments showed he was impressed with you and I remember him deferring to you several times for your words. I think you were previously on the Ticket. Was this your initial entree into the Mavs organization, leading to where you are today?

FOLLOWILL: The entree was that I worked at the Ticket, which had the same parent company as KLIF (which had the radio rights to Mavs games). I had done some studio work and I was fortunate in that I had relationships that opened some doors, which then morphed into a full-time position. I do remember the 2000 Draft and getting to work with Norm, when the Mavs had the four first-round picks, Courtney Alexander, Etan Thomas, Donnell Harvey and Eddie Najera.

3. "Barea's good play of late has been welcomed, as it was last season in the regular season. However, don't you think that playoff basketball makes what he contributes in the regular season more like fool's gold?'' - Blktiga

FOLLOWILL: I don't think it's fools's gold. This is his skill set, and it shows he can do this. He can break down a defense by driving, he's 3-point shot has made a major market correction the other way. … But each playoff matchup is different. We know he had trouble last year with the Spurs when George Hill was on the floor. … And for all the things JJ does offensively, there are other challenges. But he's tough. He doesn't back down. And Carlisle has confidence in him.

4. "What is your basketball background?'' – Davidandrewfain

FOLLOWILL: The last time I played competitively in basketball was junior-high school and I wasn't very good. By the time I got to UNT, I was very, very focused on being a play-by-play guy, and I was doing football and basketball by my second year of college. As far as pickup skills, I'd get my ass kicked. Now, if we're running in a 5K, maybe I'd kick somebody else's ass!

5. "It is odd how much (you) and Coop sound alike. We're excited to have you around here, Mark! ( Do you think you and Coop sound alike?)'' – Oxy

FOLLOWILL: I can't tell you how many times I'm told, "Hey, I heard your broadcast while I was in the AAC bathroom.'' And I have to tell them, "That's Coop. They pipe in the radio broadcast. That's not me.'' I personally haven't noticed a similarity. But I find it very complimentary. If I'm compared to Coop, that's flattering!

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