LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) - ESPN's Jay Bilas took a long look at the names that had previously spoken at the Kentucky Derby Festival's "They're Off!" Luncheon and was impressed.

Magic Johnson.

George Steinbrenner.

Hank Aaron.

"I was blown away. Then I saw Kirk Herbstreit (who spoke at last year's event) and then I thought, 'It's really not that big of a deal.'"  

All kidding aside, Bilas has no problems following in the footsteps of his ESPN coworker. Bilas, 51, has never been to the Kentucky Derby before, but grew up a fan of the sport in California attending races at Santa Anita. He spoke today in front of 1,500 Derby supporters. 

"I'm really lucky," said Bilas. "To be able to be at this function, let alone speak at it, is an honor."

Bilas has also had the honor of covering a lot of basketball since joining ESPN in 1995. He told WDRB today, he thinks Louisville's Montrezl Harrell will have no problem adjusting in the NBA.

"I see good things for him in the future," said Bilas. "He's really fun to watch because he goes after it."

Bilas also talked about U of L's outlook for next season. The team has already added fifth year graduate transfer Trey Lewis from Cleveland State and hopes to add Damion Lee from Drexel. Bilas has no problems with mid-major players who wish to finish their college careers elsewhere after graduating. 

"This has gone way beyond issues of competitive balance. We're worried about restricting players and that's inappropriate."

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