Danny Pommells brings plenty of knowledge and experience to the Philadelphia sports scene as the new sport anchor and reporter for Comcast SportsNet. And there’s a good reason for that. Pommells, a Temple University alumnus, grew up in North Philly playing sports. Basketball was his favorite.
“I’m from the Hunting Park section of North Philly,” Pommells said. “I cut my teeth over there. I would get up early in the morning bouncing the ball down the street, waking up people on my way to the park. It’s funny, I used to go to that (Nicetown) Boys and Girls Club that Shane Victorino (Phillies outfielder) rehabbed. I used to walk over there with my brother. We would walk past (Simon) Gratz and Erie Avenue. I definitely grew up playing hoops, that was my first love.”
Pommels played some basketball with former Drexel basketball star Ashley Howard, who is now an assistant basketball coach at Xavier University. He also had a chance to play against Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant when he tried out for the Sonny Hill League at Cobbs Creek Parkway.
Pommells received a good foundation for sportscasting during his collegiate days at Temple University. He started out doing news, then gradually moved into the sports arena.
“I remember when I was in ninth grade I went on a tour of (CBS 3) TV station and Ukee Washington was doing sports,” said Pommells, who attended St. Joseph’s Prep hid freshman through junior years. As a senior he attended Bishop McDevitt. “Ukee does news now. I was really excited about doing work in television after that.
“I always liked to write. When I got to Temple, I had a chance to work at WRTI. I covered a lot of things. I did the chamber of commerce. I remember covering Jesse Jackson when he was in town and all kinds of things. That’s where I learned how to write for broadcast and where I really honed my skills.
“I came in one day and they didn’t have an assignment for me. So, I hung around for a little bit. Then, they asked me if I wanted to cover a Sixers game tonight. I told them yes and went down to the Sixers game. I went into the locker room after the game. The Sixers had Allen Iverson. They had a lot of reporters around him. I remember going back to the station and putting the story together. That’s where I knew how much I really liked sports. You can be real creative with sports, whereas news you have to be straight forward.”
Pommells got his big break when he had a chance to do the color announcing for the Temple women’s basketball team.
“I had an opportunity to do the games the year before Dawn Staley came to Temple,” Pommells said. “I worked with Jeff Skversky (6ABC sports anchor). He did the play-by-play and I did the color announcing. We did that for about two years. We traveled with the team. Then, he graduated. I stayed and did the color announcing for a third year. Throughout that time, I had internships at Channel 6 and the old WPHL-17 and WYBE.”
Pommells also had an opportunity to interview Hall of Fame coach John Chaney during his days on North Broad Street. He had to do a story on the passing of basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain.
“I remember the day Wilt Chamberlain died,” he said. “I had to do a story for WRTI on him. I had to interview John Chaney. I was just 19 years old at time. That was really something. I was interviewing John Chaney, a real legend. I remember him talking about Wilt. It was a good experience for me.”
Pommells, 33, graduated from Temple with a degree in communications in 2002. After that, he sent out about 60 tapes. He landed his first job at WMDT in Salisbury, Md. Pommells worked as the sports director during his time at WMDT.
Before joining Comcast SportsNet, he spent time as a weekend sportscaster at KCRA in Sacramento, Ca. and WGAL in Harrisburg, Pa. He has covered a number of sporting events such as the 2007 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors playoff appearances, Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers training camp, Baltimore Orioles spring training and California state basketball championships.
Pommells is looking forward to covering the Philadelphia sports landscape in the fall. There should be a lot of good stories. He plans to be right there when the action happens.
“I can’t wait until the fall when you have the Philadelphia Eagles, Sixers and the Flyers,” Pommells said. “I’m really excited about covering the teams. I’m really blessed. I appreciate all the support from my wife (Michaela) and family (Kaila, Bella, Julius). I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the success without them.”