After Adam Kaplan and Ross Mallor met in their first year at American University in 1993, they spent the next four years following the men’s basketball team, attending every game while they were students, regardless of the team’s success. Thirty years later, the two still follow the Eagles just as closely.
“We love basketball and fell in love with the program and followed them ever since,” Kaplan said.
Kaplan and Mallor graduated from American University in 1997, and despite moving away from AU and D.C. and starting careers and families, they remain loyal fans to the team they loved as students.
Living in different states, the pair was unable to watch the games together like they did as students, resorting to texting during games to communicate.
“We were just having the best time analyzing the team with each other and figured, ‘why not figure out a way to turn that into a podcast,’” Kaplan said.
The early success of men’s basketball this season inspired the duo to start their podcast, “Top Fan.” The name stemmed from the title they had earned from their interactions on the men’s basketball Facebook page.
“We didn’t plan to start this season. But after the success the team had, we knew we had a chance to be decent this season, and so early this season we decided to go for it,” Mallor said.
The first guest the duo had on the show was the men’s head coach Mike Brennan. From there, only three months after starting the podcast, Kaplan and Mallor have had a star-studded lineup of guests. Guest stars have included AU alumus and legendary NBA reporter David Aldridge, AU hall of famer Gordon Austin and color commentator and acclaimed college basketball writer John Feinstein.
“We have been incredibly fortunate to be able to talk AU hoops with these amazing guests.” Kaplan said.
“Top Fan” has found an audience in the friends and family of the men’s basketball team. “I think it’s great that they take so much interest in the team and cheering them on this year,” Tanya Ball, mother of junior guard Lincoln Ball, said.
“We’ve had parents recognize us at games. One family told us they listen to our podcast on the way to the games,” Mallor said.
“They are so excited about the team and so positive about every player. They have some very insightful comments but also great encouragement for the players,” Crystal Knotek, mother of senior guard Jaxon Knotek said.
With the men’s basketball falling to Lafayette in the Patriot League Tournament semifinals, their job covering the Eagles is over for the season. When it comes to what’s next, the two still have yet to decide what the future holds for the podcast.
“We just love talking AU hoops, on and off the podcast.” Kaplan said.
This article was edited by Penelope Jennings and Nina Heller. Copy editing done by Isabelle Kravis and Natasha LaChac.