*Each Friday I will write about the game I love, college basketball…
Kevin Kruger decided to leave Arizona State to play for his dad (Lon) at UNLV. This is a unique situation because Kevin is eligible under a new rule. It allows transfers to play immediately without sitting out a season if they have earned their undergraduate degree in four years but had an additional season of eligibility remaining. Kruger was redshirted as a freshman, meaning he had one more season of eligibility left. It is a blow to Herb Sendek since Kruger averaged 15 ppg. last season. Lon Kruger has to be happy to add a solid player over the summer.
Sonny Vaccaro has always had success, success, success. Whether at Nike, Adidas or now at Reebok, he has done a great job year after year putting together a terrific summer camp. It gives kids visibility, playing in front of the best of the best coaches in America. The top blue chippers like O.J. Mayo don't need the exposure, but it is so important for so many kids. To the naysayers, understand that there are so many positives. Vaccaro knows how to gather the stars. These players show their skills and also get a true evaluation playing against top-flight opponents. They learn what they need to improve on after competing against great athletes.
I agree with Vaccaro on his assessment of Mayo, that he should be able to go to the NBA and skip college. I've said all along that we need a system where the top 3-5 high school players could enter the draft, as determined by a blue ribbon panel of experts that could include the likes of Phil Jackson, Larry Bird, Pat Riley, etc. I feel there should be a rule that if you are not among that elite, you must stay in college for three years to hone your skills and mature as a human being.
Georgia Tech suffered a setback when redshirt freshman Mouhammad Faye suffered a wrist injury in a pickup game. He could miss the first month of the 2006-07 season following recent surgery. The 6-8 forward from Senegal had a damaged ligament, requiring surgery. Coach Paul Hewitt feels he will be able to play later this season.
I think one of the toughest jobs in America is coaching South Florida. Robert McCallum simply battles against tough competition in the Big East. Now he runs into tough luck suffering another blow. Talented guard Chris Howard out of Virginia is sidelined for a second straight year after tearing his ACL, the same injury he suffered last season. He would have been a factor in the backcourt for the Golden Bulls. Howard is the tough-luck kid of college basketball already.
Something tells me West Virginia guard Mike Gansey is going to surprise a lot of people and make the roster of the Miami Heat. He went to their camp as an undrafted free agent and I feel he will fit in the Pat Riley system and prove people that passed on him wrong.
An interesting recruiting battle could take place over the son of Portland TrailBlazers coach Nate McMillan. Jamelle McMillan, who played at the Nike camp in Indianapolis, is someone who has drawn interest at NC State and Arizona State. Nate McMillan played for Jimmy Valvano with the Wolfpack and the Sun Devils are coached by ex-NC State coach Herb Sendek.
Dave Leitao made a good move hiring Bill Courtney as an assistant coach at Virginia. Courtney was at Providence last season. He replaces Gene Cross, who moved on to Notre Dame.
Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question for Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.