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This and that

SPECIAL TO ESPN.COM

Each week I will write about the world of sports.

  • The NFL draft was much better with the new time limits for the first and second round. Going from 15 minutes per pick down to 10 in round one cut over two and a half hours from the proceedings. The second round time limit went from 10 down to seven. As for the picks, the Kansas City Chiefs added a number of players that should move right into starting positions on the depth chart. The Falcons decided that Matt Ryan will be the new face of the franchise as the team's quarterback of the future. Ryan should be a perfect fit. The Raiders chose Darren McFadden despite the fact Justin Fargas, Dominic Rhodes and Michael Bush are on the depth chart, while LaMont Jordan is still there for now (don't be surprised if he gets cut or dealt). I love both Jake Long and Chris Long and both should help right away. Jake Long is clearly a Bill Parcells-type of player. DeSean Jackson and Brian Brohm were pushed down to the second round and they could come back and surprise some people. They could show they were really first-round talents. The Dallas Cowboys also made some smart moves in dealing picks and shifting around. I was surprised that veterans like Jeremy Shockey, Lito Sheppard and Jason Taylor were not traded.

  • The NBA's young stars have really emerged already this postseason. Dwight Howard of the Magic has been brilliant as Orlando is just one game away from knocking out the Raptors. Chris Paul has been sensational the for the Hornets, especially the first two games of the series against the Mavs. LeBron James has dominated, but the comes as no surprise after leading the league in scoring this season. Philadelphia has played well to be at 2-2 with the Pistons; this young Sixer team is not going to be an easy out.

  • There is a lot of enthusiasm and energy at the Trop. Yes my friends, the Rays (no longer the Devil Rays) have been on fire, winning six games in a row, including a sweep of the Red Sox. Tampa Bay beat both Clay Bucholz and Josh Beckett and both of those guys were hot. There were big sellouts and fans on their feet. The Rays have young talent in BJ Upton, Carl Crawford and now Evan Longoria. It looks like there is a positive attitude there now as the team tries to enjoy its first winning season.

  • Stanford made a great hire by bringing in former Duke All-America and long-time Coach K assistant Johnny Dawkins. The new head coach replaces Trent Johnson, who moved on to LSU. Dawkins is class personified and great with young people. He was a terrific choice for the Stanford Cardinal.

  • It was great to see Tyler Hansbrough decide to return to North Carolina for his senior season. It was good news for college basketball when Hasheem Thabeet of Connecticut and UCLA's Darren Collison also announced they will return to college. Hansbrough is a rare breed, a Player of the Year returning to school instead of taking the green from the NBA. In my 29 years at ESPN, I have not seen another player who plays with the same passion and intensity each and every play the way Hansbrough does.

  • Congratulations to Ashley Force for becoming the first woman to win an NHRA Funny Car event. She beat her dad, legendary racer John Force, in the final run.

  • The New York Rangers are going to have to do a lot to rally from a 2-0 deficit against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Sidney Crosby and company rallied to win Game 1 and then shutout the New Yorkers in the second game. Madison Square Garden will be rocking and rolling for Game 3.

    Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in December 1979. Send him a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.