About Dickie V
Fan Fun
Dick's Picks
Dickie Speaks



Dick Vitale Archive

  Vitale Home     College Basketball     ESPN.com  

Howland worth every penny to UCLA


• When you look at Ben Howland's accomplishments at UCLA, you understand why the school signed him to a lucrative contract extension. UCLA and Howland agreed on a new seven-year contract, which runs through the 2014-15 season and includes guaranteed compensation of $1.97 million for the 2008-09 season and escalates to $2.3 million for the 2014-15 season. Last season, UCLA set a school record for victories en route to a mark of 35-4 and a third consecutive Final Four appearance. Since the NCAA tournament bracket expanded to 64 teams in 1985, UCLA is one of just four schools to earn three straight Final Four berths (Michigan State in 1999-01 was the last to do so prior to the Bruins). UCLA has also won three straight Pac-10 titles, making Howland the first Bruin coach since John Wooden to win three straight league championships. Howland is also one of just three coaches in the history of college basketball to win at least 30 games in three consecutive seasons. It was a wise move for UCLA to sign him up.

• Davidson coach Bob McKillop is a busy man this summer. First he was taking care of his signature on a new contract extension at Davidson he has a deal through 2015-16. McKillop is also coaching the USA entry in the 2008 FIBA Under-18 championship being held in Argentina from July 14-18. His assistants are John Thompson III of Georgetown and VCU's Anthony Grant.

• Georgia had little choice but to dismiss Billy Humphrey after his third arrest in less than a year. You know coach Dennis Felton had to be disappointed with the repeat offenses from the young man. Humphrey averaged over 12 points per game last season and could have been a factor for the Bulldogs this year. My friends, I have said it time and time again, athletes must be accountable for their actions. Clearly Mr. Humphrey did not learn from his past indiscretions and now he is paying the price, big time.

• Connecticut's Stanley Robinson will miss the first semester next season. He is scheduled to take classes at a junior college in Alabama to help get his academics in order. Robinson averaged over 10 points and six rebounds last season. Coach Jim Calhoun has said that Robinson may eventually return to the Huskies, though time will tell. Connecticut recently added 6-7 Nate Miles, who could fill the void created by Robinson's absence.

• Another former Connecticut player in the news is Curtis Kelly. He previously announced a decision to transfer, and now the word is he will attend Kansas State. Coach Frank Martin has to be happy with that decision.

• Ohio University made a solid decision in naming John Groce as its new head coach. Groce has done a super job as the second lieutenant to Thad Matta for many years. Groce knows the state of Ohio well after serving at Xavier and Ohio State. He took over for Tim O'Shea, who became the head coach at Bryant, a new member of Division I.

• After the NBA draft, a number of talented college players who were passed over get the chance to hook up via free agency. Sometimes I think players tabbed in the latter part of round two would be better off as free agents, picking the best scenario for them to make a roster. In the case of the Timberwolves, they agreed to terms with former Michigan State guard Drew Neitzel. Let me tell you, Neitzel has heart and guts plus he can shoot the rock. That was a good addition. Among others trying to make it include David Padgett of Louisville and Pat Calathes of St. Joseph's with the Heat; Brian Roberts of Dayton and Cliff Hammonds of Clemson with the Magic; and Aaron Bruce of Baylor with the Sonics.

• As I mentioned last week, Ron Everhart has done an impressive job at Duquesne. His team will receive a challenge this season as a game has been set up for November 28 as the Dukes visit Duke. It will be the first meeting of these schools since 1975. Duke has also scheduled a match-up against Xavier in the Meadowlands on December 20th.

• Maryland got some good news as 6-4 guard Sean Mosley looks like he will be academically eligible. Coach Gary Williams deserved a positive since Gus Gilchrist recently transferred to South Florida.

Send this story to a friend | Most sent stories