DICK'S TIDBITS | April 30, 2004
Let's look at some college hoop tidbits as the offseason still has plenty of news!
First off, it's great news for Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim that his star forward, Hakim Warrick, decided to return to Syracuse instead of opting out early for the NBA. They have to be jumping for joy in Orange Country.
|Hakim Warrick decided to stay at Syracuse for his senior year.|
This dynamite forward has improved every year and he has become one of the top forwards in the nation. Warrick is a legitimate All-America candidate, one of the best of the best. His is a beauty on the baseline, averaging 19.8 ppg and 8.5 rpg last season.
Next season, he should be an incredible force in the Big East. With Emeka Okafor and Ben Gordon gone from UConn, Warrick should be the preseason favorite to win the league's Player of the Year honors.
Having Warrick, Gerry McNamara, Demetris Nichols, Craig Forth and Terrence Roberts among the returning players, the Orangemen could be a top 15 team next season. The Warrick-McNamara duo is among the nation's premier inside-outside tandems in America.
It was a good decision for Warrick to return to school. He will get even better and play at the next level after next season.
The NCAA is ecstatic as legislation is being passed to put an emphasis on graduation rates. The intent is very positive and graduation rates haven't been near where they should be.
The bottom line is it will be interesting to see how they decide penalties against schools that fall short of the goal. Not every school has the same situation. If the standards are a match compared to the normal student body, than one can say the school is moving in the right direction.
There is also a question over the formula utilized to calculate the graduation rates. What happens to the juco player or kids who leave early or transfer. Will a school be punished in those circumstances?
The best news about this new emphasis is the talk and movement to bring sanity to the term "student-athlete". For that, you have to salute the work of NCAA president Myles Brand and others involved.
Go West, Young Man ... For Now
St. Joseph's guard Delonte West has decided to put his name into the NBA draft but won't hired an agent, leaving an opening for a possible return to college next season.
His decision was a smart move, similar to his buddy Jameer Nelson's move last year. Remember, Nelson eventually pulled out of the draft and ended up capturing most of the National Player of the Year honors.
West averaged almost 19 ppg in helping the Hawks to a 30-2 record last season.
My gut feeling is West will do the same thing Nelson did and pull his name out of the draft. He will test the market but will see many high school kids go earlier. It would be in his best interest to have another big year before the beautiful people at Hawk Hill and coach Phil Martelli. I believe West will return to college next season.
Dick Vitale coached the Detroit Pistons and the University of Detroit in the 1970s before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979 (he's been an ESPN analyst ever since). Send a question for Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.