Nov. 11, 2004
One thing that's special about our country -- and I'm so proud to be an American -- is the way we give those in need a helping hand. We often give people a second chance, an opportunity, when they need it.
Looking at the game of basketball, that's so true. A number of coaches and players will get another opportunity this season, many after making major mistakes off the court. They will get a chance to compete and perform once again.
Think about Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins and his June DUI conviction. After serving a university-imposed suspension in the summer, he's ready to lead the Bearcats to success in Conference USA again.
|After a much-publicized drinking problem forced him to leave Iowa State, Larry Eustachy has landed at Southern Miss.|
Former Iowa State coach Larry Eustachy admitted he had a drinking problem in 2003. Now, after a one-year layoff, he's back on the sidelines as the head coach at Southern Mississippi. Eustachy is an intelligent tactician who is getting a second chance.
Meanwhile, Rashaad Carruth is back in Division I, trying to succeed under Eustachy at Southern Miss.
In high school, Carruth was a McDonald's All-American. The 6-foot-3 shooting guard signed with Kentucky and coach Tubby Smith but left after one season. Then Carruth signed with Oklahoma, but he was dismissed by coach Kelvin Sampson after he fell into Sampson's doghouse. Last season, Carruth played at Indian Hills Community College in Iowa.
Elsewhere, point guard JamesOn Curry had some off-court troubles that led to his ending up at Oklahoma State instead of North Carolina. Curry is the top high-school scorer in North Carolina prep history. Hopefully, he's gotten his act together and is ready to make a positive impact for the Cowboys as a diaper dandy.
It's also good to see Tom Penders back in coaching. He's taken the reins of Houston's once-proud program.
That's the beauty of the world of sports. If you have a track record of success, and you prove you can play or coach, you'll get that second chance. The key is to take advantage of that golden opportunity. Sometimes, though, it's unfortunate when people make mistakes and don't get a chance to redeem themselves.
Here's hoping that these people take advantage of the opportunity that has come along. Hopefully, for their sake, they've put their problems behind them and can move in a positive direction.
It will be interesting to watch all of them this season. I wish them nothing but the best in the pursuit of their dreams.
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.