- Dick Vitale, College Basketball analyst
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Each week I'll write about the sport I love, college basketball:
• Charlotte added 6-foot-6 forward J.T. Thompson from Virginia Tech. The transfer played three seasons with the Hokies, but has missed the last two following ACL surgeries. He has one year of eligibility remaining. Thompson played in 92 games at Tech, averaging 6.5 points and 4.2 rebounds while shooting 51 percent from the field. He sat out 2010-11 following surgery on his left knee and missed the 2011-12 season following surgery on his right knee.
• Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins added former NBA player and ex-Cardinal Mark Madsen to his staff. Madsen will replace the retired Dick Davey and primarily work with post players. Madsen helped lead the Cardinals to four NCAA tournament appearances, including the 1998 Final Four, during his collegiate career. He played nine years in the NBA.
• Louisville received good news when Montrezl Harrell, who originally committed to Virginia Tech, switched gears and ended up with the Cardinals. He adds size to a squad that already has the likes of Gorgui Dieng and Chane Behanan. My friends, I have Louisville numero uno in my early rankings for next season, and this signing only helps add to Coach Rick Pitino's depth. Harrell also made the USA under-18 team roster.
• The 2012 Puerto Rico Tip-Off, an early season men's basketball tournament, has secured its eight teams for the field. The favorites include NC State and Massachusetts. The annual event in San Juan will be Nov. 15, 16 and 18. The rest of the field includes Oklahoma State, Penn State, Providence, UNC Asheville, Akron and Tennessee. There will be a number of super diaper dandies in that field. Kris Dunn and Ricky Ledo of Providence, Rodney Purvis and T.J. Warren of NC State, along with Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State are among the top 30 on ESPNU's list of freshmen.
• Ashton Pankey was looking to move closer to home, so the former Maryland forward, who started 17 games for the Terrapins last season, opted to transfer to Manhattan College. The 6-foot-9 Pankey is from the Bronx and should give the Jaspers a boost down the line. He averaged almost five rebounds per game for Maryland last season.
• Southern Methodist University is trying to drum up business for Larry Brown's first season as head coach. The Mustangs are trying a select-a-seat day for fans on June 16. The festivities will include fans shooting on the floor at Moody Coliseum.
Dick Vitale talks about the off-season moves for Charlotte, Stanford, Louisville and SMU.