Thursday, April 15, 2010
By Dick Vitale
Each week I'll talk about the sport I love, college basketball:
• The NCAA has decided to make a change in recruiting rules. The NCAA will now allow college basketball coaches to have recruiting conversations during summer camps and clinics on campus. The coaches, however, will be restricted from giving recruits campus tours or other benefits that come from official visits. I think that it is fair to have recruiting conversations during camps and clinics.
• John Calipari will simply reload next season at Kentucky. John Wall is gone, but in comes Brandon Knight, one of the top five prospects in America. Think about what Calipari has had in recent years in the backcourt: Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, John Wall and, now, Knight! Meanwhile, Enes Kanter, the future Diaper Dandy, must have some academic issues settled, which I hear will be solved. All of you Cats fans can relax now.
• On the heels of a 24-win campaign and an SEC Western Division Championship, Mississippi made a good move by giving coach Andy Kennedy a two-year contract extension through April 2014. He has done a solid job in the competitive SEC.
• I understand why coaches want to see the NCAA tournament expanded to 96 teams -- they feel it would provide additional job security. My friends, there is so much pressure to perform! Recently, a number of coaches with solid track records have been let go. It is all about "What have you done for me lately?" Also, isn't it interesting that school presidents talk about academics, yet winning is still the key? If you don't believe me, check out what happened at Holy Cross. Sean Kearney was fired after one bad season; I bet his kids went to class!
• Firing Dino Gaudio at 61-31 will really have Jeff Bzdelik scrutinized as the new coach at Wake Forest. Bzdelik did not have a great record at Colorado.
• The floodgates have stayed open as the early entry pool into the NBA draft continues to grow. Look at some of the players who jumped in this week: Syracuse junior forward Wes Johnson, Butler forward Gordon Hayward, West Virginia sophomore forward Devin Ebanks, Illinois junior guard Demetri McCamey, New Mexico junior forward Darington Hobson, Baylor forward Ekpe Udoh, North Carolina sophomore forward Ed Davis, Memphis sophomore guard Elliott Williams, Purdue's JaJuan Johnson and E'twaun Moore and Nevada guard Armon Johnson. I am sure that a few players entering the draft will realize they are better off pulling out and returning to school.
• The Mountain West and Missouri Valley Conference will continue their challenge series next season. I like the idea of these competitions as it limits the number of bargain basement goodies and cupcake city games. Among the interesting matchups for next season are BYU at Creighton, New Mexico at Southern Illinois, UNLV at Illinois State, Northern Iowa at TCU and Wichita State at San Diego State.