Thursday, June 17, 2010
By Dick Vitale
Each week I'll talk about the sport I love, college basketball:
• It has been a rough offseason for UCLA coach Ben Howland. He recently had successful surgery to repair a ruptured right Achilles tendon. I wish him the best and a speedy recovery.
• Fans really cannot be shocked by Tom Izzo staying at Michigan State! He is a college coach, and I felt from the beginning that he would not leave East Lansing! I believe he made the right decision. Now he gets a shot at a seventh Final Four in 13 years.
• St. John's coach Steve Lavin made a great move by adding veteran Mike Dunlap to his staff. Dunlap has served as an assistant at Arizona, Oregon and the Denver Nuggets. He brings a wealth of experience and basketball knowledge to the Red Storm.
• Keep an eye on Marshall's Hassan Whiteside during the NBA draft. His stock is up, and teams like his potential upside. He was a triple-double guy for the Thundering Herd. He has something you can't teach -- size, baby!
• With the draft less than a week away, I wonder how many underclassmen are now regretting their decision to leave school early. Some of these kids get mislead to think they will go in Round 1 and get guaranteed dollars. Sometimes that's simply not the case. Why not stay in school and enjoy another season where you could learn instead of sitting on the pine?
• The name "Dunleavy" has stood out in college basketball over the years. Mike Sr. was a star at South Carolina and eventually was an outstanding NBA coach, too. Mike Jr. was an exceptional player at Duke and is currently in the NBA. Now it is time to talk about Baker Dunleavy, who played at Villanova for four seasons from 2002-06. He is Jay Wright's new director of basketball operations.
• Utah is the latest school to change its conference address. The Utes will be joining the Pac-10 as the league moves to 12 squads. Jim Boylen brings solid coaching experience to the league. It will be interesting to see how the program progresses on the hardwood.
• You don't often see a Division I head coach leave to become assistant at another school. But that happened recently when Indiana State's Kevin McKenna joined new Oregon coach Dana Altman's staff. McKenna used to be an assistant at Creighton under Altman. McKenna was making progress at Larry Bird's alma mater, so his decision to leave may have caught a few people by surprise.