Thursday, July 1, 2010
By Dick Vitale ESPN.com
High school senation Harrison Barnes will make a lot of North Carolina fans happy next season.
Each week I'll talk about the sport I love, college basketball:
• Tar Heel fans can mark this down -- Harrison Barnes will dazzle from the moment he arrives in Chapel Hill. I believe he will be a superstar from Day 1! Roy Williams has to be happy that he landed such an instant-impact player.
• Doc Rivers' son, Austin Rivers, is a rising high school senior, and he will be a stud in college. He's being courted by Florida, Duke, UNC or Kentucky, among others. Austin Rivers' brother, Jeremiah Rivers, is a starting guard at Indiana under Tom Crean. Yes, my friends, Doc has a talented family! Yesterday, Doc announced he will be back on the sideline coaching the Celtics, which is great news for Boston fans.
• Rick Pitino received some good news as former Memphis guard Roburt Salliesigned a financial aid agreement to play at Louisville. Sallie averaged 10.5 points and four rebounds per game in 22 starts for the Tigers last season. He holds Memphis' school record for career 3-point accuracy, making nearly 44 percent over his two seasons. For Sallie to be eligible this fall, he must complete his bachelor's degree at Memphis over the summer, and Louisville is required to request a waiver from the NCAA.
• I recently had a talk with Ben Howland of UCLA, and he is excited about the future! They are renovating Pauley Pavilion. The Bruins have put many players into the pros, and plenty of them go back during the summer to practice and work out at Pauley.
• Providence hired a familiar name to New England basketball fans. Former Celtics guard Kevin Gamble has been named coordinator of player development and video operations for the Friars. Gamble played at Iowa under Dr. Tom Davis, the father of current Providence coach Keno Davis.
• The University of Oregon made a solid move by hiring former Cincinnati assistant coach Tony Stubblefield to Dana Altman's coaching staff. Stubblefield had been the Bearcats' recruiting coordinator since 2007. The Ducks have a new arena, which should help lure recruits to Eugene.
• New Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard got good news when former Mississippi guard Eniel Polynicedecided to transfer to join the Pirates. Since Ole Miss doesn't have a communications program and Seton Hall does, Polynice expects to be eligible to play immediately if a waiver is granted. Polynice averaged 8.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and a team-high 3.9 assists in 25 minutes per game last season. He is currently ninth on the Ole Miss career assists list with 319.
• Marquette coach Buzz Williams also received some good news. Forward Jamil Wilson is transferring from Oregon to Marquette. He will have three years of eligibility left beginning in 2011-12. Wilson, a former prep standout out of Wisconsin, started 14 games with the Ducks last season and averaged 4.7 points. He has the potential to develop into a solid contributor at Marquette.