Chat with Dick Vitale
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Dick Vitale stops by to chat some college basketball.
Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style.
Send your questions now and join Vitale Thursday at 11 a.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (11:00 AM)
We're getting Dick!
Dick Vitale (11:03 AM)
It's been a week with some changes to the coaching landscape. I'm shocked that Gary Williams stepped down. Why? Because if there was a guy that was to be labeled a gym rat, it's him. We go back to high school coaching days. I would endorse him as a hall of famer. He. Is. A. Hall. Of. Famer. But now comes Mark Turgeon. He's competitive. It will be interesting to see how he transitions to another part of the country and the ACC and the ACC way of life. Gary will not be easy to follow. My heart and prayers go out to Tubby Smith and his family. He's now cancer free after surgery. As good as a coach as he is, he's a much better person.
Dick Vitale (11:05 AM)
We're dotting the i's and crossing the t's for our Dick Vitale Gala. We'll raise over $1 million for pediatric cancer. Sarasota, Fla. will be the sports capital of the night. The Final Four coaches from this year will be there. In addition, there will be three Heisman Trophy winners there. And other coaches like Billy Donovan, Jamie Dixon, Gary Williams, Jay Wright, Bob Huggins, Seth Greenberg, etc., etc. It is going to be a super, super night. If anyone would still like to help us, go to www.dickvitaleonline.com or call 1-800-4-JimmyV, the dollars you donate could save the life of someone you love.
Chioke Hassan (Baltimore,Md)
Dear DickI am shocked that Maryland didn't hire Shaka Smart or Brad Stevens. Are you shocked they didn't sign them?
Dick Vitale (11:06 AM)
We don't know that they didn't go after these guys. Kevin Anderson had an extensive search. He went to Jay Wright, Sean Miller, Jamie Dixon. But the timing is not good. The timing in May, people are in a comfort zone. However, they got a rising coaching star who did a great job at Texas A-M.
Who is the team to beat in the Big East and why? Who's gonna be their toughest challenger?
Dick Vitale (11:08 AM)
Right now, you look at paper, I think UConn will be tough again. Kemba moves on, but they have such a nucleus coming back. Keep an eye on Syracuse, Louisville, Pittsburgh. It will be another good year in the Big East, despite what the critics might say about what they did in March. When a team finishes 9th in the conference like UConn, it tells you how tough the Big East was.
turgeon leaving for maryland saying it was a basketball school.The aggies over the last 6 or 7 years seemed to have turned it around.What's the chances of hiring a coach that is going to stay? Who do they hire ?
Dick Vitale (11:11 AM)
You have to get the right guy who fits the mold and the environment. I thought Billy Gillespie did. He fit the picture of a guy from Texas and that job. They need someone that blends in and fits the landscape of what they're about. There are guys that want to move up the ladder. Maryland is known more for basketball than Texas A-M, let's face it. I talked about it on Twitter and on my column on ESPN.com that there needs to be sanity to contracts when someone signs it. We have situations where coaches are signing contracts for 5-7 years and then just leaving. If I sign a deal with ESPN and I have a contract, they're not going to let me leave. Then people say, he won't be happy, but I have yet to see a coach who doesn't put his all into his job. What is a contract? We need some validity in contracts.
Chris, FL [via mobile]
When the Rays and the Yankees play each other, who do you root for?
Dick Vitale (11:12 AM)
Absolutely, the Rays. Years ago, I was a Yankees fan. I will say this that Joe Maddon, to me, is the best manager in the AL, no doubt. When he has a payroll thats in the 40-something millions, just a fraction of the Yankees and Red Sox. How many guys for the Rays can start for the Yankees? Maybe one - Longoria and he would probably have to move positions.
As a St. John's Alum, thoughts on the job Coach Lavin has done and what we should expect from our Johnnies?
Dick Vitale (11:13 AM)
He's brought a lot of excitement and energy. Let's hope and pray that his cancer is in remission. He's done a great job of bringing that program back to a top level.
Rick, Boston [via mobile]
Do you think Kevin Ollie is the heir-apparent after Calhoun retires at UConn?
Dick Vitale (11:14 AM)
I think that it's too premature to think about that. Jim Calhoun loves coaching and loves being in the gym. There will be no shortage of people interested in that job. I would think that Kevin Ollie would have a tough time of getting that job because of the experience factor.
Cheesehead Sports Nut (Chicago, IL)
Who has had a better three year run in Cheesehead country: Bo Ryan or Buzz Williams?
Dick Vitale (11:15 AM)
Both guys are such quality. Buzz Williams has captured so many people. But long term, and that's a sign of greatness, when you test time, you have to look to Bo Ryan and what he's gotten out of his people. I define coaching as the ability of someone to get the best out of an individual. Nobody gets more out of his people than Bo Ryan.
Jeremy (Chicago, IL)
What Big Ten team has the best chance of beating Ohio State for the conference title?
Dick Vitale (11:16 AM)
I think OSU is clearly the most talented team in the Big Ten. I'd have them up there in America too. The fact that Sullinger and Buford came back, I see them having a dynamite year. And it's a crucial year for Illinois and Bruce Weber. And you never ever count out Wisconsin. Don't forget my guy Tom Izzo and MSU.
what do you think of nova this year?
Dick Vitale (11:18 AM)
Villanova had such a phenomenal run. They had a great start, but then struggled at the end of the year. A lot of it gets down to chemistry and confidence. They'll be right up there challenging in the Big East. They have great guard play returning and some great recruits.
Syracuse might have its deepest team ever, having 10 great role players but no stars. Is that enough to make a run to the Final Four, or does SU need someone to step up and become that go to scorer? Who's most likely to do it?
Dick Vitale (11:19 AM)
They definitely have the talent, the coaching, the system that creates problems. They'll be one of the exciting teams for Jim Boeheim. The fans up there are exciting. It should be a big year for them, but when is it not?
who's a sleeper team to watch out for next year that no one has talked about
Dick Vitale (11:20 AM)
It's tough until you see all of the personnel that the teams line up. There will be teams out there that create some noise. We saw it last year with VCU and Butler the last couple of years. I believe there will be teams that creep up and cause problems. And we saw it with UConn, that you're mediocre in a major conference, but come tournament time, you step it up. Look at the mediocre teams in conference play, but that steps it up come tournament.
Cam (Richmond, VA) [via mobile]
What are your summer plans? You should call a baseball game!
Dick Vitale (11:22 AM)
I do a lot of speaking. I happen to be with the best speaker's bureau in the nation. They get me some outstanding engagements. I do some charity work. I try to be involved in the community, going to as many events in my community as I can. I keep active. Follow my grandkids. Going to concerts. I'm going to see Kenny Chesney. I do some traveling. We're going to Italy this year. We're looking forward to that. A lot of Rays baseball games. Go Rays! Keep business. I'm 71, but reverse the numbers and that's how I feel.
What do you think of pitt's team for next year?
Dick Vitale (11:24 AM)
Gibbs is coming back. They signed one of the highest recruits out there. They had that unfortunate moment in the Butler game. I had them penciled into the Final Four.
So Joe Lunardi put up his bracketology and Virginia Tech is a 7 seed, what do you think of that prediction?
Dick Vitale (11:26 AM)
It's been Heartbreak Hotel, when you think about what's happened with Virginia Tech. They have some tough guys to replace, but they have some nice guys returning. Finishing in the middle of the ACC is not going to get it done. I think we'll have to wait and see.
Jeremy H (Minneapolis)
The Heels could have 6 first round picks after they cut down the nets next spring in New Orleans! Barnes, Henson, Zeller, Marshall, Mcadoo, and Hairston...Thoughts?
Dick Vitale (11:28 AM)
There is no question they have great talent. I have them my preseason No. 1. I have Kentucky fans calling me on that. Carolina has a front court that's NBA bound. Their backcourt is outstanding. It will be a big, big year in Chapel Hill. But remember this, one bad night and the party is over.
Dave [via mobile]
There is no way Butler can return to the Final Four this season... right? Or should we never count out Brad Stevens at this point?
Dick Vitale (11:29 AM)
The odds are certainly against them, two years in a row in the Final Four. But they're gonig to have a good year. They have set the standard for mid majors. He's a hot item. He's loyal, comfortable and enjoys that environment. I think a lot of guys mess with happiness. Jimmy V used to say, don't mess with happiness. It's not like you're going to starve, guys are making some good, good bucks.
Geoff M (New York)
What does Villanova have to do to avoid another late season collapse and return to the Final Four?
Dick Vitale (11:30 AM)
If I had the answer to that, I'd be a genius and I'm not a genius. You lose some confidence. You lose some heartbreakers and it multiplies. Some guys start complaining about playing time. It's just something that happens. They have talent and good coaching. We'll see them bounce back.
Coach Vitale (once a coach always a coach), is there something going on in Austin that we should be worried about? Several freshman leaving early the past couple of years, Coach Barnes always rumored to leave for other schools...
Dick Vitale (11:32 AM)
It's an elite program. They're getting talented players, but in today's makeup, it's so tough to keep them. College basketball gets a big boost when they get players like Sullinger and Jones to stay. It's a way of the times. Rick Barnes has been able to put a winner together and he'll get his share of the talent.
whats your preseason top 10
Dick Vitale (11:33 AM)
UNC, Kentucky, OSU. I had Texas up there until those kids left. Duke. You have to factor in teams like Syracuse, UConn. Louisville, I think will have a big year. Arizona, building on what they did last year. They'll be a team to seriously look at.
Dick Vitale (11:36 AM)
We're getting the chance to follow some NBA action right now. Follow me on Twitter: @DickieV. It's interesting to note that I can not believe the haters of King James. It's unreal. I put a Tweet up there about James and Wade that I think they're on such a mission to prove that getting together was a positive. They're motivated and when you motivate talent, it's a great thing. I look for them to win. I think it was absurd how they handled the free agency and the circus of it. But a guy has a right to move on after his contract is up. But I can't understand the mentality that has such a dislike for James. He's a great player and he made some big shots. As a fan of the NBA, I look for Miami and the Heat to celebrate over Dallas.
Dick Vitale (11:38 AM)
Please, please, everyone that's been here for the chat, I just spoke at a funeral for a child in my neighborhood that had brain cancer out of the blue and lost his life. If you could have heard the pain in his family's voices, you would understand why I'm doing what I do. You can text JimmyV to 85944 to donate $10. Help us. You might help someone or a child you love.