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!
Dick Vitale (11:01 AM)
Good morning and I am happy to be back with you, the fans, for another chat. We had an awesome time at our gala as we raised over $1.3 million for cancer research. It was the most emotional of the six galas we have had because we honored three families that lost loved ones recently. I cannot thank everyone involved in the event for their hard work and effort. A special thanks to honorees John Calipari, Roy Williams and Nick Bollettieri for their support. Next year we will honor Jay Wright, Gary Williams and Lou Holtz. Let's talk some hoops. baby!
JE SalukiL4ever (Decatur, IL)
Will Illinois ever be a consistent top 15 program? ( I dont think Weber is the guy to take them there. The have the institution and the athletes in the state of Illinois to be that good every year)
Dick Vitale (11:03 AM)
This year will be a pivotal year for Illinois, especially for Weber. The bad news is his biggets fan and supporter, Ron Guenther, will be retiring. Bruce is a solid basketball man though they have come up a little short in some big moments.
How do you think texas will do next season?
Dick Vitale (11:04 AM)
Would have been a top five if Tristan Thompson and Justin Hamilton stayed in school. They do have Myck Kabongo coming in and that will help a lot. I think they will find a way to compete in the Big 12, so don't sell them too short.
What was Darius Morris thinking going into the draft? He would have been great for my Wolverines.
Dick Vitale (11:06 AM)
Darius Morris would have been a star in Ann Arbor. Losing him was a setback as he and Hardaway were developing into something special. Morris may still end up sneaking in the first round of the draft, though I would lean to early second. I was surprised he stayed in the draft.
Chris (Erlanger, KY)
Calipari either sends his guys to play professionally (overseas or NBA) or graduates them, but he's criticized by fans and former coaches. Why?
Dick Vitale (11:07 AM)
Jealousy. It is that simple.
Do you think Anthony Grant will get Alabama into the tourney next year?
Dick Vitale (11:08 AM)
Yes. He has a great recruiting class coming in including Lacy. They have a top 10 class according to our own Paul Biancardi. Plus they return JyMichael Green and Mitchell and Releford too. I can see them as a top 15-20 team. Anthony Grant is a solid coach and the Tide will be tough in the SEC West.
The Cincinnati Bearcats are back on track and seem to keep improving each year. With Yancy Gates returning for his senior year, and Cashmere Wright running the point, how dangerous do you think the Bearcats will be this season
Dick Vitale (11:11 AM)
Mick Cronin has talent and the Bearcats got a bid last year as they made some strides. Gates has a world of potential up front and I think they have turned a corner. Problem is, the Big East is always going to be so tough. I think the Bearcats will likely make the tournament again and could make a little more noise.
As per Jim Calhoun's recent interview do you see the Football Big East schools breaking away from the Basketball only schools?
Dick Vitale (11:13 AM)
That is an interesting possibility down the line since the conference will have 17 teams. I have heard some say that the tourney should have just 12 teams; we will see how that transpires. I would find it hard to have St. John's for example not in the full Big East. I know there are some trying to make football into a bigger deal but remember, the Big East started as a hoop league and it should be known for that.
Who would you peg as the top competition for Ohio State in the B10 this year?
Dick Vitale (11:16 AM)
Let me say that the Buckeyes are the clear favorite in the league with Jared Sullinger and William Buford back in the fold. I really think Aaron Craft is going to be a key contributor as well. If Michigan did not lose Morris the Wolverines would have been up there. Michigan State will rebound. Purdue obviously won't be the same without E'Twaun Moor and JaJuan Johnson but Matt Painter is a fine coach. I think it will be Ohio State on top and then honestly a race for number two.
Alex (New York)
Carolina-Kentucky final next year? That would be awesome baby!
Dick Vitale (11:20 AM)
Those will be my top two teams going into the season, no doubt. Carolina returning Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller and John Henson, well my friend, that is an NBA front line. Then with Kendall Marshall running the show in the backcourt, plus an influx of newcomers like McAdoo, wow. Plus they get a healthy Reggie Bullock back who can shoot from outside and his absence was a blow. Then you look at what John Calipari has coming in with Gilchrist, Davis, Teague and the return of Terrence Jones. Doron Lamb will be a solid factor as well. I think you are right going into the season that North Carolina and Kentucky will be the favorites. Don't count out a team like Ohio State. The Big East will have some teams to watch like Syracuse. Oh, the juices are flowing already. I cannot wait for the summer to fly by and to tip it off again for my 33rd season of calling games.
What are your thoughts on Billy Kennedy taking the reins at Texas A&M and how far can the Aggies go under their new head coach?
Dick Vitale (11:22 AM)
Kennedy did a good job at Murray State, though there will be more pressure down in College Station. The Big 12 will not be easy with Kansas, Texas and Missouri right up there. A&M does have some returning talent so the cupboard is not bare. Replacing Mark Turgeon, who went to Maryland, will not be easy. Kennedy does have a little experience down there so that should help in the transition a bit.
Dickie V,What are your thoughts on Ryan Harrow's decision to transfer to UK from NC St?
Dick Vitale (11:23 AM)
He will have to sit out next season but Calipari must like him. Obviously he was not content at NC State.
How will the Bruins fare next season?
Dick Vitale (11:26 AM)
I know Ben Howland would have loved to have Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee come back, but they have decided to try their luck with the NBA draft. That may have been a mistake but we will have to see, especially if there is a lockout. The addition of the Wear Twins will be a huge factor for the Bruins. Arizona lost Derrick Williams and now Lamont Jones is transferring closer to home so that hurts them. UCLA will be a contender in the Pac-10 and the team will be tested during non-league play too. The fact that Pauley is being renovated means UCLA will be in a strange situation too.
Steve (Erie, PA)
There are rumors floating around Happy Valley of Larry Brown possibly being interested in the PSU job. Have you heard anything like that, and can PSU land a big name coach?
Dick Vitale (11:29 AM)
I have not, and I just saw Larry at our gala. Penn State is a difficult job because of the success in football and competing in the Big Ten. Ed DeChellis did a good job but felt it was time for another challenge, so he went to Navy. Remember, the Nittany Lions did make the NCAA tournament last season before losing to Temple. If Penn State were able to get Brown, that would be incredible. Imagine him coachin against Thad Matta, Tom izzo and Tubby Smith? I believe Larry would like to coach again.
Greg (North Carolina)
Hey Dick - thanks for chatting with us! Do you think UNC will have a mass exodus next year for the NBA? Zeller graduates, Barnes and Henson could go pro, and depending on how their year goes, both Marshall and McAdoo could as well. What do you think?
Dick Vitale (11:30 AM)
I think Roy Williams is only concerned about competing for a national championship in 2011-12. Anything after that he will have to deal with. Yes, on paper, there is the potential for a lot of movement. Right now, he wants to enjoy golfing this summer.
stephen (gettysburg, pa)
Hi Dick, Is MoMo making a smart move transferring from Zona? Will it help or hurt his stock in hoping to go to the NBA?
Dick Vitale (11:31 AM)
We will have to see where he ends up before knowing for sure if it was the right move. He wanted to go closer to home.
What was your reaction of Shaka Smart's decision to stay put?
Dick Vitale (11:33 AM)
I just saw Shaka at the gala and he is happy building up his program. He did a super job going to the Final Four this season. You see guys like Mark Few, Brad Stevens and Shaka Smart passing on the lure of the big dollars and building up their own programs. As Jimmy V once said to me, you do not mess with happiness. I wish Shaka all the best in the future.
hey dick were do you have syracuse in your preseason top 25? and when is your preseason top 50 comming out? thanks.
Dick Vitale (11:35 AM)
I will do a ranking sometime over the summer. You can bet that Syracuse will be in the top 10. Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim has a lot coming back, including Kris Joseph. Yes they will miss Rick Jackson, but they have a great class coming in. I think you will hear a lot from the Orange next season.
Greg (North Carolina)
What's your opinion on the two-and-through rule, potentially forcing players to stick in college two years before ditching for the pros?
Dick Vitale (11:36 AM)
It would be better than the current one-and-done rule, though I personally prefer the idea of adopting the rule college baseball has. Let the kids mature and play in college for three years. You will get better skilled players coming into the pros. They will be more grown up as individuals.
How great was your gala? Thanks for all of the work you do, I read the story on line and it sounded great. Thanks to coach Roy and coach Calioari too
Dick Vitale (11:39 AM)
The gala was really special, as I said in the beginning of the chat. It was really emotional as we honored the Teis family, the Weber family and the Littlejohn family, plus several cancer survivors who made it so special. We need to beat this dreaded disease and you can help. Go to my website and you will find info to help, or call 1-800-4-JIMMY-V. Thanks for your nice words.
Dick, do you think BAylor will have enough mintues for perry jones, anthony jones, quincy acy, and quincy miller, who all are best suited for the same position, which is power forward?
Dick Vitale (11:40 AM)
That is a nice dilemma for Scott Drew to have. The return of Perry Jones was a nice surprise for Bears fans. I think coach Drew will figure things out and have a very competitive team next season. Guard play could be a key.
With Gibbs returning, can Pitt be one of the top 4 teams in the Big East next year and be at least a 2 seed in the tourney? They should be solid down low with Nasir Robinson, Talib Zanna, Dante Taylor, and incoming Khem Birch. Their guard depth is a big question mark though
Dick Vitale (11:42 AM)
I think Jamie Dixon will always have a team that competes in the Big East, and next season shouldn't be an exception. They lost a lot of talent, led by Brad Wanamaker, but as you alluded to, this will still be a very good club led by Ashton Gibbs. I felt he made a good move to come back. Pittsburgh will be one of the top teams in the conference.
Dick Vitale (11:45 AM)
Thanks so much for all of your great questions. I love doing these chats and talking to the fans. Let me close by saying this year's NBA draft will be the weakest in my 30+ years of working in television. After the top 3-4 picks, it will be a crapshoot, a total guessing game. The talent level will drop off considerably after the first few picks. There will only be a few players who are instant contributors. It will be all about potential, potential, potential. See you next week.