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Roundball Chatter


Each week I will write about the sport I love, college basketball:

  • It comes as no surprise that Michael Beasley and Derrick Rose decided it was one-and-done in college basketball. We were fortunate enough to have them for one season. These two are special talents and they should go 1-2 in the NBA draft. I don't have a problem with them going to the pros after just one season because they have the talent and skill to perform at the next level. I am concerned about too many underclassmen that don't have the talent to move up after a short period of time. I feel there should be a rule change that keeps kids in school for three years unless they are among the crème de la crème, the top five prospects for the draft after just one season. It would be similar to the baseball draft rules.

  • While Memphis received the bad news about Rose leaving, there was good news. Coach John Calipari agreed in principle to a multi-year extension. My friends, I know what it is like to recruit in an inner-city situation having coached at Detroit. It is not easy, and Calipari has done an incredible job at Memphis. It is great to see he is staying there for a long time.

  • Meanwhile Calipari scored a big recruiting victory when 6-5 guard Tyreke Evans out of Pennsylvania announced he will be going to Memphis. This is similar to the signing of Rose, a big-time prospect joining the Tigers. Evans was a McDonald's All-America and his future is bright.

  • Every year a couple of hot names emerge in the coaching fraternity. Whether it is great success in the regular season or a super performance at the big dance, a few coaches take advantage and land bigger jobs. It happened with Darrin Horn at Western Kentucky and now he is in the SEC at South Carolina. The latest to take advantage is Keno Davis of Drake, who left the Missouri Valley Conference after an amazing season; he is the new coach at Providence. Davis is familiar with the Big East since his dad, Dr. Tom Davis, used to coach in the league at Boston College (there from 1977-82). Keno Davis led Drake to a 28-5 record and its first NCAA bid since 1971, good enough to earn National Coach of the Year honors. Ironically Horn beat Davis in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

  • Travis Ford did not lead his team to the NCAA tournament, though Massachusetts made the finals of the NIT. Ford was a hot name, turning down LSU and Providence. He finally opted to leave for the Oklahoma State job. My friends, I don't believe this will be his last stop in coaching. If a job opens up in Lexington, Kentucky in years to come, don't be surprised to see him land there.

  • Congratulations to Butler coach Brad Stevens and Kansas State coach Frank Martin. Both were rewarded with long-term extensions following success in their first season as head coach at their respective schools.

  • At San Francisco, the Dons finally found a replacement for Jessie Evans and Eddie Sutton. Former Kansas guard Rex Walters opted to leave his position at Florida Atlantic to head west. Florida Atlantic has become a stepping stone job as Matt Doherty left there for SMU.

  • The ACC-Big Ten Challenge pairings for next season have been announced. Perhaps the most intriguing match-up features North Carolina vs. Michigan State at Ford Field. That should serve as a dress rehearsal for the Final Four and it could give the Tar Heels the advantage of competing at the site of March Madness. Duke is 9-0 lifetime in the event, but it faces a test as it visits Purdue. I am also intrigued by the Wisconsin-Virginia Tech showdown. Other pairings include Indiana vs. Wake Forest; Ohio State vs. Miami; Clemson vs. Illinois; Florida State vs. Northwestern; Iowa vs. Boston College; Michigan vs. Maryland; Penn State vs. Georgia Tech; and Virginia vs. Minnesota. The ACC has dominated this series, winning nine straight.

  • Miami-Florida guard Jack McClinton has decided to pass on the NBA draft and return to school. McClinton was All-ACC first-team and helped the Hurricanes to a 23-win season and an NCAA berth.

  • Connecticut guard Doug Wiggins has announced his intention to transfer. This appears to be a case where a player simply wants more playing time and the opportunity to handle the rock in a different system.

  • I want to wish a speedy recovery to Tennessee guard JP Prince. He recently underwent reconstructive surgery on his shoulder. He is expected to be back in time for the start of practice in mid-October. Bruce Pearl needs a healthy Prince in his lineup next season.

  • It was good news, bad news for Villanova. The negative came when Malcolm Grant decided to transfer to Miami-Florida. Jay Wright's program added former Duke diaper dandy Taylor King. I can tell you that King can flat-out shoot and he will be a positive force for the Wildcats.

    Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in December 1979. Send him a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.