V-MAIL | April 23, 2004 | Send a V-Mail question
Q: When do you see Jameer Nelson getting drafted? Do you think he's a legit first-round pick? -- Ben Porcher
|Guard Jameer Nelson averaged 20.6 ppg and 5.3 apg during the regular season for Saint Joseph's.|
VITALE -- Without a doubt, Nelson should be a first round pick. With his toughness and the way he can handle the basketball, he will certainly be an asset wherever he goes. I see him being picked in the middle of the first round. For any team looking for guard help, they would be making a mistake passing him up.
Q: We're all scared here in Madison (Wisc.) that Devin Harris is going to the NBA. Rumor has it that he will go if he's a top-13 pick. Where would he be projected to go in the draft? -- Ryan Antony
VITALE -- Wisconsin will have a great season in 2004-05. The big question is Harris, who could go around 12th-17th according to some early projections. A lot will depend on which kids come out early.
If Harris comes back, the Badgers are a top-10 team, with the addition of Brian Butch (redshirt), Shariff Chambliss (transfer from Penn State) and 6-11 newcomer Greg Stiemsma (plus the return of a healthy Alando Tucker). Harris doesn't have an easy decision -- he would be Wisconsin's catalyst. If he returns, he could be on my All-Rolls Royce team.
Q: Did you rank the top 12 of the ACC or the nation in your preseason top 12? I agree that Georgia Tech and Duke should be very good, but where's Syracuse? You have Maryland ranked ninth? Syracuse led by as many as 17 in the tournament against Maryland and returns all of its starters. ... All we hear is that the ACC is the best year after year, yet the Big East has won back-to-back championships. -- Todd (Nashville, Tenn.)
VITALE -- The key for Syracuse is whether Hakim Warrick comes back. If he does, Syracuse moves up the ladder big-time because he'll be one of the premier forwards in America. That is a real key.
Q: How do you not have Oklahoma State in your early top 12? They lose one starter (Tony Allen) from a Final Four team and every other key player is back. -- Justin Peterson
VITALE -- Point guard John Lucas will be a great asset, and Ivan McFarlin graduated in 3½ years but will still play next season. McFarlin's presence will make a difference. Coach Eddie Sutton just keeps winning and winning. Somewhere along the line they will get credit and be ranked, but not in my original Dazzling Dozen.
Q: How do you feel about Jeff Lebo being hired at Auburn? -- Tommy (Troy, Ala.)
VITALE -- Lebo did a great job in his other head coaching positions, and he's part of the Carolina basketball family that has gained so much respect over the years. He understands winning with class from his days playing under legendary coach Dean Smith. He'll be a great asset at Auburn.
Q: Since the expansion of the NCAA Tournament, where does the UConn men's team rank among previous winners? Their dominance throughout the tournament and in the championship game was remarkable. -- Matt (Bethel, Conn.)
VITALE -- The bottom line is they won this year's championship, and that's all that really counts. It doesn't really matter to compare them to others. This was a very good team, and there's a difference each year because players often leave early. That's not to take away anything from Connecticut and coach Jim Calhoun, who did a super job. You have to admire UConn's dynamic junior duo, guard Ben Gordon and center Emeka Okafor, and understand their decisions to leave after three seasons in Storrs.
Dick Vitale coached the Detroit Pistons and the University of Detroit before providing color commentary for ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979 (he's been an ESPN analyst ever since). Send a question for Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.