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Dick Vitale Archive


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In men's and women's game, youth taking over

SPECIAL TO ESPN.COM

Enough from those in the media who screamed about the importance of experience, experience, experience!

Youth has prevailed. Today, if you can play, it doesn't matter if you're a freshman. In today's day and age, players are competing at such a high level in AAU events that it's elevated the game for youngsters.

Players are competing at such a high level in AAU events that it's elevated the game for youngsters.
All you have to do is look at the crowning of the men's and women's basketball champions for this season, baby! Syracuse (men) and Connecticut (women) both had youthful exuberance on their side.

Coach Jim Boeheim's Orangemen had three key freshmen, led by superstar Carmelo Anthony. All the Melo-man did was score 20 points and grab 10 rebounds in the biggest spotlight of them all -- the national championship game! Syracuse also got a helping hand from fellow freshman Gerry McNamara, who set the tone with six big trifectas in the first half as Syracuse built up a big lead.

And look at coach Geno Auriemma's Huskies. They didn't have a single senior on the roster, and going into the season people were talking about rebuilding after losing four of the top six WNBA draft picks (including Sue Bird and Swin Cash). Instead Geno proved that he doesn't rebuild, he reloads! He did a great job getting a young team to mesh.

Of course, it helped to have a brilliant superstar named Diana Taurasi, who averaged more than 26 points per game in the NCAA Tournament. Taurasi made big plays throughout, hitting the big jumpers and leading her team to the winner's circle as the Huskies earned national championship No. 4.

Think about it: Auriemma has this team returning intact! How much better will the Huskies be with another year of experience? Plus, Nicole Wolff (daughter of Boston University coach Dennis Wolff) comes back from injury. We're talking dynasty, baby!

Look at what these young kids did for their teams. It truly is impressive to see those performances under that type of pressure.

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