Miss. State's Roberts awaits NCAA investigation

Notre Dame, Brey agree to 2-year extension

Wisconsin's Wade to take leave of absence

Vitale: Dynamic duos pack 1-2 punch

Vitale: NCAA makes right call on Edelin

Vitale: NBA rookies ready to dazzle

Vitale: College teams imitating Pistons

Vitale: Midnight Madness tips it off

Vitale: Calipari upbeat about recruiting

Vitale: Wishing Lou Henson a quick recovery

Vitale: Roberts bringing buzz to St. John's

Vitale: Happy 70th to Lute Olson

Vitale: Diaper dandies ready to dazzle

Vitale: Preseason All-Rolls-Royce Team

Vitale: Preseason Top 30

Vitale: All-Time Teams of ESPN Era

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NCAA should let Lawrence Roberts play


It's time to talk about some hoops happenings ... let's start with Mississippi State senior forward Lawrence Roberts, a returning All-American. I just praised the NCAA for its quick handling of the Billy Edelin situation (he was granted eligibility). Now comes Roberts' situation...

Lawrence Roberts
Lawrence Roberts averaged 16.9 points and 10.1 rebounds last season for SEC champion Mississippi State.
The NCAA is investigating the workout Roberts had with the Portland Trail Blazers before he decided against the NBA draft. Roberts is currently practicing with the Bulldogs, but he might have to miss up to three games for accepting money from Portland to attend the workout, even though that money was paid back.

Roberts did things the right way prior to the NBA draft, having the trip paid for and then reimbursing the Trail Blazers. It's no secret that NBA teams generally provide airfare and lodging when possible draft picks work out! And Roberts' mom made sure the Blazers got back all the money for the flight, hotel, everything.

What more does the NCAA have to think about?

Roberts decided to return to college, and he should be greeted with open arms. Hopefully a quick decision will be made and he's declared eligible right away without any penalty. Let him play for coach Rick Stansbury at the Coaches vs. Cancer event.

I read an interesting transaction that indicated the Charlotte Bobcats had cut guard Omar Cook. Why did that stand out?

I will never forget the conversation I had with Omar when he was a freshman at St. John's. It was prior to a game at Villanova, as then-coach Mike Jarvis and my broadcast buddy Brent Musburger were standing nearby. I remember how emotional I was in expressing to Omar that he wasn't yet ready for the NBA after just one season in college.

I told him how important it was to improve his game. I explained to him that he needed St. John's even more than the school needed him. But Cook had visions of grandeur and entered the NBA draft.

Unfortunately, he didn't get picked in the first round, so he missed out on the guaranteed contract -- and since then he's bounced around, trying to make an NBA roster. He has become a basketball vagabond.

If he had stayed at St. John's, his stock would have really soared as his ability and confidence level would have climbed.

Usually we're talking about football in South Bend at this time of the year. Then again, the Irish lost last weekend to Boston College, the fourth straight loss to the Eagles.

But wait a minute, I'm talking about hoops in this column, not the pigskin, baby!

Coach Mike Brey has done an outstanding job with the Irish. Notre Dame's fine athletic director, Kevin White, was wise to give Brey a two-year contract extension that will take him through 2011.

Certain coaches just fit certain programs. At Temple, John Chaney knows the city of Philadelphia well and he's a perfect fit. Tom Izzo is a blue-collar worker who fits ideally at Michigan State. Mike Krzyzewski fits like a glove at Duke.

The same can be said for Brey and Notre Dame. In my book, he should be a lifer in South Bend.

Wisconsin guard Boo Wade recently took a leave of absence from the Badgers.

Why is this tough news for coach Bo Ryan? He already lost Devin Harris early to the NBA draft, and Wade's absence takes away some experience on the perimeter.

Right now, the most important thing is Wade's well-being. Here's hoping he can get himself back on the right track and on the Madison campus in a positive situation. The game of life is the most important one of all.

Dick Vitale coached the Detroit Pistons and the University of Detroit in the 1970s before broadcasting 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.

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