Roundball chatter

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

• Congratulations to the Big East on naming Val Ackerman as commissioner. She has so many bright ideas to make the college game better. Ackerman, a former WNBA commissioner, is going to be a major asset for the league, which includes the likes of Georgetown, Villanova and St. John's.

• The new Big East also announced a great gift for fans that will be on New Year's Eve. The schedule of league games includes St. John's-Xavier, Marquette-Creighton and Villanova-Butler as we celebrate right before 2014 begins.

• There were a number of big names with college eligibility remaining who did not hear their names called during the NBA draft. C.J. Leslie of NC State, Myck Kabongo of Texas, Vander Blue of Marquette, BJ Young of Arkansas and Adonis Thomas of Memphis all had delusions of grandeur or listened to the wrong people. Now they become basketball vagabonds, looking to hook up with a team.

• I am thrilled to see that Air Force basketball coach Dave Pilipovich has agreed to a five-year contract. Pilipovich and I met when he was an assistant at the Air Force Academy, and he really impressed me.

• The name Sampson has been important in college basketball. Ralph Sampson was all-world at Virginia. His son Ralph III made a name for himself, playing well at Minnesota. Now, another son, 6-foot-8 forward Robert Sampson, has made headlines. He transferred from East Carolina, where he played on a team that won the College Insider Tournament, to Georgia Tech. That move pleased Yellow Jackets coach Brian Gregory, as he inherits a player who averaged more than nine rebounds a game last season.

• Former Oak Hill Academy player Darion Clark, a part-time starting forward at Charlotte, has transferred to USC. Coach Andy Enfield likes this addition and thinks Clark has potential to become an important player for the Trojans down the line.