Roundball chatter

• Congratulations to the Michelangelo of coaching, Dean Smith, who will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. That is a terrific honor which is well-deserved. Another member of the sports world being honored by President Obama is former Cub Ernie Banks.

• Louisville received a scare when forward Montrezl Harrell suffered a knee sprain during a recent Adidas summer camp in California. All indications were that Harrell will be fine.

• The New York-New Jersey area is lucky to have the Super Bowl in February. The day before the big game, the Big Apple will be rocking and rolling with a terrific doubleheader at Madison Square Garden. Michigan State will face Georgetown and St. John's takes on Marquette. I love the fact Tom Izzo takes on so many great non-conference challenges, and this should be another good one.

• Iona got some good news as Mike Poole, who transferred from Rutgers, was given an NCAA Legislative Relief Waiver and will be able to play right away for the Gaels. One reason Iona wanted him: Poole's career-high scoring total came against the Gaels last season in an 18-point, seven rebound effort at Madison Square Garden.

• St. John's coach Steve Lavin made a good decision by bringing in former Loyola-Chicago head coach Jim Whitesell to join his staff. Whitesell was an Associate Head Coach at Saint Louis under Jim Crews last season.

• Congratulations to Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy, who led the Rams to 26 wins last season. He has been given a new contract which will ensure he will remain in Fort Collins through the 2017-18 season.