Chat with Dick Vitale
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Dick Vitale stops by to chat some college basketball.
Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style.
Send your questions now and join Vitale Thursday at 11 a.m. ET!
Dick Vitale (11:03 AM)
I've been having a lot of fun posting my top 40 on my ESPN.com/DickVitale website. We're doing it in segments of 10. I respect those of you who disagree or aren't excited because your club didn't make the list. But that's the beauty of sports. We can debate it. It's posted now. Go check it out. Also, if you want more information through the course of the day, find me on Twitter: @DickyV. I branch out. I'm a sports fanatic. The Rays are in trouble tonight facing CC Sabathia!
Justin (Marion, AR)
How big of a loss is it for the Tar Heels, to lose Leslie McDonald to a torn ACL?! It will definitely affect their depth off the bench right?
Dick Vitale (11:05 AM)
Good question. Any time you lose a player that's valuable in your rotation, it hurts, especially when your goals are unique. The goals of UNC are not to make it to the tournament. It's to win the championship. Any time you lose a guy like McDonald, it hurts. Still UNC will be my preseason No. 1. You look at that club, it will make it tougher.
Ricky (North Carolina)
Where do you see the Pack finishing in the ACC? Will coach Gott have them dancing this season?
Dick Vitale (11:06 AM)
I'll tell you one thing, Mark Gottfried has brought a lot of excitement. He has a quality staff. He's recruiting. After you look at UNC and Duke, there are a lot of question marks. You're going to see some solid play. Some enthusiasm. That will help players step up. I don't see why they couldn't be in the top of that division. And if you are, you're going dancing.
How long will it take Lon Kruger to turn things around with the Sooners?
Dick Vitale (11:07 AM)
I think he was one of the great hires of last year. Of all of the new situations of coaches coming aboard, that was one of the best moves of getting Lon Kruger from Las Vegas. The one thing about college basketball, you can change things quickly with one or two players. I think you'll see positive things happen for OK and happen quickly.
How do you feel about 'paying' players? Isn't a free college education payment enough?
Dick Vitale (11:09 AM)
I wrote about this a long time ago in a book with a sports college guru in Dick Weiss. I said that the time has come in revenue sports that the kids deserve more than room, board and books. With the demands on time and the demands they have all year round, these kids can't go work somewhere. With the dollars out there, the billions in TV, I think that somehow, and I don't know about all of the legalities out there, that something should be done. These kids should be allowed to earn some money somehow.
Dick Vitale (11:09 AM)
I've been screaming about this for over two decades. No one listens. It seems now that there is more talk than ever. There are pros and cons.
Alex (San Antonio)
How special is it to be in the Hall of Fame? Do you wear that ring?
Dick Vitale (11:12 AM)
I wear the ring for special moments and special places. I'm speaking this weekend and I'll probably wear it. I will never forget when I got lucky enough to get the call, I was brought to tears. I was not a great player. I was not a guy that came and had the doors opened for me because I was an assistant somewhere. I remember as a kid being told that you can't be a college coach because you didn't play the game, you don't know anybody. I got so much inspiration from my mom and dad. My mom used to tell me, "Richie, never believe in can't." To be told that I'm going to have the court named after me in Detroit, that's so special. I got the call in 2008 when I was going to the airport for the Final Four and the head of the hall of fame was on the phone and told me. I thought of my mother and my father. My buddies used to say, a boy, a ball, a dream.
Dick Vitale (11:14 AM)
I remember a center that I had in Detroit, Bob Lanier, he left me a message and told me that we didn't work together very long in Detroit, but that we'll be forever together in the greatest fraternity ever in the Hall of Fame. I could go on for hours. I pinch myself. I thank all of the fans. I thank ESPN. I absolutely cherish it. What makes it so good is I got in when I was living. Very special.
Hey Dickie V! How do you see my Pitt Panthers finishing in the Big East? Any chance for a serious run in the dance?
Dick Vitale (11:16 AM)
Absolutely. They could have won the national title last year. They were right there banging on the door. Jamie Dixon gets his kids knowing how to play. I think you'll see another special year. And for another special year in the Big East. I don't get all the critics saying the conference is overrated. If a team can go 9-9 like UConn and win the national title, doesn't that tell you how hard the conference is? It will be top to bottom as tough as ever. Louisville is going to be good. Marquette. Notre Dame. St. John's. Seton Hall and Rutgers will be improved. But Pitt will be right there in the upper echelon.
Dickie V welcome back! Coach how about the Big 10 this year? Do you see any of those teams making a splash this season?
Dick Vitale (11:21 AM)
Oh, I think Ohio State. When you see my top 5 posted in the next week, you'll see that OSU is going to be loaded. They've got some players who can score who are returning. Buford should be outstanding. Sullinger. Michigan will be better. MSU will have better chemistry. They'll have better effort on the defensive end. They got a transfer from Valpo who is a big scorer, Brandon Wood. And they have a kid from Gary, Ind. whose name escapes me. Wisconsin will be Wisconsin. As long as they have Bo Ryan, they will win.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Are the Seminoles primed for a big year this season and to make some serious noise in the tournament with the experienced players they return, and Ian Miller upgrading the point?
Dick Vitale (11:22 AM)
They're going to defend really well. There are such a mixture of teams beyond UNC and Duke that could be in at No. 3. Maryland, VT, NC State, Georgia Tech, Miami. They're all in that special situation where they're going to be chasing that third slot and FSU will be one of them. They always have a chance to win with that defense. Singleton will be missed because he was such a good defensive player.
Craig (South Carolina)
How do you replace the leadership(on and off the court as well as vocally) of Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler? and who do you think will take the leadership role on a young but talented Duke team?
Dick Vitale (11:23 AM)
You replace them by bringing in and putting in new talent. Carolina, Kentucky, Duke, they always bring in guys that can help the team. They brought in a lot of new talent. Austin will be a major impact player. And then you look for other guys to elevate their games. The Plumlee brothers, Curry. There is no substitute for talent.
Coby (Florence, AL)
Dick, how far do you think Alabama can go this year with their great recruiting class and a lot of talent coming back?
Dick Vitale (11:24 AM)
Anthony Grant is one of my six teams under the radar on my website. They have a great recruiting class. He's been a positive force since arriving in Alabama. It's not just Kentucky and Florida. I think Vandy is a legit top 25. Alabama will be a factor.
zach (Lansing MI)
There has been no talk of MSU this off season, could this help them to be a darkhorse team this season?
Dick Vitale (11:26 AM)
I don't think if MSU will ever be a darkhorse. Last year they were a disappointment. They never lived up to their billing they had. We'll have a special in the Carrier Classic with UNC and MSU on Veterans Day on Nov. 11. Michael Jordan will represent UNC. Magic will represent MSU. Our military people will be invited to the game. We'll get a real look at MSU and find out about them right away.
an interesting game nobody is talking about is when st johns comes to kentucky. both have a lot of young talent (with kentucky's being better). what do you think about it?
Dick Vitale (11:28 AM)
It's going to be really curious to see how Steve Lavin -- I wish him all the best, No. 1, in his recovery from prostate cancer -- blends these new kids together. But Kentucky will have a bunch of new kids too. John Calipari is a master of bringing in new talent. Steve's got peopel talking New York basketball again.
big dog (somewhere)
How you dooin dicky V, what do you think about the next years Uconn team how do you think Jeremy Lamb will do?
Dick Vitale (11:29 AM)
Lamb is going to have a big year. He's a kid with Kemba Walker being so dominant last year was a major contributor. I look for another big year from UConn. Jim Calhoun has only one way, to play with a lot of passion and pride. Lamb will be one of the lead sophomore players in America.
What is next for the Butler Bulldogs? How do you think they stack up after losing the likes of Howard and Mack, but keeping solid talent in Andrew Smith and Khyle Marshall? Any thoughts on new recruits or how they will fair in the Horizon league?
Dick Vitale (11:30 AM)
They keep building because the program has such tradition. It started years ago and is consistent. I think Brad Stevens needs to be commended for his loyalty. He loves where he's at. He knows where he's at. As Jimmy V used to say, never mess with happiness. They'll be a dominant force in the Horizon. They're a mid-major team for others to emulate. Never count those kids out. They're so well coached. They keep you in the 60s. They did a brilliant job with Brad Stevens coaching.
Dick Vitale (11:33 AM)
Keep checking out my top 40 on my website. Tweet me if you agree/disagree. I need to go find Hoop Anonymous. It's been too long without some hoop action. I can't wait for the Carrier Classic in November. Another year of college hoops. It's always about the name on the front of the jersey, that's the great part about our sport. What excites me, I can't wait to see the new kids and see how they do. The new faces get me fired up. Follow me on Twitter: @DickyV. I want to get to 200,000 followers!