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Roundball Chatter

7/31/2008

Each week I'll write about the game I love, college basketball:

• It didn't take long from Tom Crean to have an impact in Bloomington, Ind. My friends, he has already cleaned house and the Hoosier fans should be happy. In fact, reports came out recently that Crean is getting an additional two years on his contract with Indiana. It is going to take a little time to rebuild the program, but it is a perfect fit. Crean is the right man for the job of restoring this once proud Indiana basketball tradition.

• Kansas coach Bill Self has a young nucleus in place for the upcoming season. He saw a lot of talent land in the NBA Draft. The Jayhawks have put together a challenging non-conference schedule which includes Michigan State, Arizona, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Temple and an appearance in the CBE event. Oh yes, that field includes the likes of Florida, Syracuse and Washington. So it is possible to have Kansas facing an All-Star lineup of players this season: Chase Budinger, Tyler Smith, Raymar Morgan, Nick Calathes and Johnny Flynn. Maybe it will be Jon Brockman. That doesn't even include the Big 12 opponents like A.J. Abrams!

• Nice to see several Georgia Tech players recently involved in community service. They gave their time to help out at Usher's New Look Camp. That camp gave underprivileged kids a chance to experience a business side of entertainment and sports. Coach Paul Hewitt has to be proud of his student-athletes.

• Hewitt received some good news when Bassirou Dieng, who played basketball the last two seasons at St. Francis University (Pa.) was granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA to play for the Yellow Jackets' basketball team in the upcoming season. The 6-9 Dieng has one year of eligibility at Georgia Tech. In two years at St. Francis, he averaged 8.5 points per game, 5.2 rebounds per game and shot 46.2 percent from the floor. It's nice to pick up a big man over the summer. Dieng was accepted into Georgia Tech's International Affairs graduate program.

• Look for Pittsburgh to headline this year's Legends Classic in Newark, N.J. in late November. Jamie Dixon's squad returns the likes of Sam Young and DeJuan Blair. Among other teams expected to be in the field: Washington State under coach Tony Bennett; Mississippi State and Texas Tech.

• Rutgers coach Fred Hill has to be thrilled with his incoming talent. Gregory Echenique of Venezuela was very impressive in the recent FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Formosa, Argentina. He led the tournament in scoring (22.2), blocked shots (3.6) and free throws made (8.2), while placing second in rebounding (13.6). The Scarlet Knights also have McDonald's All-American guard Mike Rosario coming in from Jersey City, N.J.

• I am so excited about my new book, the 50 greatest players and 50 greatest moments in college basketball during my 30 years at ESPN/ABC. Dick "Hoops" Weiss and I have worked hard on this project, compiling lists and giving my opinions on the crème de la crème, the best of the best during my days behind the microphone. Look for it later on in the year.