Commentary

Roundball Chatter

Updated: April 17, 2009, 12:50 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

Each week I'll talk about the sport I love, college basketball:

• It was the news Kansas coach Bill Self was hoping to hear. At the 2008-09 men's basketball banquet, the Jayhawk duo of Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich announced they were returning for the 2009-10 season. My friends, that should make the Jayhawks to early preseason favorite for next season.

• Florida International made a splash by naming Isiah Thomas as head coach. It isn't every day you hire a Hall of Famer to patrol the sidelines. Thomas brings big-time name recognition to the Sun Belt Conference, which also has Mike Jarvis and John Brady among its coaches. Thomas will draw recruits in because of his experience in the NBA, both as a player and in the front office. Players today want to get that edge trying to go to the next level.

• It was not a big surprise that Connecticut center Hasheem Thabeet declared for the NBA draft. He is certainly one of the premier defensive players in college basketball, and he should excel in that area at the next level, though teams will try to draw him away from the basket. Offensively, he has to develop better skills and it will be up to him. Thabeet must show the work ethic to get better and if he is dedicated, he has star potential. Right now, his offensive moves are limited. He also has to work hard to get stronger physically.

• Mississippi suffered a setback when junior guard David Huertas elected to forego his senior year to pursue a professional basketball career in his native country of Puerto Rico. Huertas, who started his college career at Florida, led the Rebels in scoring this past season with 18.1 points per game and was named to the All-SEC second team *Georgetown received some good news at center Greg Monroe announced his intention to return for his sophomore season. Monroe was the Big East Rookie of the Year, averaging almost 13 ppg. Monroe also led the Hoyas in blocked shots. He will get better and better as he could appear on All-America lists next season.

• I want to wish former coach Gene Bartow all the best as he battles cancer. The same for Chuck Daly, who has been fighting the dreaded disease. We have to beat this. I am looking forward to hosting my gala May 15th in Sarasota. For more information call the V Foundation at 1-800-4-JIMMY V.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick 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. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.