Commentary

Jimmy V Week, help someone you love

Updated: December 7, 2009, 2:58 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

It is Jimmy V Week at ESPN, and that always excites me. It is great to raise dollars to battle the dreaded disease which affects so many people we know. Cancer will continue to damage lives, and we need to find a cure. Everywhere I go, I hear stories of individuals that have suffered from the disease.

I am so proud to be a member of the Board of Directors of the V Foundation. There are so many great people behind the scenes. People like Bob Lloyd, the chairman of the Foundation; CEO Nick Valvano; Mike Krzyzewski and John Saunders...everyone does a fantastic job. They are passionate and dedicated, determined to do all they can to raise money to fight this disease. Cancer can, and so often does, bring people to their knees.

The one great thing is, today there are over 12 million cancer survivors. The reason for that wonderful statistic? The dollars raised for research. More people go out and live productive lives after their diagnosis. There are more and more breakthroughs in this fight.

It is Jimmy V week, and we remember our ESPN colleague. We remember the great times we shared in the studio and on the road with the network. He was such a special person; passionate, fun. His legacy will not be the NC State national championship in 1983 -- it is the fight against cancer. Don't give up, don't ever give up... that resonates loud and clear.

So I ask all of you to help. Reach out and try to help someone you love.

We have a good doubleheader of college basketball Tuesday night. Butler vs. nationally-ranked Georgetown in the first true test of the season for the Hoyas. Brad Stevens' squad has great balance but stumbled against good teams (Clemson and Minnesota) at the 76 Classic in Anaheim.

Butler has one of the most versatile players in America in Gordon Hayward. And Shelvin Mack provides strong guard play.

The Hoyas have one of the premiere big men in the nation in Greg Monroe. He has a world of talent and can dominate a game. There are veterans in the backcourt in Chris Wright and Austin Freeman. Last season was a disappointment as Georgetown missed out on the tournament, but this could be a year where the team is more consistent.

Pittsburgh of the Big East and Indiana of the Big Ten meet in the second game at Madison Square Garden. The Hoosiers are in a rebuilding mode under Tom Crean, but he will get it done. The Panthers, under the leadership of Jamie Dixon, lost so much talent from a season ago. It is not easy to replace DaJuan Blair, Sam Young and Levance Fields. This team will scrap and claw, competing in typical Dixon style.

It is a special week and an important night for the college basketball community. You can help by calling 1-800-4JIMMYV or donating at jimmyv.org.

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.