Each week I talk about the sport I love, college basketball:
• I want to pass along my well wishes to Dean Smith. Word came recently of his illness, and the Michelangelo of coaching has solidified such a special place in the college basketball world. The Hall of Famer has meant so much to the sport, especially North Carolina fans.
• John Wooden passed away earlier this year, but his legacy lives on. The 17th annual John R. Wooden Classic will proceed as scheduled this year despite the death of the Wizard of Westwood. This year, the matchups in the December 28 doubleheader include UCLA-BYU and St. Mary's-Long Beach State.
• I love the moves made by Manhattan Jaspers' head coach Barry Rohrssen. He hired Scott Adubato and eight-year NBA veteran and former University of Kentucky standout Scott Padgett to his staff. These guys know their hoops, baby! I loved watching Padgett shoot jumpers at Kentucky. Those guys will help Manhattan get better and better.
• Congratulations to Connecticut athletic director Jeff Hathaway, who was named the chair of the NCAA men's basketball committee. He will serve as chairman for the 2011-12 academic year, taking over for Ohio State's Gene Smith. Hathaway has great knowledge of the tournament, and I love his passion for college basketball.
• I was sorry to hear the news that Jimmy Collins had decided to retire after 14 seasons as head coach at Illinois-Chicago. He was the school's all time leader in wins. I remember him from his days as an assistant at Illinois. He always cared about his players. College basketball will miss him on the sideline.
• Oklahoma fans will go close to a month between home games from mid-November into early December. The Sooners are at home against Texas Southern on November 18, and they don't play again in Norman until December 9 against Gardner-Webb. In between are trips to Maui for the Maui Invitational, plus visits to Arkansas and Arizona.