Dick Vitale’s Fabulous 50 Players and Moments in College Basketball
From the Best Seat in the House During My 30 Years at ESPN
by Dick Vitale with with Dick Weiss
foreword by Patrick Ewing
For 30 years, Dick Vitale has been synonymous with the best in college basketball. His enthusiasm, knowledge, unique turn of a phrase and professionalism have set the bar for the best in hoops coverage.
Duke vs. North Carolina – arguably the sport’s best rivalry. Villanova’s perfect game against Georgetown in the 1985 NCAA championship game. Christian Laettner’s dramatic jump shot to sink Kentucky in the 1992 East Regional final. And, of course, North Carolina State’s last-second alley oop to defeat Houston in the 1983 NCAA final and the resulting exuberance demonstrated by Wolfpack head coach Jimmy Valvano. Dick Vitale has seen it all.
For the college basketball fan, these are some of the touchstones of the sport. For years, fans have discussed these and other memorable players and magical moments. Who was better? What had the most impact on the game, the sport? The debate rages on. And, fan that he is, Dick Vitale also likes to talk about the game he loves.
But he is not your average fan. And there are experiences that are personally meaningful to him that he wants to share with his fellow college basketball crazies.
In Dick Vitale’s Fabulous 50 Players and Moments in College Basketball: From the Best Seat in the House During My 30 Years at ESPN, America’s self-confessed number one college basketball junkie will go on the record, ranking his players and moments from 1 to 50.
His personal pantheon might surprise you. The legends are here, of course. And they deserve to be. Consensus is that these are the greatest of the great. But some of his rankings may be unexpected.
Kansas guard Mario Chalmers’ three-point shot to force overtime against Memphis in the 2008 national championship game. Ralph Sampson of Virginia vs. Patrick Ewing of Georgetown in a 1983 reprise of the great showdown between Lew Alcindor and Elvin Hayes in the ‘60s. UCLA guard Tyus Edney’s length-of-the-floor dash to glory against Missouri in the 1995 tournament. Michael Jordan’s game winning shot against Georgetown in 1982 during his freshman year at North Carolina. Kentucky’s 31point comeback against LSU in 1994. Cinderella George Mason upsetting Connecticut to make the Final Four in 2006.
Every basketball fan has his or her favorites: the perfect player, the magical moments. But only Dick Vitale will go on the record, ranking them 1 through 50, and he’ll do it as much as a fan as a commentator.
This is from his heart, naming the top 50 players and moments in the wonderful world of college hoops.
It’s awesome, baby.
About the Authors
Dick Vitale has been an integral part of ESPN since the network’s early days in 1979. He has served as a head coach on the scholastic, collegiate and professional level. Dick was enshrined as a member of the Class of 2008 in the Naismith Memorial basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor. He was previously honored by the Hall of Fame with the Curt Gowdy Media Award. Vitale is also proud to have been selected to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City, Missouri. All told, he is a member of nine halls of fame for his outstanding contributions to the game he loves. Among his other prestigious awards are the Naismith Award given by the Naismith International Basketball Foundation for outstanding sportsmanship; Black Coaches Association Award, Keith Jackson Eternal Flame CoSida Award; Naismith Award from the Atlanta Tip-Off Club for valuable contributions to college basketball. Also, Vitale has received several Ace Cable Awards for outstanding television commentary. Vitale joined the prestigious Washington Speakers Bureau over a decade ago and is highly sought after as a motivational speaker for corporations throughout America. Vitale and his wife, Lorraine, reside in Florida and have two daughters, Terri and Sherri, both graduates of the University of Notre Dame, two granddaughters, Sydney, age 7, and Ava, age 3, and three grandsons, twins Connor and Jake, age 5, and Ryan, age 4.
with Dick Weiss
Dick Weiss is currently in his 15th year as a sportswriter with the New York Daily News and previously worked for 19 years with the Philadelphia Daily News. He is the past president of the U.S. Basketball Writers' Association and the College Football Writers of America. Weiss has received the Curt Gowdy Media Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for journalistic contributions to the sport, the Big East Media award and the NIT Media award. He is a member of the College Basketball Writers' Hall of Fame. He has previously co-authored books with Rick Pitino, John Calipari and Vitale. Weiss and his wife Joan Williamson, a book editor, reside in suburban Philadelphia.