Happy in Memphis
Dick Vitale SPECIAL TO ESPN.COM
August 29, 2006
Isn't it refreshing when a coach comes out and talks positively about their team! A lot of times these days coaches are so cautious when evaluating their squads. They are not overly optimistic when looking at their personnel.
That's why I loved it when I read Memphis coach John Calipari's comment in a recent interview with ESPN.com's Andy Katz. Calipari was enthusiastic looking ahead to this year's squad. He is excited and he flat-out said his team will be good. The Tigers lost Rodney Carney, Darius Washington and Shawne Williams, but this program is not a one-hit wonder. That is why Memphis can sustain success.
Calipari provides the leadership with his enthusiasm and energy and it filters down to everyone in the program. He has good reason to be thrilled with the talent he has. Memphis has talent that has waited for its chance to shine big-time. This squad is still the favorite in Conference USA because of players like Chris Roberts-Douglas, Robert Dozier, Joey Dorsey and company. Antonio Anderson and Andre Allen will be factors in the backcourt.
Memphis also has some incoming talent to make a difference.
Let me tell you, Calipari knows how to motivate and build a winner, just like he did at the University of Massachusetts. It also doesn't hurt to have a multi-year contract and the support of the community and the administration. Calipari has been successful there the past six seasons. Memphis is going to have another special year, after being just one step away from the Final Four last season.
Keep an eye on Calipari's team again this year.
Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question for Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.