Choose a blog

Vitale back for more at PNC

Bookmark and Share

Two weeks ago, Dick Vitale was at PNC Arena for N.C. State’s win over previously undefeated Duke, a game remembered as much for Vitale’s play-by-play of Will Privette storming the court in his wheelchair as the Wolfpack’s victory.

Vitale will be back Saturday along with ESPN’s College GameDay as N.C. State takes on North Carolina, and I spoke with him on Friday about his return to PNC, his scouting reports on the Wolfpack and Tar Heels and his induction into the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame in Salisbury on June.

On N.C. State: “If you, preseason, are supposed to be as good as people say, you’ve got to prove it. They proved it a week ago when they beat Duke on that floor. They stumbled against Maryland, stumbled against Wake Forest. You can say those are tough games on the road but a legit top-10 team wins those games. …

“I like a lot of parts of that NC State team. When they’re playing well, they have balance, they have inside-outside action, they have solid point-guard play from Lorenzo Brown, a shooter in the kid (Scott) Wood, a scorer off the bench in (T.J.) Warren and two guys who are dominant on the inside in C.J. Leslie and (Richard) Howell. They have all the parts. This team has a world of potential. …

“What’s made Duke and Carolina great over the years is they’ve always been able to maintain their level of intensity and passion and be ready for the next game, never celebrating too much those great wins, always getting ready for the next team. A lot of teams can’t do that.”

On North Carolina: “Getting better every game. They lack a true, other than (James Michael) McAdoo, post presence. When the perimeter players aren’t making shots it becomes a tough climb for them. But Reggie Bullock and P.J. Hairston can make those shots on the perimeter. They got to get McAdoo going on the inside. …

“They showed, to me, a lot of character after going down 0-2. Then they go on the road for a game I thought was pivotal for them, going back to Florida State who humiliated them the year before. That was a must-win situation. You don’t want to start 0-3. They got that win at FSU and they made a commitment there to what they have to do defensively. Obviously, if they make that commitment as a team, defensively, they’ve got enough athletes who can put points on the board and win games.”

On the PNC Arena environment: “I think with GameDay there, with our guys there, that’ll get that electricity going. The energy, the fever pitch, that was the type of game that dictated that in the Duke game. One thing I’m really concerned about, and I was that game, is the rushing the court. I thought we were headed for a major incident when I saw the young kid in the wheelchair being sent to center court. …

“I’m for energy, I’m for excitement. That’s my personality. But we’re having too many court rushes. I can understand a special moment -- you’re Miami, you’re 0-6 against No. 1 teams, you’ve never beaten a No. 1 in your life. But last night, Richmond over VCU? It’s one after another. A little control has to be exerted there. We could have one major incident, and that’s one too many.”

On entering the NSSA Hall of Fame: “It blew me away when I looked at the nominees list. I never considered myself, to be honest. When I started in this 34 years ago, the very first game in history of ESPN, Wisconsin and DePaul, I never thought 34 years later entering my 12th Hall of Fame. It’s fairy tale. In awe that this has happened for me. But it’s games like tomorrow, the fans, they’ve made it for me what it is. When they start chanting my name, I’m 73 and I act like I’m about 12. It’s a love affair and I’m very proud to be part of it.”

Cars View All
Find a Car
Jobs View All
Find a Job
Homes View All
Find a Home

Want to post a comment?

In order to join the conversation, you must be a member of Click here to register or to log in.

About the blogger

Luke has worked for The N&O since 2000. He covered the Carolina Hurricanes and the NHL before becoming a sports columnist in August 2008. A native of Evanston, Ill., he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. He can be reached at (919) 829-8947, @LukeDeCock on Twitter or