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‘Vitale’ information

Just because he stopped by the USF Bookstore for a signing Monday doesn’t mean that ESPN broadcaster Dick Vitale viewed the event as just another “x” on his book tour — the recent Basketball Hall of Fame inductee follows USF Athletics.

Beyond promoting his new book, Dick Vitale’s Fabulous 50 Players and Moments in College Basketball, Vitale talked to the Oracle about his experiences, this season of Bulls’ basketball and the football team’s loss to Louisville on Saturday.

Oracle: What are your thoughts on being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame?
Dick Vitale: It’s been a really unbelievable year for me. I just can’t tell you how lucky and fortunate I’ve been to have all the beautiful people that mean so much to me at that festivity several weeks ago. I can’t thank the players, coaches and the people at ESPN enough. They made all this really happen.

O: Your focus has always been basketball, but how closely are you following USF football?
DV: I was certainly surprised and disappointed with the loss to Louisville. They looked like they were in great shape when they came from behind and scored at the end. I’ve become a big fan of Jim Leavitt and all the kids involved with the Bulls.

Doug Woolard and I have become really good friends. He has done a phenomenal job as an Athletic Director.

O: What do you expect to see from the Bulls this year in basketball?
DV: I talked to (coach) Stan Heath last week, and he is excited about this group of kids.

Dominique Jones certainly has a chance to be a special player, but he just needs to add some consistency to his game. I caught him on the television this year, and he certainly has great size and scoring ability from the guard position. He has to learn two things to become a great player: He has to learn more about shot selection, and to be more consistent.

The Big East is going to be incredible this year — In fact, probably as good a conference as I’ve seen in the last 20 years.

O: What does Heath bring to  USF’s program?
DV: Well, he brings passion. He brings relentless personality. He’s a guy that can recruit. He will sell this University in a positive way, and there are plenty of positives to sell about South Florida.

To be able to play in an environment with weather like this, where you have a situation with professional teams in the area. You have the Orlando Magic down the road. You have the Tampa Bay Lightning. You have the Rays. You have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

To be a kid growing up, you have to look at all these aspects and say: Wow, that’s a huge positive. It’s a great school academically and I think Stan Heath will take all those factors and sell it well.

O: Talk a little bit about your book. What’s the concept?
DV: I basically rate the players and moments from 1 to 50, based on my experience in college basketball. I think it really gets basketball lovers to debate and argue, whether you disagree with me on my selections. That’s really the fun in it all.

For the full interview with Vitale, listen to the upcoming edition of the weekly Oracle Sports Podcast, posted every Thursday at