By LARRY VAUGHT
Dick Vitale has a new book about the 2020 NCAA Tournament that didn’t get play. Again he worked with veteran sportswriter Dick “Hoops” Weiss on this project and the book should be out soon.
As a little sneak preview, let me share who he picked for his national coach of the year — former UK assistant coach Leonard Hamilton of Florida State.
Here’s what Vitale wrote in the book:
“The leading candidates were Scott Drew of Baylor, Brian Dutcher of San Diego State, Anthony Grant of Dayton, and Leonard Hamilton of Florida State.
“I cut my list down to two after Baylor, which spent four weeks at No. 1 in the AP poll, dropped three of its last five regular season games. Meanwhile, San Diego State, which once was 26-0, fell twice down the stretch, including the Mountain West title game against Utah State. (Sam Merrill beat the Aztecs with a buzzer three.)
“So, it came down to Grant and Hamilton. Dayton set a school record for single-season wins, a tremendous feat considering the fact that Tom Blackburn and Don Donoher both coached there. Florida State finished 26-5 and was ranked fourth in the final AP poll. The Seminoles won the ACC regular season crown for the first time ever with a 16-4 conference record, edging the likes of Louisville, Duke, and Virginia. The Seminoles were picked fifth in the ACC preseason poll! Both Grant and Hamilton had tremendous credentials. It was a tough decision that could have gone either way.
“The winner is . . . Leonard Hamilton.
“Hamilton had a great season without a true superstar, although 6’9″ freshman forward Patrick Williams and 6’6″ sophomore guard Devin Vassell, who have declared for the NBA draft, could both be first round picks. No Seminole averaged 13 points per game. But Hamilton’s team found ways to win close games. The Seminoles won 11 games by six points or less.”