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Commentary | Dickie V ‘floored’ by old school

Big ups to Dick Vitale, whose name now graces the new basketball court at Detroit Mercy University’s Calihan Hall.

The irrepressible ESPN hoopsmeister and Lakewood Ranch resident was honored by the school Monday night.

Dickie V coached the Titans to 78 victories and a Sweet 16 appearance in four years there during the mid-1970s, and has kept the program close to his heart ever since.

After saluting him for all his contributions to college basketball, Athletic Director Keri Gaither had a little fun with Vitale.

She had five minutes put on the game clock for his speech so the broadcast could start on time.

“Thank you so much,” Vitale told the crowd, according to the Detroit Free Press. “I only have 4:38 seconds left on the clock -- I can’t get a hello out with that little time.”

The Titans topped off their ol’ coach’s big night in style, beating St. John’s, 69-63.

n Dec. 14 is a double-barrel birthdate for Marcus Thomas, who turns 28, and daughter Simone, who will be 1.

Cheers from wife Sarry as well as the Jasper, Houser, Handy, Moreno, Wesh and Albritton families.

n Manatee High senior Nikita Bellinger will sing our national anthem at Hawkins Stadium tonight before Manatee’s Class 7A state semifinal showdown with Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer.

Good luck from mom Althea, sisters Dee Dee, April, Stacy, Chris, Big Ben, Amber, Nick and Aunt Francine as well as her other aunts, uncles and supporters at Palmetto’s St. James AME Church.

Go, Canes!

n And go, you Palmetto Tigers in tonight’s Class 5A state semifinal against Miami Norland at Harllee Stadium.

n Big Daddy will rock Clancy’s at 10 p.m. Dec. 23 -- bet Santa’s there -- and then help ring in 2012 at Tarpon Point on New Year’s Eve.

n Condolences to Lakewood Ranch’s Bob Delaney on the passing of his dad, Robert D. Delaney, in Toms River, N.J. The senior Delaney was a decorated World War II Navy veteran and a distinguished captain and commander in the New Jersey State Police.

His son followed him as a state trooper, gaining notoriety for his undercover work before embarking on a 25-year career as an NBA referee.

n Ruth Seewer retires Dec. 14 after 31 years with the City of Bradenton.

She was the development review manager in the planning and community development department.

n Condolences also to Tompie Vita, whose father, Joseph J. Busch, passed in Knoxville, Tenn.

n Jessica and Tony Velazquez named daughter Kynnda’s new baby brother Kaden Antonio.

Grands Robert and Linda Boone are proud.

n So long to Saint Stephen’s Athletic Director Dave Samler, who retires Dec. 31 after 33 years at the school, including 31 in athletic administration and coaching.

Vin’s People, is by local columnist Vin Mannix. He can be reached at 941-745-7055, or