Bucs, baby: Dick Vitale impressed by Jameis Winston, Smith
ESPN's Dick Vitale is a man of all sports -- an enthusiastic ambassador for basketball, a regular at Rays games, and on Saturday, a celebrity pick announcer for the Bucs in the fourth round at One Buc Place.
Vitale stopped by the media room after announcing the pick, and said he spent time with Jameis Winston and Donovan Smith at a Lightning playoff game and left very impressed by the two young Bucs.
"He's been a great kid -- I've communicated with him quite a bit since he's been here," Vitale said. "I keep my fingers (crossed). I don't see this kid that people were talking about. I judge people by how they treat me. I will tell you this: he looks in great shape, like he's solid."
Vitale didn't know Smith as well but got to meet him and said he spent much time chatting with his son-in-law Thomas Krug, a circuit court judge.
"What a nice guy he is," Vitale said of the criminal justice major from Penn State. "Jameis said 'He protects me.' (Krug) told me that kid's a left tackle. He's very important to Jameis. He better hang on to that guy."
Winston attended Vitale's annual gala in Sarasota to benefit pediatric cancer research last year and made a strong impression on him there.
"He came to my gala. He was unbelievable with our cancer kids," Vitale said. "He went out of his way to ask me: 'Dick, I'd like to spend a few minutes with the kids.' There were no cameras there or nothing."