Be Proud of These Friars

On February 20, Matty sat down and typed a scathing post about the cooleyProvidence Friar men’s basketball team.  Normally, I allow Matty to fly off the cuff every so often on this blog about the Friars.  After reading his piece, I had to respond to his incessant negativity about a team that deserves anything but.  I have known to be down on the Friars over the years.  I have done my fair share of bashing as well.  Ask  me  about Bilal Dixon, Geoff McDermott, or Marcus Douthit and watch my head explode.  This is a season I have been immensely proud to be a Friar Faithful.

If you told me on January 5, 2014 the Providence Friars were going to be on the bubble, looking in on an at large NCAA tournament bid, I would have asked  you about your care giver.  On January 5, the Friars lost to Villanova by 30.  On  January 5, the Friars were 0-2 to start conference play and had lost three games in a row.  On January 5, the Friars knew they would be without Kris Dunn, Brandon Austin, and Rodney Bullock for the rest of the season.

Fast forward to the present.  The Friars are in the middle of the Big East standings.  The Friars are among renowned Bracketologist Joe Lunardi’s “final four in.”  They have gotten to where they are today with essentially six guys. Given all that has happened to the Providence College program this season, what more could a true PC fan ask for?

Before I verbally castrate Matty, let me lay some ground work for some 460xreaders that may be new to NTCF.  Matty was (and still is) a Keno Davis fan.  Let’s let that sink in for a minute.  Matty was actually upset when the Friars first hired Cooley.  Matty will argue Keno’s stop at PC was full of bad luck.  He will also quickly point out Keno beat at the time #1 Pitt at home.  Matty will even argue Keno Davis is partially responsible for PC’s success this season because he recruited Bryce Cotton, Kadeem Batts, Brice Kofane, and Lee Goldsboro.

Matty will ignore Mr. Davis went 46-50 in his three seasons at Providence, did not win a post season game, and two of his recruits currently reside at the Adult Correctional Institution in Cranston, Rhode Island.  Matty will also ignore Keno Davis’s current record at Central Michigan.  I won’t.  He is currently 19-33.

Ed Cooley is 51-41 at Providence.  He took the Friars to the NIT Quarterfinals in his second season with the program.  He has brought top talent to the program (Ricky Ledo, Brandon Austin, Kris Dunn,).  I’ll admit getting them on the floor has been another issue.  My point is, he is putting Providence on the map.

In Matty’s post on February 20, he stated “Bryce Cotton is overrated.”  I always have to remind myself Matty was a helluva middle linebacker in high school.  He took a lot of shots to the head.  Obviously, we are seeing the effects of these shots to the head now.  If it was not for a man named Doug McDermott, Bryce Cotton would be the consensus player of the year in the Big East.  There is no more obvious of a statement than saying Cotton is who makes the Friars go.  Cotton is pouring in 21.5 points a night, handing out 6 assists, and grabbing 3.5 rebounds per contest.  He is also averaging 39.9 minutes a game.  Yeah, Matt. He is so overrated.

Cotton has been the reason the Friars have stayed in games all year long.  He is not a true point guard.  To criticize him like he is would be unfair.  He can create his own shot, he is outstanding in the lane driving to the basket, and he has eyes all around his head.  I don’t know why I am still arguing this point.  If anything the point has been belabored.  Bryce Cotton has been outstanding all season long.

Next, Matty came after Josh Fortune.  This is another unfair criticism.  Now, bildedo not get me wrong, I get upset with Fortune at times as well.  But on the whole, Fortune has improved leaps and bounds from a season ago.  Last season when he was on the floor, it was a 4 on 5 game.  As of late Fortune has emerged as a lethal outside shooter.  This is an element PC sorely needs in order to help free Bryce Cotton a bit more.  Hopefully, Fortune can make the next step going into next season.  I would like to see him take better care of the ball.  As far as this season is concerned, I have been pleasantly surprised by his development.

All of the Tyler Harris hate is tired and old.  Matty wants this kid’s scholarship revoked.  Harris is basically a freshman.  He played in 19 games averaging just 14 minutes for NC State in his true freshman year.  I do not understand piling on copious amounts of criticism on a kid.  I could understand if he was an upper classmen.  He is not.  He has not had a chance to gain the experience necessary to prevent him from making dumb mistakes.  The kid has boat loads of talent.  I believe Tyler Harris will be a stud in a Providence uniform one day.  This is his year to learn and to make mistakes.  He is still a vital part to the PC attack.  Calling for a scholarship revocation is as ignorant as it gets.

To switch gears, I wonder if Matty has watched any games this season.  HeKadeem Batts has Kadeem Batts up on some sort of pedestal.  I can’t understand it.  Yes, lasts season Kadeem was great.  He was so great, I honestly believed he would be at the very least a 2nd round pick in the NBA draft. This season, Kadeem has done his best Jeff Green impression.  He has been the epitome of inconsistency.  One night he has 18 and 10.  The next he completely disappears, has horrible shot selection, and gets bullied in the post.  Kadeem gets the brunt of my criticism this season.  In the same breath, I believe he is the key to the rest of the season.  As Kadeem goes, so to will the Friars.

The Friars should go 2-1 to finish the season.  They should beat Seton Hall and Marquette.  They have no chance of beating Creighton on McDermott’s senior night. If they can win at least one game in the Big East Tournament, they should make the NCAA’s.  With the way the season has gone, that is a massive accomplishment and a giant step for the program.

Follow me on Twitter @ScottieNTCF

Scottie’s 2014 NBA Draft Big Board: Edition 2

Two weeks ago, I presented my Boston Celtics “Big Board.”  Not much has changed in two weeks regarding the Celtics.  They stood pat at the trade deadline much to the chagrin of many.  If I was Danny Ainge, I would have done everything possible to move Jeff Green.  His inconsistency is maddening.  I do not see him as a piece that could contribute in a rebuild.  To a lesser extent, I would have liked to move Brandon Bass.    The bottom line is the Celtics did nothing.   They still have two first round picks in the upcoming draft.  At the time of this writing if the ping pong balls fall true, the Celtics will have the 4th and 15th pick in the 2014 draft.  Here is my updated “Big Board”

1) Jabari Parker, Duke

2) Joel Embiid, Kansas

3) Andrew Wiggins, Kansas

4) Rodney Hood, Duke

I have watched Hood play a few times since my last post.  I love what this kid brings to the table.  He is a long, 6’8, has a nice mid range jumper, and can drive to the basket.  His length will most definitely bother the opposition.

5) Julius Randle, Kentucky

6) Tyler Ennis, Syracuse

Yes, Ennis’s half court shot to beat Pittsburgh was impressive. Also, lucky.  I have moved Ennis up in the rankings due to the chance the Celtics could deal Rondo in the off-season.  None of Ennis’s stats will pop off the score book at you, but he is a solid young point guard who I could envision the Celtics building around.

7)  Dante Exum, Austrailia

8) Noah Vonleh, Indiana

9) Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State

10) Doug McDermott, Creighton

11) Kyle Anderson, UCLA

I am praying Anderson slips to the Celtics for their second pick of the draft.  I thought Rodney Hood has length.  Anderson is much longer.  He also can handle the ball like a point guard.  He is averaging 14, 9, and 7.  Those numbers are off the charts.  He is a do it all swing man the Celtics need to put aside Rondo and Sullinger.  I’d much rather have Kyle Anderson than Jeff Green in a rebuild.

12) Gary Harris, Michigan State

13) James Young, Kentucky

14) Jordan Clarkson, Missouri

15) Jerami Grant, Syracuse

16) Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky

17) Zach LaVine, UCLA

18) Aaron Gordon, Arizona

19) Montrezl Harrell, Louisville

20) TJ Warren, North Carolina State

21) Adreian Payne, Michigan State

22) Dario Saric, Croatia

23) Markel Brown, Oklahoma State

24) Terran Petteway, Nebraska

25) Semaj Christon, Xavier

26) PJ Hairston, D-League

Hairston is lighting up the D-League to the tune of 35 points a night.  This opens up the question: Could the Florida Gators, Kansas Jayhawks, or Duke Blue Devils beat a D-League team?

27) CJ Fair, Syracuse

28) Chris Walker, Florida

29) James McAdoo, North Carolina

30) Johnny O’Bryant, LSU

No one has O’ Bryant as high in a mock draft as I do.  Some may even have him undrafted.  I love he was able to go for 20 and 12 against the bigs of Kentucky.  He is a solid big body.  Serviceable big men do not grow on trees in the NBA.

Mattyoshow’s PC Friars Mumbles: 2.20.24 Edition

For all of the Oshow followers out there, I’m going to give you a heads up before you start reading this post. I’m not happy with what’s been going down in Friartown lately, so if you’re ready to read some crap about how the Villanova loss didn’t matter because they played hard than you’re in the wrong place. Here’s what’s been running through my head about the PC Friars over the past few weeks…

-Here’s one way to start a post: Bryce Cotton is overrated. Yup, I said it. He may go unnoticed nationally, but he’s overrated locally. Yes, Bryce can score, but so could Marshon. Yes, Bryce made the Sportscenter top 10 a couple of nights ago, but so did Rob Sanders back in his day. As a point guard, Bryce Cotton just isn’t that good. When the offense runs through him, it’s stagnant. When we need to convert a big bucket, he rarely makes the right decision. When we should work the ball down low, he takes a deep three. When we need a deep three, Bryce forces a pass down low. Yes, there are more problems on this team than Bryce Cotton, but in my eyes, he is one of them.

-I really started to think that Josh Fortune was turning a corner. He has been much more efficient offensively over the past several games. He was making better decisions with the ball, and working harder to get open off of the ball. He was even asserting himself defensively. And then Josh Fortune committed 7 turnovers in Tuesday’s game against Villanova, threw away two critical passes in double overtime, and officially earned himself a permanent spot on my shit list…right next to Marshon Brooks and Joe Young.

-Tyler Harris should have his scholarship revoked. All I keep hearing from Scottie and his other bandwagon buddies is that Harris is still young and he’s essentially a freshman because he didn’t really play in his first season at NC State. Guess what…I don’t care. His basketball IQ is about as good as Scottie’s knowledge base about anything sports related (which is essentially 0)! The kid just can’t make a good decision. I’m sick of his juvenile shit. Revoke the scholarship and get him outta town!

-Kadeem Batts is the best NBA prospect on this team. The guy battles down low. He’s finally learned how to utilize his body and girth underneath. He has a pretty good mid range jumper which has only improved over the past 4 years. Kadeem is the real deal and I hope he starts to get some looks in the league.

-Lee Goldsbrough is about as useful as a piece of gum on the bottom of your shoe in the middle if August.

-Brice Kofane isn’t much better.

-I don’t really understand Carson Desrosiers’ lack of playing time. I know he gets himself into foul trouble on occasion. However, you can’t tell me that he isn’t more useful than Tyler Harris. At least Carson tries to play defense. I say we put Desrosiers in the starting 5, bump everyone down a spot and really start to limit Tyler Harris’ minutes.

-If the Friars want any shot at the tournament they need to win out and then make some waves in the Big East tournament. However, with how PC plays on the road, it’s much more likely that they shit their pants over the next 4 games and miss the NIT.
-I’ve always considered myself and optimist when it came to the Friars. Ask anyone. Talk to Scottie. Talk to my fellow friar faithful CV. I’ve always thought that the Friars could win every game that they’ve played. Yet, this team has sucked the life outta me. I’m done with PC basketball. The constant crushing defeats have worn me out. I just can’t do it anymore…

25 NBA Players I’d Rather Have on My Team Than Carmelo Anthony

When the 2013-2014 NBA season concludes, Carmelo Anthony is expected to opt out of his current contract hitting the carmelounrestricted free agent market.  Anthony is expected to get a “max contract.” In the case of Carmelo Anthony he will get either $14 million a year or he will sign for 105% of his previous contract.  My brother sent me an email recently detailing his thoughts about Carmelo Anthony:

“Over the years, I have seen players like him.  Produces big numbers and is on a weak team or wrong team at wrong time.  For whatever reason, just does not have the planets align for a winning career.  Not sure what happened in Denver, but that was a better place for him than NY.  I am going to say something bold, under the microscope in NY, you know what, he is not that good a b-ball PLAYER.  He has a limited and talented skill set (tough match up and can score).  But, cannot pass, rebound, defend, help defend, block shots or handle the ball.  So when you see him all the time, his flaws are glaring.  Great scorer, fantastic scorer – not great player.  Make sense?”

As you know by now, I detest Syracuse.  Haven’t liked Melo since those days.  I have always argued he is the most overrated player in the NBA.  It usually falls on deaf ears and people think I am an idiot.  His two career accomplishments are winning a national championship (in which Gerry McNamara and Hakim Warrick played prominent roles) and he was outstanding in the last summer Olympics.  But he had quite the supporting cast.  Off the top of my head I could name 25 players I’d rather have on my team than Carmelo Anthony.  He slows down offenses because he needs the ball in his hands to be effective.  Does not move without the ball.

Being a man of my word, here are 25 players currently in the NBA I would rather have on my team than Carmelo Anthony:

1) Kevin Durantuntitled

2) LeBron James

3) Kevin Love

4) Chris Paul

5) Tim Duncan

6) James Harden

7) DeMarcus Cousins

8) Stephen Curryuntitled

9) Anthony Davis

10) Dirk Nowitzki

11) Paul George

12) LaMarcus Aldridge

13) Damian Lillard

14) Dwight Howard

15) Russell Westbrook

16) Kobe Bryant

17) Blake Griffin

18) Dwayne Wade

19) David Lee

20) John Wallimages

21) Rajon Rondo

22) Al Jefferson

23) Kyrie Irving

24) DeMar DeRozan

25) Paul Milsap

Yes, I realize Carmelo is 2nd in the league in scoring behind The Slim Reaper at 27.2 a night.  Yes, I realize Melo gets close to 9 rebounds a night.  All of that is just fine and dandy.  At the end of the day, the Knicks are still 20-31 and going nowhere as a franchise so long as Carmelo suits up for them.

Follow me on Twitter @ScottieNTCF

Scottie’s 2014 NBA Draft Big Board: Edition 1

Despite the recent run of wins for the Celtics (outside of their loss to the Mavericks), it is clear they are going to be in the draft lottery this season.  Going into the season, I realized the Celtics were headed into the lottery.  With that knowledge I decided I would watch more college basketball (more than just Providence and Texas) than I would watch the Celtics.  I’ve occasionally watched the Celtics to see the development of players like Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk.  I’ve watched to see how Rajon Rondo’s comeback from knee surgery has gone.  Danny Ainge will have multiple first round picks in the NBA Draft this season.  He may have more by the time the trade deadline comes and goes.  With all of that in mind, here is my “Big Board.”  This is the order I would select the projected draft pool as if the Celtics had 30 first round picks.  I will reserve comment on each player in this article.  In future articles, I may comment where I feel necessary.

Please understand, I do not watch International basketball.  The foreigners I have listed are listed because of what I have read about them. I have never seen Dante Exum or Dario Saric play.  I am going by what I have read.  I have also loaded the list with front court prospects.  I believe Rondo is in Danny Ainge’s master plan for the Celtics’ future.  You will see I have guys like Tyler Ennis and Zach LaVine further down the list than most draft “experts.”

1) Jabari Parker, Dukencb_g_jabari-parker_mb_400

2) Joel Embiid, Kansas

3) Andrew Wiggins, Kansas

4) Julius Randle, Kentucky

5) Noah Vonleh, Indiana

6) Dante Exum, Australia

7) James Young, Kentucky

8) Rodney Hood, Duke

9) Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State

10) Gary Harris, Michigan State

11) Doug McDermott, Creighton

12) Aaron Gordon, Arizona

13) Jerami Grant, Syracuse

14) Jordan Clarkson, Missouri

15) Kyle Anderson, UCLAKyle+Anderson+Arizona+v+UCLA+ehlGZY_tppMl

16) Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky

17) Zach LaVine, UCLA

18) Adreian Payne, Michigan State

19) Tyler Ennis, Syracuse

20) Dario Saric, Croatia

21) TJ Warren, North Carolina State

22) CJ Fair, Syracuse

23) Semaj Christon, Xavier

24) James McAdoo, North Carolina

25) Montrezl Harrell, Louisville

26) Markel Brown, Oklahoma State

27) Glenn Robinson III, Michigan

28) PJ Hairston, North Carolina (D-League)

29) Johnny O’Bryant, LSU

30) Chris Walker, Florida

ON TWITTER: @SCOTTIENTCF

Super Bowl XLVIII: Scottie vs. Mattyoshow

My fanship got the best of me last week, as I went with the Pats to beat the Broncos.  Meanwhile, Scottie went with his brain and picked up the win in that matchup.  On the week, Scottie went 2-0 with 24 confidence points.  I, on the other hand, went 1-1 with 16 confidence points. For the playoffs, Scottie is 7-3 with 46 confidence points, while I am 6-4 with 37 confidence points.  Considering that the Super Bowl is worth 16 confidence points, our playoff battle comes down to the Super Bowl for the 3rd consecutive season.  Let’s do it…

Denver vs. Seattlerichard-sherman-peyton-manning

Scottie: Seattle

Sorry, Matty I am going to continue to go with my brain.  Sure I can make this whole thing a lot more interesting but the truth is I don’t see Denver winning this one.  I am looking forward to seeing Richard Sherman cover Demaryius Thomas all day.  I am also a little tired of Wes Welker.  Before he came to New England, he was a nobody who middled around the Chargers and Dolphins organizations returning punts.  Bill Belichick and Tom Brady made him.  I would be okay with him if he took the high road and recognized what Belichick did for him instead of engage in this mini cat fight.  Much like Matty says below, the thought of rooting for Peyton Manning nauseates me.  Unlike the Patriots the Seahawks will stick with their strategy of running the ball down Denver’s throat.  The Terrance Knighton vs. Marshawn Lynch matchup will be an interesting one.   I am not looking forward to rooting for Pete Carroll on Sunday but he is the lesser of two evils.

Mattyoshow: SeattleUnknown

I’m going with the Seahawks for two primary reasons in Super Bowl XLVIII.  First, I can’t stand Peyton Manning and it would just piss me off if he won another Super Bowl.  Second, the Seahawks’ defense matches up amazingly with the Broncos’ offense.  Let me break it down for you.  The two keys to success against a Peyton Manning led team are 1: pressure him without having to blitz, and 2: jamming his receivers to throw off his timing.  Seattle possesses the ability to do both of those things.  Their cornerbacks are big and physical, which will cause problems for Thomas, Decker, and Welker.  I think Seattle will focus their efforts on slowing down Denver’s two outside wide receivers and then just plan on punishing Welker and Julius Thomas whenever they catch the ball.  Offensively, Seattle can control the clock with Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson will come up big.

Mattyoshow: Broncos

Well, Scottie is gonna be an ass and pick the same team as me, so I’m going with the Broncos just to potentially get a win.

Thank You Evan Turner! Welcome to Tankapalooza Part 2

Last night, Evan Turner beat the buzzer in traffic with less than a second left to beat the Boston Celtics 95-94.  Under jpegnormal circumstances, I’d view this as a crushing defeat.  But with the way the NBA is set up, the Celtics thrived in their biggest game of the season.  They took the Philadelphia 76ers down to the wire and lost the game.  As a true Celtics fan, it was the absolute best outcome one could ask for.  Going into last night’s game, the Celtics were a half game better than the 76ers in the standings.  Losing to the Sixers put the Celtics in better position to acquire more ping-pong balls for the draft lottery.  The Celtics now have the third best chance to acquire the #1 pick in the 2014 draft.  The other caveat in losing to the Sixers, is the potential of getting their 2014 1st round pick.  Every Celtic fan should be rooting for the Sixers to win as many games as possible.  If the Sixers make the playoffs, the Celtics will have three first round picks.

Earlier in the week, I wrote about the players available for the Celtics should they land a top 5 pick.  In this installment of “Welcome to Tankapalooza” I will look at the potential players available with the pick the Celtics acquired from Brooklyn in the Pierce-Garnett deal.  I will also throw a trade idea out there I read about from Adrian Wojnarowski.  My post from earlier in the week can be found here: http://ntcf.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/goodbye-past-hello-future-welcome-to-tankapalooza-part-1/

If the season ended today, the Celtics would have the 20th pick of the first round from Brooklyn.  Brooklyn has recovered from their woeful start of the season and have won 8 of their last 10.  There is reason to believe they have “figured it out.”  I believe the Celtics will be picking between 20-25.  Here are three guys who may be available around that time in the draft I’d be interested in.

Willie Cauley-Stein  7.6 PPG  6.8 RPG 3.2 BPG031513_UK_Vandy_0203-1

Cauley-Stein patrols the paint for the University of Kentucky Wildcats.  As you can see by his 3.2 blocks per game, he does a terrific job of protecting the rim.  Cauley-Stein is 7’0  244 pounds.  His offense lacks polish, but make no mistake about it, Cauley-Stein will be a terrific defender for the Celtics.  I believe he can fill the enforcer role left vacant with the departures of Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Garnett.  The added bonus Cauley-Stein brings to the table is his ability to run the floor like a gazelle.  Surely, Rondo is salivating at the idea of having a fellow Wildcat on the Celtics roster that possesses the skills of Cauley-Stein.

Aaron Gordon  12.0 PPG  7.9 RPG  1.5 APG

Gordon is a 6’9 freshman from the University of Arizona.  Like Cauley-Stein, he runs the court extremely well and is an absolute freak of an athlete.  Much like Cauley-Stein his offensive skill set is not much to write home about.  He gets the majority of his points by running on the fast break and catching alley-oops.  Much like Cauley Stein, he would be a great running mate for Rondo.  Gordon is far from a finished product and Celtics fans would have to be patient with his development.  But the tools are there.

James Young  14.7 PPG  4.5 RPG 2.0 APG

Young is a 6’6 shooting guard/ small forward out of Kentucky.  I watched him light up Providence in the beginning of the season for 18 points, shooting 3 of 4 from long-range.  Young has the ability to get red-hot as evidenced by some of his point totals this season: 26, 21, 26, 23, and 23.  He is only shooting 33% from three however.  Regardless, I believe James Young will blossom into a solid NBA player.  I would love to see him do so wearing Celtic Green.

Earlier in this post I mentioned a rumored trade that I believe would net Danny Ainge the Executive of the Year jeff-green-dunkAward in the NBA.  The Phoenix Suns have 6 first round picks in the next 2 drafts.  They are currently 6th in the Western Conference.  The Suns could use a wing player to compliment Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe (when he returns from injury).  Enter Jeff Green.  Green would fit the bill perfectly for the Suns.  He is a role player would have the ability to break out from time to time.  There is also an outside chance the Suns would be willing to take on Gerald Wallace also.  Phoenix would give up 1 of their 2014 first round picks and Emeka Okafor’s expiring contract.  If that were to happen, the Celtics would open up a ton of room under the salary cap allowing them to make a run at big name free agents this summer.

So there it is.  The recipe to get the Celtics back into title contention.  Open up cap room and acquire draft picks.  With a little help from Phoenix and Philadelphia, Celtics fans may only have to root against their team just this season.  The Celtics have the chance to be quite good for quite some time.

I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.