Ladies and gentlemen, it feels good to be back! After a year of grinding through a doctoral program, I figured the best way to spend my summer was to drop some more knowledge on the NTCF faithful. I realize that due to the lull in new material from NTCF, we may have lost the vast majority of our readers, but for those who stuck with it and for those that have just discovered NTCF, your dedication is appreciated!
Now, to the matter at hand, my beloved Providence College Friars. There is excitement already building throughout Friar Nation with the news the PC and now second year head coach Ed Cooley have brought in the 6th ranked recruiting class in the nation to Friartown for the 2012 NCAA Basketball Season. Along with the incoming frosh, coach Cooley and staff have enticed a few transfers to sign with PC, further propelling the excitement surround PC basketball. With all of this news and enthusiasm, I find myself being a bit more pessimistic than most. What is all this excitement really about, and is it even warranted? Hear me out…
Rumors have been flying (from multiple sources) that both Kris Dunn and Ricardo Ledo won’t even be suiting up for
the black and white this fall. Dunn injured his shoulder while working out for the USA under 18 squad, which resulted in him obviously not making the team. Ledo’s academic struggles supposedly continue, therefore putting his eligibility status in question. My fellow blogger Scottie took to Twitter over the past day or so to air what he had been hearing, and was met by some pretty severe backlash, with the most criticism coming from PC play-by-play man John Rooke! Whether the rumors are true or not, I can’t say that I’m 100% confident that Dunn and Ledo will be contributors this season until I see them in uniform.
As for the other two recruits, how much were they really expected to contribute? Word is that Ian Baker has yet to sign an official LOI (Letter of Intent), and even if he jumps aboard, he will be competing for playing time behind Council, Dunn (if he’s still alive), and possibly Kiwi Gardner. Fortune has the reputation of being able to put the ball in the hoop from anywhere on the court, but the question remaining is how much court time will he actually see? The 2-guard spot is loaded, with expected starter Bryce Cotton, and incoming freshman Dunn, and Ledo all competing for time there. It is also expected that with Dunn working at the point, Council would get some time at the 2-guard spot. If the rumors prove to be true and Ledo and Dunn are out for 2012-2013, then obviously Baker and Fortune will get some more floor time. Then, you start running into the same issues it seems PC has faced over the last 3-4 years, how productive are freshman really in the Big East? Yes, I know LaDontae Henton had a huge season last year, but LaDontae’s don’t come around very often.
As for all of the excitement surrounding the incoming transfers, I think it may be a little overblown. Sidiki Johnson was a big name guy coming out of high school. He has size (6’9” 230 lbs) and allegedly a decent post-game. That being said, if the kid was ready to play why did he only log 7 minutes at Arizona! He was dismissed for a violation of team policy, so maybe it wasn’t his skill level that limited his playing time and it was off the court stuff. But, even so, why are we trying to build our program around guys that can’t even last a semester at one school? Tyler Harris is another guy that presents similar issues. He doesn’t have the off the court baggage that Sidiki brings, but the kid logged 7 minutes a night for NC State. Yes, he has size and athleticism, but why couldn’t he be a more consistent contributor on a team that wasn’t very deep last season?
The one transfer I do love is Carson Desrosiers. This kid is big, has experience, and can protect the rim. Desrosiers was already 4th all time in Wake Forest history in blocked shots after only 2 seasons! He will hopefully be someone that Brice Kofane can learn a thing or two from and help improve his game. The only downside to the Desrosiers commitment is that he can’t play until the 2013-2014 season, along with Harris; while Sidiki can play starting in the second semester this season.
The last thing I wanted to touch upon was the rumors surround Billy Baron and his transfer to Providence. Baron would probably be able to play this season if he transferred to PC because his dad was fired as the URI coach while he was there (see Trey Zeigler, Central Michigan). As I mentioned previously, if everyone that is eligible to play this season does play, the backcourt is loaded (Council, Dunn, Ledo, Gardner, Cotton, Fortune, Baker). PC’s interest in Baron further fuels the speculation that either Ledo, Dunn, or both could be watching games from the bench this season.
The point of this post wasn’t to eliminate your enthusiasm for the 2012-2013 season. The point was simply to make you take a step back and examine the moves PC make a little more closely. I love the direction Ed Cooley is taking this team and am a huge fan of every recruit they have gotten commitments from so far. That being said, the 2012-2013 season could look a little more like 2011-2012 than we all were expecting.