Friar Pride

Here at NTCF we like to give our readers a chance to vent their thoughts in post form.  A month ago we had a reader send in a post on The Tiger Solution.  This post comes from a die-hard Providence Friars fan with his thoughts on how this past season went and expectations for the 2011 campaign.

  Another NCAA college basketball season has come to an end for my beloved Providence College Friars.  A season full of excitement, turmoil, enthusiasm, despair, hope, and, dare I say, disappointment.  It was expected that the Friars would struggle this season after losing Geoff McDermott, John Kale, Randall Hanke, Weyinmi Efejuku, Jeff Xavier (and his bodyguard of a brother), and the ever frustrating Charles Burch.  But an influx of young talent that included new recruits Vincent Council, Johnnie Lacy, James Still, Kadeem Batts, and Duke Mondy, as well as JUCO transfers Russ Permenter and Kyle Wright had many of us “Friar Faithfuls” ready to see what Keno Davis (2008 NCAA coach of the year) could do with some young talent.  To accompany the new recruits and JUCO transfers, the Friars had two players coming off of red-shirt years in Jamine Peterson and Bilal Dixon.  Both Peterson and Dixon worked very diligently on their games as well as hitting the weight room during their red-shirt years, and seemed to be ready to make an impact on this revamped Friars team.  The only returning contributors that the Friars had remaining from the 2008-2009 NIT team were Sharaud Curry, Brian McKenzie, Marshon Brooks, and Ray Hall.

              With a starting lineup consisting of Sharaud Curry, Brian McKenzie, Marshon Brooks, Jamine Peterson, and Bilal Dixon, the Friars jumped out to a somewhat shocking 8-4 record heading into Big East play.  But then, I think all of us “Friar Faitfuls” realized truly how young this Friars squad was.  The first three players off of the bench were Vincent Council, Duke Mondy, and James Still (all freshmen).  It was very evident that these young kids were going to have a tough time competing in the deepest conference in the country.  The Friars struggled throughout Big East play, posting a 4-14 conference record.  But, their record does a poor job of summing up the Friars’ season.  One definite sign of a young, inexperienced team is the inability to finish games.  The Friars had second half leads against Louisville, Cincinnati, Marquette, Georgetown, Villanova, Syracuse, USF, and Pittsburgh, but ended up losing all of those games.  Victories in half of those games would have the Friars on the bubble fighting for an NCAA tournament bid right now.  The lack of experience hurt the Friars’ chances this season just as much as terrible defense and inconsistent offense.

              Even though the Friars disappointed many of us this year, all is not lost.  Keno Davis is one of the best recruiters in the nation.  The 2010 recruiting class for the Friars consists of two shooting guards ranked in the ESPNU 100 (Gerard Coleman SG #17 – 94 grade, Joseph Young SG #30 – 93 grade), and a Jamine Peterson-like forward (Ron Giplaye – 88 grade).  Consider this:  Vincent Council made the All Big East freshman team and coming out of high school he was a 91 grade.  As of December, Providence had the 6th highest rated class (according to in the Big East.  A better recruiting class than the likes of Connecticut, Villanova, West Virginia, Cincinatti, and Louisville.  This is arguably the best incoming class to the Friars’ program since the early 90’s, when guys like Michael Smith, Jamel Thomas, and John Linehan were being brought in. 

              It is very easy for radio personnel and Friar fans to jump on the “What is Keno doing?” bandwagon.  Little do these people realize, or fail to recognize that Keno Davis is still working with Tim Welsch’s team.  Curry, Brooks, McKenzie, Peterson, Dixon, and Ray Hall were all Tim Welsch’s recruits.  This new influx of talent (the 2009 and 2010 recruiting classes) are kids that fit into Keno’s system.  They can run, shoot, and even play defense.  Keno Davis’ team at Drake was actually one of the better defensive teams in the country.  His team (built by his father) was constructed very similar to Jay Wright’s Villanova teams.  Small, athletic guards that can shoot lights out, and versatile big men that can play defense against bigger guys, but shoot like guards.  Given time, Keno Davis will have the Providence College basketball program back on track and perennially competing for a top spot in the nation’s best conference.  He has the system, recruiting ability, and work ethic to turn things around. 

              Bright spots on the team such as Jamine Peterson, Vincent Council, and Duke Mondy have me excited for the next season.  Jamine Peterson played well enough to be considered for first team All Big East honors (considering he led the league with 15 double-doubles and posted two 20 rebound games).  As I mentioned earlier, Vincent Council made the All Big East freshman team and improved vastly throughout the course of the season.  Another year of seasoning for the young players currently on the PC roster infused with the incoming talent leads me to believe that within two years this Providence College Friars team will be one of the 25 best teams in the country.


Final Word: Don’t lose faith in the Friars!


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