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

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…

Mattyoshow’s PC Friars Mumbles – 1.26.14 Edition

I’m stealing a little bit of Scottie’s style here.  Actually, I’m completely jacking one of Scottie’s classic posts.  I have a lot of thoughts on what’s been going on in Friartown lately, but don’t really have time to review every single game like I did in my younger years.  Therefore, when the thoughts start piling up and I get some free time, I’m going to throw out some Friars mumbles to clear my mind.  Let’s do it…

-I’ve been seeing a lot of negative stuff on social media over the past several weeks about Ed Cooley, stemming from the Brandon Austin and Rodney Bullock suspension.  Some people were even going back to last year and throwing Ricky Ledo into the mix.  People were knocking coach Ed Cooley for recruiting these guys that don’t even end up playing for the team.  Let’s get one thing straight here.  Ed Cooley is the best thing that has happened to Providence since Ryan Gomes was leaving his shoes at half court.  Cooley has recruited more talent over the past 3 years than Providence has seen in over a decade.  Providence didn’t rule Ricky Ledo ineligible, the NCAA did.  Ed Cooley’s job is to recruit really good basketball players, give them the tools to succeed as basketball players and as students, and then hope that these kids follow through.  It isn’t Ed Cooley’s job to babysit 24/7.  He holds them accountable. That’s all.  Be happy we can be excited about the recruits that he brings in, because we are a long ways from getting excited about recruits like Alex Kellogg and Brice Kofane.

-The student section at PC absolutely sucks.  How can you not come out to support your team when the coach basically begs you to come watch them play, but then complain that your best player isn’t getting any love from the national media?  It doesn’t make sense.  If you want to be a Friar faithful, and jump on the bandwagon come tournament time, SUPPORT YOUR TEAM ALL SEASON!  I live in Boston and have been to more games than 99% of these scrubs!

-I can’t decide who pisses me off more, Tyler Harris or Josh Fortune.  Combined, their basketball IQ is around 85.  When 100 is the norm, you know there are issues.  Scouting report on Tyler Harris:  Gets the ball and either shoots or drives left.  If you stand in front of him he will run you over and you’ll draw the charge.  If you pressure him, he’ll make a bad pass or take a bad shot.  Scouting report of Josh Fortune: has no idea what he is doing on a basketball court, can get hot from 3, but if he has the ball in his hand he will throw it away 95% of the time.  Watching these guys play is painful.

-Kadeem Batts is a man, and might be a more interesting NBA prospect than Bryce Cotton.

-Bryce Cotton was left off the Wooden Award (best college basketball player) mid-season list.  Do I think that he should have been on there? Yes, absolutely.  Do I care that he was left off?  No, absolutely not.  I don’t care if Bryce gets recognized for what he is doing for this team, I just care that we are winning games.

-Side note: when Bryce is our best player in a game, we aren’t nearly as good as when guys like Batts and Henton are getting the job done.

-Kris Dunn deserves a medical hardship waiver for missing nearly the entire season this year and nearly half of the season last year.  For the Friars’ sake, seeing Dunn around for another three years would be much nicer than him leaving in two.

-Ever since the Villanova game, the Friars are doing a much better job of moving the ball offensively.  I think that is a huge key to the team’s success.  When they go big (Batts and Desrosiers down low), they have a size advantage over nearly every team in the Big East.  They need to exploit that advantage.  Working the inside out game is much more effective for the Friars than passing it around the three point line until something opens up.

-Speaking of Desrosiers, is it just me or does it seem like

he doesn’t get enough consistent playing time.  I don’t get it.  Why is Cooley throwing Desrosiers in there for like 3 minutes at a time and then pulling him for Goldsbrough, or putting Batts back in?  Leave the big man in there and let him get in a rhythm.  If we want Carson to be a more consistent offensive player, he needs to actually play!

-Every good basketball team needs a Ted Bancroft.

-Every good basketball team needs to rid themselves of useless big men (Goldsbrough and Kofane).

That is all for this edition of the Friars mumbles.  Stay tuned for more in the future!

Brother to Brother: Episode 3

In this edition of Brother to Brother, I present the topics, and Big Bro responds.  My comments will be in regular font.  Steve’s will be in italics.  Please note: My comments were made January 21.  Steve took some time responding.  His comments were made January 23.

In this edition we talk about the Patriots season, top 10 Friars we have seen play, Jeff Green, and various other topics!

1) The Patriots have no reason to be upset with the season they had.  They lost to the better team on Sunday.  To be honest, I expected them to get walloped to the tune of 42-24 or so.  I still believe the Patriots can make another run next year because there is no clear cut team in the AFC ready to make the next step.  Keep in mind the Pats will be healthy coming into next season.  All in all you might be able to say the Pats overachieved this season.  Still hurts to lose to Peyton though.untitled

Pats –  Great season.  Something very difficult for NE fans to keep in perspective.  The Pats have been to the AFC Championship 8 times and 6 Super Bowls in the last 20 years, plus amazing winning percentage.  Pats fans are spoiled because of all the success.  Think of the following teams:  Browns, Bills, Jags, Texans, Cowboys, Lions, Dolphins, Bengals, Raiders, Bucs, Redskins, .  Cowboys have not won a playoff game in 20 years.  Think about that.  They had a great season and the future looks bright.  You could make the argument that their off-season acquisitions will be the return of injured players (Wilfork, Kelly, Armstead, Mayo, Talib, 3 rookie receivers, full season of Vereen, Gronk, Amendola at full health).  I read they were the second youngest team in the NFL.  Health was the biggest factor for them.  I also saw that Amendola should have been on season ending IR in Oct, maybe people will give him a break, he must be tough.

2) Everyone is bashing Richard Sherman.  You know I like to stick up for the guy everyone hates.  Let’s be honest, his cough adrenaline cough was flying high after the biggest play of the season to send his team to the Super Bowl.  You interview him 10-15 minutes after that play on the field?  He is still emotional.  Everyone knows his history.  Of course that outburst was going to happen.  He was jacked up.  And I have no problem with it.  I like seeing emotion a lot more than the usual “yes man” athlete.  I thought it was fantastic to see the unadulterated emotion.

 Sherman – Ehhh, an example of a non-story becoming a story.  Wow, an NFL player talked trash, gee I never saw such a thing.

3)Eddie Cooley has the Friars at “first 4 out” in the latest Bracketology.  Amazing he has the team this competitive with the adversity the team has faced this season.  He is basically playing 6 guys.  Bryce Cotton has played 50 minutes twice this season.  Cooley has said he will come out of the game when he graduates.  Cotton has crept into the 10 top Friars I have ever seen.  I know my list will vary greatly from yours but here it is.  1) Eric Murdock 2) Austin Croshere 3) Eric Williams 4) Ryan Gomes 5) Michael Smith 6) John Linehan 7) Bryce Cotton 8) Dickey Simpkins 9) MarShon Brooks 10) Jamel Thomas.untitled

Friars – In no particular order – Billy Donovan, Eric Murdock, Soup Campbell, Otis Thorpe, Eric Williams, Ryan Gomes, Austin Croshere, Ron Jackson, Joe Hassett, Michael Smith.  Ask Dad if he remembers Ron Jackson.  They very best were before my time:  Ernie D, Marvin Barnes and Jimmy Walker.  Special note to Marty Conlon, became a solid NBA player, but no one saw that coming.  And special note to Harold Starks, the greatest energy, defense first guy they ever had.

4) The Longhorns had a big win over #8 Iowa State the same day PC beat #20 Creighton.  Our squads are looking up?  Frankly, Iowa State is a one and done candidate come March.  I don’t think they get out of the first round.  After PC beat Creighton, Creighton turned around and smacked #4 Villanova by 30.  Too bad the transitive property doesn’t pertain to college basketball. Keep in mind Nova smashed PC by 30.

Longhorns & Barnes – Crazy program.  It is obviously a football school, but he has built a great basketball program.  The team is 2-3 recruits away from being very, very good.  Problem is when they get the talent, they are not around long.  But something to think about, here is a list and again in no particular order of the guys UT/Barnes has placed in the NBA.  TJ Ford, Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge, Avery Bradley, Cory Joseph, DJ Augustin, Daniel Gibson, Jordan Hamilton, Dexter Pittman, Royal Ivey, Damion Jones, Tristan Thompson, PJ Tucker, Chris Mihm.

5) It is time to explore trade options for Jeff Green.  The Celtics are in a complete rebuild mode.  Green is a fringe player.  He has shown signs of being a top dog in the NBA, other times he completely disappears.  I don’t see him as a guy that can lead a team anywhere.  Remember the old line Bobby Knight used referring to Steve Alford?  That applies to Green.  The Celtics should rebuild around Rondo and Sullinger.  I compare Sullinger to Charles Barkley.  Both are undersized power forwards, who have a knack for cleaning the glass.  Sullinger is trying to develop some range similar to Kevin Love.  As long as his back holds up, Sullinger can be a great guy to build around.  Remember he was supposed to be a #1 overall pick after his freshman year but he stayed in school.  Time to trade Green for a first round pick somewhere.untitled

Jeff Green – Dropped 39 last night.  I still go back to my comments last year during the playoffs.  This is a guy who has been Option #3 for most of his career. He is an outstanding athlete, but does not have the instinct for selfish play and may not be a natural leader.  That is not a bad thing, when you think of the alternative, which is someone who wants to lead but can’t or sends the wrong message.  Also, you cannot have a locker room full of so-called self-appointed leaders, then you have nothing, sometimes having no drama guys who follow is a great thing to have.  Ainge actually did a good job with him from a contract standpoint.  He did not overpay.  I would rather have Green and his contract than Wallace and his contract.

6) Now that the Patriots season is over, the focus in the region will be the Bruins.  The Bruins are in second in the Eastern Conference, 5 points behind Pittsburgh.  They could be in trouble come playoff time because they lost Dennis Seidenberg for the season to an ACL injury.  The defensive pairing of Chara and Seidenberg has completely shut down high-flying offenses in years past.  Seidenberg might be the most underrated athlete in Boston.

Bruins – I have to do a better job following hockey.  My lack of hockey knowledge is apparent.

7)The Olympic break is one of the more interesting conundrums in sports.  Hockey owners must hate sending their best players to Sochi.  The beauty of the Olympic hockey is hockey players are a different breed. Cam Neely said it best when asked why the hockey players compete in the Olympics and do everything they can to win (as opposed to NBA players who coast through these competitions) “because they don’t know any better.”  The Olympics will serve as the true All Star Games fans want to see.

Olympics – Ehhh, used to love it, now it just feels like a pre-cursor to Campbell’s soup commercials and Wheaties boxes for the lucky winner.

8)Not much news on the Red Sox.  I am praying the Mets sign Stephen Drew so Xander and Middlebrooks will not have to look over their shoulder and have their development stunted by Drew.  The Grady Sizemore deal is reminiscent of when the Red Sox signed Rocco Baldelli.  Low risk/ high reward.  He offers competition for the center field spot with Jackie Bradley Jr.  I can’t honestly say I am expecting anything from him.imagesCAUU54PH

Red Sox –  Grady Sizemore!  Way to go all out Cherrington.  Reminds me of when Sinden ran the Bruins knowing they would always make money so never signed the talent to get to the Cup.  Although, I think the Sox really learned their lesson with Crawford/Gonzo signings.  They saw the burden those contracts might present, the animosity of the fans when they don’t perform.  Boston fans would rather have guys killing themselves to prove themselves, than guys who get  paid a lot to demonstrate apathy with W-L.  Boston fans can handle losing, if they know the players hate losing.  If they think the players are rich guys who could care less, it gets ugly.

Peter Vescey follows me on Twitter and you should too @ScottieNTCF.

Friars First Half Recap

The Providence College Friars men’s basketball team has reached the midpoint of their 2013-2014 campaign.  Their record stands at 11-5 overall and 1-2 in conference play.  For what seems to be the norm around Providence, the main stories of the season are what’s going on off the court instead of on.

Top recruit Brandon Austin and Rodney Bullock were suspended for the season shortly before the new year for an off campus untitledincident the school has tight-lipped about.  Austin promptly transferred to Oregon joining another ex-Friar top commit  that never played a game for the Friars in Joseph Young.  If Friar fans want a glimpse of what could have been, keep an eye on the Oregon program.   Bullock has stayed at Providence and will likely let the suspension play out and be eligible to play in games next season.

Another of Ed Cooley’s highly touted recruits, Kris Dunn  is also out for the season with a shoulder injury.  Dunn injured his shoulder before the start of his freshman season last year.  He missed 10 games last season.  Dunn played in just four games this season and should be eligible for a medical red-shirt, allowing him to not lose a year of eligibility.  There is concern, however, about Dunn’s status with the school overall because he has not been seen with the team over the winter break.  He has chosen to stay at home in New Haven over the break.  If Dunn had been healthy, I strongly believe the Friars beat UMASS and Seton Hall.  The Kentucky game also would have played a bit differently.

On the court, the Friars have put forth solid effort in every game this season with the exception of the 30 point loss to Villanova.  Coach Cooley has referred to that game as the worst game he has had at Providence.  He will not find an argument from me.  I have been encouraged by the play of the Friars, especially with the realization they are undermanned night in and night out.  Losing three guys in half a season puts a lot of strain on the active roster.

Bryce Cotton is averaging 38.6 minutes a game.  He has played 6 games where has played 40 minutes or more.  He has scored in untitleddouble figures in all but 1 game this season, and put up at least 20 points in 10 games.  He is without question the team MVP.  Kadeem Batts has struggled most of the season.  The 5th year senior seemed to have lost his shooting touch.  He has also been bullied on the defensive end of the floor in a few games this season.  I was encouraged with how he played against Georgetown.  If he can start getting back to the way he was playing his junior season, the Friars season may not be lost after all.

Transfers Tyler Harris and Carson Desroisers have played pivotal roles for the Friars this season.  Harris is a poor man’s Tayshaun Prince with a massive wingspan.  He is averaging 13 points and 5 boards a night.  Harris has become the 2nd option in the offense behind Cotton.  I am excited to see Harris develop as he is only a sophomore.  I expect to see big things from this kid before his career in Providence comes to a close.  Desroisers has been a game changer on the defensive end of the floor.  I can’t remember anyone that protected the rim better than Carson wearing a Friar uniform since Karim Shabazz and Marcus Douthit.  He is averaging nearly 3 blocks a game.

LaDontae Henton has been the unsung hero of this season.  Henton has been a glue guy for Ed Cooley’s Friars.  He will never be untitledmentioned with why the Friars would win a game.  He hasn’t had any outstanding games this season but he goes about his business.  He has improved his rebounding and is getting rebounds in traffic amongst bigger opponents.  He is the team’s leading rebounder.  A year after his three-point shot disappeared, Henton is shooting 43% from deep.

As a season ticket holder, I was disappointed in not seeing Austin, Bullock, and Dunn this season. After seeing Ricky Ledo on the bench in a suit all of last season, I thought this would be the year the Friar Faithful’s patience would be rewarded.  I was wrong.  the familiar mantra of “wait ’til next year” rings true yet again.

Fortunately the guys who have taken the floor night in and night out have been fun to watch.  Saying the team plays hard is an understatement.  Credit Cooley with fielding a competitive team.  These kids will run through a wall for him.  I believe the Friars have a chance of finishing in the top half of the new Big East behind Villanova, Creighton, and Xavier.  A four seed in the Big East would put the Friars squarely on the bubble for the NCAA tournament.  If that were to happen with the amount of adversity the team has faced all year, I would consider 2013-2014 a success.

I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF

2013-2014 Providence College Friars: Season Preview

One of my favorite times of the year is finally upon us…the start of the college basketball season!  As with most years, there is a ton of hype surrounding this Providence College team.  Another infusion of young talent, combined with a couple of transfers becoming eligible, and finally the continued development of some familiar names all have PC fans excited for the season to get started.  What am I most excited about? PC kicking of Fox Sports 1’s coverage of college basketball.  PC hasn’t played under the national spotlight in some time and I think that a lot of curious college basketball fans will be tuning into Fox Sports 1 tonight, and stumble across the PC vs. BC game.  Here I’ve provided my preview for the 2013-2014 season for the Providence College Friars.  You need not look elsewhere, as ntcf.wordpress.com is the one and only source for quality PC basketball news, information, and opinions from the biggest PC fan around.  Let’s do it…

The Returning Players:

#3 Kris Dunn (SO.) – 6’3″, 197 lbs [Guard]

#4 Josh Fortune (SO.) – 6’5″, 205 lbs [Guard]

#10 Kadeem Batts (SR.) – 6’9″, 245 lbs [Forward]

#11 Bryce Cotton (SR.) – 6’1″, 165 lbs [Guard]

#13 Brice Kofane (JR.) – 6’8″, 210 lbs [Forward]

#21 Lee Goldsbrough (SR.) – 6’9″, 230 lbs [Forward]

#22 Ted Bancroft (SR.) – 6’6″, 215 lbs [Guard]

#23 LaDontae Henton (JR.) – 6’6″, 215 lbs [Forward]

I do not remember a season when Providence was returning this much talent and experience.  As PC fans, we have become accustomed to seeing players finally develop as seniors, and the move onto the next level.  If we were fortunate enough to see guys develop sooner than that, they usually either did something stupid to get kicked off of the team, or leave school early for some reason.  My expectations for this group are high, some (Scottie) may even describe them as lofty.  I’m not as big of a Bryce Cotton fan as most.  Yes, the dude can shoot.  He’s proven that he can be clutch.  But I never agree with the entire offense revolving around a perimeter shooter.  I would love to see Bryce use his athleticism more often and attack the rim.  Kris Dunn has the talent to be an All Big East First-Team performer.  However, in classic PC fashion, Dunn hurt his surgically repaired shoulder in the Friars final exhibition game against RIC.  From the reports I’ve read, it seems like Dunn subluxed his right shoulder.  That doesn’t worry me.  If there is labral damage, then I’m worried, but subluxations can be addressed with some stabilization exercises and taping.  If Kadeem Batts can become a little more consistent with his mid-range jumper, he could make himself into an NBA prospect.  My focus is on LaDontae Henton.  He didn’t have a very good 2012-2013 season.  His shooting percentage (especially from 3-point territory) was bad.  He didn’t play with the same swagger and heart that he displayed as a freshman.  Unlike most seasons, Henton has someone behind him coming for his starting spot (Tyler Harris).  Henton needs to prove that he deserves to keep his starting spot.

The New Players:

#1 Brandon Austin (FR.) – 6’6″, 185 lbs [Guard]

#5 Rodney Bullock (FR.) – 6’7″, 215 lbs [Forward]

#12 Casey Woodring (FR.) – 6’2″, 180 lbs [Guard]

#25 Tyler Harris (SO.) – 6’9″, 215 lbs [Forward]

#33 Carson Desrosiers (JR.) – 7’0″, 250 lbs [Center]

Brandon Austin is going to be a stud.  From what I’ve heard, he has looked very good this off-season.  When I took a look at some of his tape, he reminds me of a Tyreke Evans-type of player.  He has the ability to handle the ball, while also demonstrating the size and quickness to get to and finish at the rim.  Sadly for the Friars, Brandon Austin and fellow freshman Rodney Bullock “failed up uphold the responsibilities of student athletes.”  They are both suspended indefinitely for, what sounds to me like some academic violations.  Transfers Tyler Harris and Carson Desrosiers both become eligible this season.  These two are going to have a profound impact on the Friars this season.  I expect Desrosiers to start at center.  He is a big presence that can block shots, score from inside and outside, and is known as a very good passer.  Harris is an athletic forward with the ability to shoot the three and attack the rim.  His skill set allows him to play every position from shooting guard to power forward.  Casey Woodring is a recruited walk-on that is known as a lethal outside shooter.  I don’t see many minutes for him available this year.

The Transfer (Not Eligible until start of 2014-2015 season):

#32 Junior Lomomba (SO.) – 6’5″, 195 lbs [Guard]

Lomomba is a Cleveland St. transfer (originally from Canada) that will become eligible next season.  He will benefit from a year of practice with the team, and will hope to help soften the blow of losing Bryce Cotton next season.

Predicted Starting 5 and Rotation (considering all players are healthy and eligible):

PG – Kris Dunn

SG – Bryce Cotton

SF – LaDontae Henton

PF – Kadeem Batts

C – Carson Desrosiers

#6: Tyler Harris

#7: Josh Fortune

#8: Brandon Austin

#9: Rodney Bullock

#10: Lee Goldsbrough

#11: Bryce Kofane

#12: Ted Bancroft

#13: Casey Woodring

Predictions:

As you probably could have assumed from what I wrote above, I have really high hopes for this team.  I think that their combination of experience (Batts, Cotton) along with talent (Dunn, Austin, Harris) will propel Providence College to finish within the top four of the new look Big East (behind Georgetown, Marquette, and Creighton).  I expect the Friars to make the NCAA Tournament.  I expect the Friars to get an NCAA Tournament win for the first time since 1997.  Ed Cooley finally has a team full of primarily “his guys”, so for Cooley and the boys, it’s time to make some moves in the right direction.  GO FRIARS!

Record: 22-6 (13-5)

Statistical Leaders: 

  • Points: Bryce Cotton
  • Rebounds: Kadeem Batts
  • Assists: Kris Dunn
  • Steals: Kris Dunn
  • Blocks: Carson Desrosiers
  • Field Goal %: Carson Desrosiers
  • Free Throw %: Bryce Cotton
  • Three Point %: Bryce Cotton

Bold Predictions:

  • 1st Team All Big East: Kris Dunn
  • 2nd Team All Big East: Bryce Cotton
  • 3rd Team All Big East: Tyler Harris
  • Big East All Defense Team: Carson Desrosiers

FRIARTOWN…LET’S GO!!!!!!!!!!

NIT 2013 Quarterfinal – Baylor 79 – Providence 68

-Well, it was a matter of time before the surprisingly successful 2012-2013 Providence College Friars were no longer able to make a magical comeback and keep playing basketball.  The Baylor Bears, led by Pierre Jackson, were stoic down the stretch, unfazed by the Friars continuous attempts at a comeback, and making all of the plays necessary to move onto the 2013 NIT Semifinals as Madison Square Garden.

-Coach Cooley deserves an exceptional amount of credit for what he was able to do with this Friars team.  He had to work with more player combinations than possibly any other team in the country.  The Friars brought 6 scholarship players to the Puerto Rice Tip-Off at the start of the season.  Then, Cooley had to work Vincent Council, Kris Dunn, and Sidiki Johnson back into the lineup.  Then, the Friars lost Johnson and had to adapt again.  Then, they dealt with an injury to Bryce Cotton, a few stomach bugs for Kris Dunn, some disciplinary issues with Council, and a countless amount of other variables that led to Cooley receiving this praise from me.  Stand up Coach, you deserve a ton of recognition and appreciation!

-Pierre Jackson is ruthless.  He is the example of what I wish Vincent Council developed into.  Never fazed, always under control, and always making the best decision.

-With that being said, Council had a hell of a game (21 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists).  Vince, you will be remembered and I will miss your consistency through the years.  Your stats force you to be considered one of the greatest Friars of all time.  Had it not been for your injured hamstring to start the season, you’d be getting much more national respect.  You should get a shot in the league…

-Classic Henton: 0 points, 8 rebounds, 0-5 from the field, 0-2 from the free throw line, 4 personal fouls, and 2 shots that were blocked

-Classic Dunn: 4 points (2-4 from the field), 2 rebounds, 6 assists

-LaDontae Henton needs to become more consistent, or he’ll be coming off of the bench in the 2013-2014 season.

-Kadeem Batts finished the season just as he started it, putting up numbers and controlling the paint.  Batts amassed 20 points (9-17 shooting), grabbed 8 boards, and had 2 assists.  Kadeem Batts turned into a better player than I ever imagined he would become.  Cooley’s staff needs to be recognized for his development, but Kadeem deserves a lot of that credit too.  If Batts gets better heading into the 2013-2014 season, he will be drafted.

-Bryce Cotton led the Friars with 23 points, however he went dead cold in the last 10 minutes of the 2nd half (when they needed him the most).  As the NTCF faithful may know, my affinity for Bryce Cotton has decreased as of late and I’ve begun to criticize him for some selfish play and poor decision making.  I hope that Bryce continues to improve, but I think that the Friars will have more talented options next season.  Cotton will most likely get drafted (thanks Q), but Batts will be a better pro.

-Josh Fortune needs to improve defensively, offensively, with decision making, and his overall basketball IQ or his playing time will quickly diminish with guys like Brandon Austin and Ricky Ledo competing for playing time.

-You have to commend the Baylor Bears.  They played a hell of a game.  Jefferson was a beast down low and Jackson was a true conductor on the floor.

-However, I can’t complain.  The Friars were able to play 3 more games than anticipated and have some momentum to build on this offseason.

-Stay tuned to NTCF for my 2012-2013 season review and 2013-2014 season preview post.