To All the Haters…

Ever since early April when soon-to-be sophomores Johnnie Lacy and James Still were arrested and subsequently kicked off of the Providence College men’s basketball team, head coach Keno Davis has been under fire.  Then, when May rolled around, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder was dismissed from the team for a “violation of team rules.”  The amount of criticism directed towards Davis increased in volume and number.  Within the last month or so, the situation with recruit Joe Young has escalated into quite a predicament.  Young, who signed a National Letter of Intent (NLI) with Providence College, asked to be dismissed from his NLI earlier in the summer because his aunt (currently living in Texas) was suffering from some medical issues and her health was ailing.  Coach Davis refused to release Young from his NLI, so Joseph and his family filed an appeal to the governing body of the NLI program.  On August 17th Young’s appeal was denied as the governing body of the NLI program ruled in favor of PC.  Young’s father, Michael, responded quite furiously to their denied appeal by saying, “The NLI system is crap…There’s no chance in Hell that Joseph would ever go to Providence.”  I do find it quite intriguing that Michael Young, in the past year, has become a member of the University of Houston men’s basketball team’s coaching staff.

Ever since that dreadful day in early April, every move that Keno Davis makes is criticized, evaluated, and ripped apart.  Clearly Davis was in the wrong in both the Lacy/Still and the Peterson incidents.  As head coach of the basketball team, Davis is responsible for walking with his players when they leave campus at night.  I’m almost certain there is language in his contract that makes him the team babysitter.  Although holding hands is optional, it is certainly recommended by the Athletic Director.  And, if you read a bit more into Davis’ contract, you’ll see that when his players occupy dorm rooms, he is contractually obligated to be the RA.  Jamine has more than five friends in his room, Keno is there to put the nix on that.  Another player wants to have a 6-pack in his dorm refrigerator before he is 21, RA Davis is there to stop the malarkey.  A scuffle breaks out in the dorm hallway at 2am, Keno is primed and ready to go.

http://www.beloblog.com/ProJo_Blogs/hoops/davis2.jpgLet’s be realistic for a minute, shall we?  Keno Davis was hired by athletic director Bob Driscoll in April of 2008 for one reason and one reason only, to win basketball games in the toughest conference in the country.  The Providence College community was sick of being mediocre.  Tim Welsh put the school in a position where a trip to the NIT, or a few wins in the Big East Tournament was looked upon as a successful season.  The hiring of Davis sent a message to the fan base that mediocrity was no longer acceptable and that PC wanted to be a consistent member of the field of 64 (well, now 68).  I am willing to bet a large sum of money that off-season incidences, similar to the ones that have occurred with PC, are not rare in college basketball.  But, if it happens at Kansas, nobody cares because at the end of the season they’ll be competing for a national championship.  The same with Kentucky, Michigan St., North Carolina, Syracuse, etc.  Keno Davis is being hit so hard by this criticism right now because he has yet to win with a program that is still rebuilding.  We are quick to forget that Davis has only one of his recruiting classes with NCAA experience.  Last season’s freshman class was Davis’ first.  All players that are sophomores and above are still (or were still in some cases) Time Welsh’s recruits.  With a great recruiting class incoming this year, the turnaround seems to be in full-swing.  I have no doubts that Keno Davis has this program going in the right direction, and getting closer to being consistent contenders in the Big East.

As for the Joseph Young situation, NLI’s are in place for a reason, for instances just like this.  Joe Young wasn’t necessarily a big-time recruit when PC signed him to an NLI.  But, Young went out and played well in a couple of tournaments and different camps, opened up some eyes from other schools, and now his very concerned about the health of his aunt.  Now, I’m not trying to downplay Young’s relationship with his aunt, nor am I questioning the integrity/significance of her illness.  But, could the severity of her condition not have been predicted several months when Young signed with the Friars?  It is hard for me to accept that the necessity of a heart transplant is something that develops over a few short months.  What this whole situation sounds like to me is that first year head coach James Dickey could not believe that a member of his staff (Michael Young, director of operations) was letting his nationally recruited son go to a school other than Houston.  So, Michael Young releases statements (regarding Keno Davis) such as, “He’s a bad guy. Anytime you deny a kid from something he has worked so hard for all of these years and kids are very emotional about situations like this.”  I’m sorry Mr. Young, YOUR SON SIGNED A NATIONAL LETTER OF INTENT.  He is legally obligated to attend Providence College, or he can pay the price and sit out for a season to transfer.

I think that it is complete bullshit that Keno Davis is catching heat for not letting this kid go freely.  If Young decided to not sign with Providence College, than Keno would have certainly offered that scholarship to another recruit.  Is Davis simply supposed to let Young walk without finding a replacement for him?  So Bill Reynolds of the Providence Journal, maybe you should get off your high horse for a minute and look at this situation from an unbiased perspective.  It would be completely stupid for Keno to let this kid go right now.  Coach Davis needs time to get back on the road and find a recruit that can help this team immediately.  College basketball is not a game about player’s feelings.  As sad as it is, these kids are simply pawns that bring in huge sums of money for television networks and universities to make money off of.  Without Providence College basketball, you would have one less team to write terribly about and one less thing to bitch about in your Sunday morning articles…write that one down Bunky.  Now you can complete your transition from former PC men’s basketball advocate to current Jim Baron ass kisser.

As a side note, for all of you who used to call yourselves Providence College basketball fans, but are now so “disgusted” with the current state of the team that you are questioning your fanship…we don’t need you.  When Keno gets out from underneath this cloud of negativity that the lowly Rhode Island media has placed above his head, and he gets back to bringing in top 100 players and winning games, don’t you dare come back to supporting the Friars.  They always say that in times of adversity you know who your true friends are and that holds true for fans of teams as well.  In times of adversity, only true fans stick by their team.  I know that come late November I’ll be sitting in the second level of the Dunkin’ Donuts center watching these young kids run around throwing up errant shots.  And I hope that all of you out there distancing yourself from the PC Friars basketball program don’t show up, because as I watch Gerard Coleman and Vincent Council light up the Big East, I will know deep down inside that not even for one moment did I abandon my team.

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Jamine “Greedy” Peterson…No Longer a PC Friar

I have just received the most personally devastating news since the day of my birth.  Jamine “Greedy” Peterson has been dismissed from the Providence College men’s basketball team because of, according to head coach Keno Davis,  “a violation of team rules.”  Davis also stated, "Jamine had a productive season in 2009-10. However, regardless of his athletic accomplishments, it is essential to the integrity of the program that every student-athlete meets the high standards and expectations we have at Providence College."

Peterson was undoubtedly PC’s best offensive player throughout the course of the 2009-2010 season, and he was also expected to be a pivotal key to the ascending success of the Providence College basketball program.  As a fan of PC, this loss cuts me pretty deep.  Peterson was my favorite player on the team.  He displayed a mix of offensive post moves, with an improved jump shot, an uncanny ability to crash the glass, as well as highlight reel athleticism that landed him on Sportscenter’s top 10 plays a few times.  But, aside from his physical talent, what I loved most about Greedy Peterson was his quiet but aggressive style of play.  I attended almost every PC home game this past season and never once did I hear Greedy talk any sort of trash.  I rarely saw him complain to the referees and it was even more of a rarity to see him yell at one of him teammates.  Peterson simply came to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center ready to work hard and try and grind one out for him team.  I realize that right now I sound like the head of the Jamine Peterson fan club.  I realize that most of you reading this post may not even be PC Friars basketball fans (if you are a URI fan now is the time to leave this site immediately, before we have any problems).  But, what you may not realize is my level of passion surrounding the Friars’ basketball program.  Starting every November, I devote much energy to hyping up, cheering on, and hoping for Friars’ success.  I stick with the team throughout the course of the season, good or bad.  Most importantly, I never give up hope for the future.

Peterson’s loss was a huge blow to Keno Davis and his staff.  The previous losses of Still and Lacy aren’t so detrimental.  Johnnie Lacy was planning on transferring before he decided to beat up and unsuspecting PC student for no apparent reason (and subsequently expedite his exit from the team).  James Still didn’t contribute much to the Friars in the 2009-2010 season, so his assistance to Lacy, and his soon to be expulsion from school doesn’t have much effect on the basketball program.  But, Peterson being dismissed from the team now leaves the weight of the basketball program (and it’s possible success) on the shoulders of Vincent Council.  Marshon Brooks like he would be the one to step in and pick up the offensive slack, but Marshon Brooks is horrendous.  Im sorry Marshon, you are not Kobe Bryant, you will never be Kobe Bryant, you probably will never be let within fifty feet of Kobe Bryant…so stop trying to be Kobe Bryant!  Council will be a sophomore point guard that is more of a playmaker than a scorer.  But, by the end of last season Coucil cemented himself as the future of the program, and another key piece for Keno to bring in recruits around.  Now that Greedy has been dismissed, much more pressure with be put on highly touted incoming freshmen Gerard Coleman, Joseph Young, Brice Kofane, and Ron Giplaye.  Freshmen that put in big minutes rarely live up to the hype immediately, which spells trouble for the Friars in the upcoming season.  But, as much as people want to start bashing Keno Davis (please realize that Peterson nor Lacy were Keno’s recruits), I’m going to keep faith in his ability to recruit exceptionally well and continue the development of the players that he has on his roster.