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…

NIT 2013 Round 2: Providence 77 – Robert Morris 68

-I need to start by saying that what I watched on Monday night was one of the most poorly officiated games that I have ever seen. And it wasn’t that all bad calls were against Providence.  Bad calls were going in both directions.  I’m not sure which conference the officiating crew was from, but they should be fired.

-After the completion of the game last night, Ed Cooley grabbed the mic and addressed the crowd.  Man, I love Cooley.  Here was Cooley’s statement in a post-game interview about his address, “I thought about taking that microphone all day. I wanted to thank our crowd. We have had some really good crowds. I’d like to see every seat filled, but part of building your program is building your fan base back up.  I think this is a really tough place to play when the energy is like that. I think the last three and a half minutes of this game – that was actually fun. That was a lot of fun to hear the building shake like that. The players all feed off of that. And you know what? A team will crumble under those circumstances, and I thought that happened today.”

-From what Scottie told me (because I wasn’t at the game), Cooley said that if the crowd is loud every game, that will play a huge part in PC winning a National Championship.  After that statement, the crowd and the Friars went nuts!  Love the vision that Cooley has, he is developing a championship attitude with this team, and bringing in the talent to compete on a national level.

-Before this game, Cooley went on record saying that Kris Dunn had his best week of practice.  Sadly for the Friars, Dunn was battling a stomach bug on Monday and he looked somewhat sluggish.  With a healthy Dunn, his defensive energy would have gone a long way in limiting Robert Morris’ offensive effectiveness.  However, Dunn still found ways to produce (6 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists).

-LaDontae Henton played arguably his best game of the season, utilizing consistent mismatches to his advantage.  Henton tallied up 21 points and 6 rebounds on 6-7 shooting and 8-8 from the free throw line.

-Council’s offense was nowhere to be found, but 12 points and 10 assists were enough to get the Friars through to the next round.

-Lee Goldsbrough stepped up on a night where the Friars’ bigs were battling foul trouble.  Lee logged 21 minutes, grabbed 9 rebounds and 6 points.  Lee made a huge bucket as the game was winding down on a nice dish from Council.  Goldsbrough has inproved dramatically this season and I’m interested to see how much time he will get next season.

-Kadeem needs to be a more consistent focal point of the Friars offense.  Their tendency to feed Kadeem the ball is scarce, and when they do get him the ball down low it is often off of the block and he gets double teamed.  Every time Cotton gets the ball outside, Kadeem is in a great spot underneath (because offensive attention has switched to Cotton).  Cotton needs to become more alert and get Batts the ball more often.

-Kris Dunn makes some of the prettiest passes that I’ve seen in a long time.  On a fast break, Dunn threw a no-look bounce pass to Batts (who fumbled the pass) through two defenders.  That pass was awesome!

-Next up for the Friars are the Baylor Bears.  The Bears’ offense has been on fire thus far in the NIT, scoring 112 points in their 1st game (vs. Long Beach St.) and 89 points in their 2nd game (vs. Arizona St.).  The Bears average 74 points per game for the season (31st in the NCAA).  Their best player is senior point guard Pierre Jackson who averages 19 points per game on the season (and had 26 points and 16 assists against Arizona St.).  This should be an offensive showdown!

-NEXT GAME: Wednesday, March 27th @ Baylor, 9pm (ESPN2)

NIT 2013 Round 1: Providence 75 – Charlotte 66

-Kris Dunn, stand up!  Thank you.  Thank you for making the right play at the right time.  Thank you for hustling every single minute that you are on the floor.  Thank you for making a clutch steal when we needed it the most.  Thank you for attacking when you should attack.  Thank you for knowing when to slow it down and start the offense over.  Damn man, you’re getting better by the day!

-Classic Dunn stat line: 14 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals

-And it doesn’t hurt that Coach Cooley said Dunn played his best game in a Friar uniform.

-Bryce Cotton finally remembered that he can shoot and made a few three pointers.  Cotton still disrupts offensive flow because of his constant desire to shoot (as all shooters have) and his inability to react quickly and find the open man.  With that being said, Bryce scored 25 points against Charlotte and shot 4/8 from three.  If he keeps that up over the next few games, PC will be a tough out.

-For the second consecutive game Kadeem Batts was pounded on the block and couldn’t get into any sort of offensive rhythm.  Batts only managed to score 5 points and grab 5 boards.  Granted, the Friars didn’t need him much against Charlotte and he was battling foul trouble for much of the game.  With that being said, in order to make it deep into this tournament the Friars need the Kadeem Batts that we have become accustomed to seeing this season (i.e. the 15 points, 8 boards Kadeem).

-Vincent Council looked like a senior point guard that has never reached postseason play before and didn’t want to get bounced in the 1st round.  Council played one of his better games of the season, showing a little more offensive aggression than he has much of this season.  Council pulled his best Kris Dunn impression by filling up the stat line: 16 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks.

-The most important stat of the game: Providence turnovers = 5

-Ted Bancroft makes more meaningful plays in his 3 minutes of play than LaDontae Henton does in his 30 minutes of play.  Cooley knows what to expect when he puts Bancroft in the game (effort, heart, guts, and defense).  Last night, when Bancroft sailed over the top of Charlotte’s big man to grab a board and draw a foul, Cooley was 15 feet onto the court yelling in support of Bancroft.  Gotta love the walk on leaving it on the floor.  Gotta love Cooley’s love for the walk on.

NEXT GAME: Monday, March 25th vs. Robert Morris, 7pm

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.

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.

Where’s the Defense?

Being a Providence College basketball fan has not been easy over the last decade or so.  Since their run to the elite eight in 1997, led by Austin Croshere, God Shammgod and company they have been a mediocre program.  As a fan, I have high unreachable expectations for a small school team in the premier conference in college basketball.  Up until 2 years ago the problem was Tim Welsh. I will say nothing further about him because my blood pressure will skyrocket in nanoseconds.

Last season was the first in Providence for Keno Davis, fresh off a 28-5 season with mid major Drake.  There was much excitement amongst the PC faithful because Welsh was gone and there was fresh blood coming in.  Davis was blessed with a senior class featuring Weyinmi Efejuku, Geoff McDermott, and Jonathan Kale. He also walked into having an experienced point guard in Sharaud Curry who had to redshirt the year prior to Keno coming to town.

The Friars had 19 wins last season, most in recent memory for the school.  However, in reality they easily could have won 4 more games off the top of my head. That season the team seemingly could not put 2 halves together all season.  They would either sprint out to a 15 point first half lead or find themselves fighting back from that same 15 point deficit late in the second half. While they have no doubt been a fun and exciting team to watch, the argument can be made that they are equally frustrating.

Keno Davis’ second season has proven to be no different from his first in terms of results. The head coach brought in an exciting freshman class in Vincent Council, Duke Mondy, and Johnnie Lacy. They are led by fifth year senior Sharaud Curry and junior Marshon Brooks. The team is long on offense but could not be paid to play defense. (No NCAA pun intended.)

Keno is from the Mike D’antoni school of basketball. He of the 7 second shot clock, jacking threes, and playing no semblance of defense. It is the belief that the offense is the best defense that makes me sick. What makes me even more angry is that Keno believes throwing up 110 points against George Washington will be a recruiting tool that recruits will love.  News flash to Keno, recruits want to go to a program that wins.  Mike D’antoni’s philosophy has never helped the coach do anything in the NBA and Davis is proving that to be true in the NCAA.

Syracuse came into this season unranked and because of their harassing 2-3 zone defense they have beaten North Carolina, Florida, and California. These teams were all ranked high than the Orange. Not anymore. 

Until Keno realizes that defense is a must in basketball, the Providence Friars will maintain what has been true about them for years.  They are exciting albeit frustrating to watch and they will be headed to the NIT year after year.