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.

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)

Big East Game #8: Providence 83 Villanova 68

Last night the Villanova Wildcats came into The Dunk fresh off a win at #3 Syracuse.  They have a game Saturday against #20 Georgetown at home.  Problem is, they had a game last night against a lowly Providence Friars that they didn’t show up for.  The Friars jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the opening minutes and never looked back making it two wins in a row against ranked teams for the first time since 1998.

I had numerous chances to go to the game last night but passed them up to watch the game at home with my father.  He wasn’t prepared for my newfound way of cheering for the Friars.  I have become Randy Quaid from Major League 2.  After faithfully following the Friars for about 15 years, I have gotten to the point where I realized  that PC plays everyone tough for 37 minutes and then blows the game in less than 3.  I have become negative and always looking for what’s wrong and jumping on Keno Davis every chance I get.

Last night, was a night where my father was right and I was wrong.  I was furious in the beginning of the first half with PC’s shot selection.  They took 10 threes in the opening 9 minutes of the game.  I remember saying “Here we go, live by the three, die by the three.” My father came back with: “I like this strategy, it has Villanova back on their toes and now they are trying to mimic what PC is doing.”  Point to pops on that. Villanova definitely fell into the trap of playing some helter skelter basketball, shooting 32% from the field and 18% from downtown.

I also didn’t like Keno going with a four guard set.  I even tweeted, “Well, now we are going to get killed on the boards.”  (Villanova had 21 offensive rebounds).  The problem is that Bilal Dixon has been useless this season and has forced Keno’s hand into playing a lineup that puts Marshon Brooks at the 4.  I was thinking Villanova would be able to handle Gerard Coleman and Vincent Council because they have two of the best guards in the country in Corey Stokes and Corey Fisher.  I was wrong again as the Corey’s were a combined 4-26 from the field, 1-13 from 3, and combined for 14 points.

Marshon Brooks has to be commended for still having a solid game despite being clearly off all night.  He was 0-8 from downtown and 4-15 from the floor but was still able to create offense for himself by getting to the charity stripe 14 times and hitting 12.  He had 20 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals on his 22nd birthday.  A win over the #7 team in the country is a nice way to celebrate.

The next big name in Providence will be Gerard Coleman, if it isn’t already.  He was the offense in the first half of the Louisville game and he played great last night.  It seems every year Providence has one freshman that gets Friartown all excited and sets the pace for the next four years.  I
love this Coleman kid.  He had 16 points last night and is a lot of fun to watch on the break with Vincent Council.

Speaking of Council, (he being that freshman last year that I was excited about) he had a stat stuffing night with 16 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists.  He was also 3-4 from three point land and although erratic at some points in the game, he overall wasn’t bad.  He is still learning how to control a game and understanding when it push the ball up the court and when to slow things down.

The bottom line after this past week for the PC Friars is that they now know how to win.  They know how to close out ball games.  Something they haven’t done since the days of Ryan Gomes.  It will be sad to see Marshon go, as he was the one constant during a time of turmoil in the PC program.  But otherwise, as Keno reminds us every fifteen minutes, this is a very young team making the present a learning experience but the future very bright.  But hasn’t that been the case the past 4-5 years?

NEXT UP: @SETON HALL, SUNDAY, JANUARY 30, 2PM.

 

I can be followed on Twitter at ScottieNTCF

Big East Game #2- St. John’s 67 Providence 65

With Matt’s computer down, I am stepping in for him on posts he’d usually he make.  He will be back on Tuesday.

The Friars fell to the Red Storm last night 67-65 in Providence.  The Friars were down by as much as 10 in the second half and came back to tie the game with less than 2 minutes left. But a wide open Paris Horne buried a three in the corner to put the Red Storm ahead for good with less than 35 seconds left on the clock.  On the Friars ensuing possession, Marshon Brooks was called for an offensive foul when he drove to the rack.

Providence couldn’t stop Dwight Hardy (21 points) or the Red Storm in general as they shot over 50% from the field.  Providence did force 16 turnovers, led by 4 steals from Vincent Council.

The Friars were atrocious from behind the arc shooting 6-21 (28%).  Most of those threes were forced as they went deep into the shot clock on several possessions and were forced to hoist a three to negate a shot clock violation.  My biggest gripe with the offense last night was the lack of movement.  I can’t stand watching 5 guys stand still and pass the ball along the perimeter hoping something opens up.  It just defies logic.  The Friars are at their best when Vincent Council and Marshon Brooks are driving to the paint and kicking to open jump shooters or guys down on the block.

Marshon was solid with 20 points going 8-14 from the field, 4 rebounds, and 3 blocks.  He has really impressed me this season with his leadership qualities and his talent on the floor.  He has really improved from just a season ago.  I would think an NBA team would give him a look in the second round of the draft.

I whole heartedly disagree with Matt’s notion that the Friars are deep this year.  The bench chipped in 12 points last night ( 9 from Duke Mondy).  They shot 4-16 (25%( from the field and turned the ball over 4 times.  The Friars go six deep (Brooks, Council, Gerard Coleman, Bilal Dixon, Kadeem Batts, and Mondy). After that, there hasn’t been much production from the bench players.  In order for the Friars to be competitive in Big East play, there needs to be some form of production from the bench.  Or else the starters are in for a long, tiring season.

NEXT UP: #6 PITTSBURGH AT THE DUNK

Big East Game 1: Syracuse 81 – Providence 74

-I think that it is important for me to preface my critique of this game by presenting my expectations for Tuesday night’s Syracuse-PC match up.  Providence had played only one true road game before last night, which resulted in a loss at Boston College.  Other than that game, they played two games on a neutral court in Cancun and their remaining ten games all took place at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence.  So, how did you expect a team that is comprised thirteen freshmen and sophomores to only three seniors to play on the road in their first Big East game against the #5 team in the country in Syracuse?  Well, to be blunt, I didn’t expect much.

-As I mentioned in a previous post, Marshon Brooks may be the most frustrating player that I have ever watched play basketball (besides Charlie Burch of course).  Marshon looked to be scoring at will in the first half, posting 17 of PC’s 32 points.  Brooks was the sole reason why the Friars were still in the game.  I was encouraged that Brooks was getting to the rim instead of making his living on the perimeter.  After halftime, Marshon looked like a completely different player.  He was stagnant offensively, not getting open of creating for others.  Marshon made a critical fast-break three pointer to put the Friars within five late in the second half, but the shot that he took was terrible.  On the break, there were two Friars cutting to the hoop for easy buckets, but Brooks pulled up at the hash mark and launched a three.  These are the exact instances where Brooks frustrates the hell out of me.  He passes when he should shoot, and he shoots when he should pass.  I’m said to say that Marshon just doesn’t get it.

-The Friars are not going to win many games when they shoot under forty percent from the field (39.7%) and under thirty percent from beyond the arc (26.7%).  Keno Davis has notoriously struggled to find a way to crack the Syracuse 2-3 zone, and last night was a perfect indicator of those struggles.  On countless possessions down the stretch, the ball was passed from the point to the wing, back to the point and to the other wing.  Working the ball around the three point line is not helpful in breaking a 2-3 zone, especially when your team can not hit a three.  Council split the top two defenders a few times which led to easy dump-down buckets for Bilal Dixon and Brooks, but it didn’t occur at a high enough frequency for my liking.

-Aside from PC’s offensive woes, the Orangemen, who are not known for their three point shooting (many believe that is the weakest part of their game), shot over forty percent from beyond the arc.  Forward Kris Jospeh was 4-6 from three, and when he is hot like that, there are few teams in the country who could compete with Syracuse.

-Looking back on the game, I can honestly say that I was happy with what I saw on Tuesday night at the Carrier Dome.  Many of the young Friars did a lot of growing up against the Orangemen.  After a dreadful first half, Gerard Coleman showed the skills that made him a top 50 recruit nationally, when he scored points on three straight possessions for the Friars to get them back into the game.  Vincent Council looks like he is ready to lead this team alongside Marshon Brooks is Brooks takes a little side step to let Council blossom.  Duke Mondy played “starter minutes” off of the bench for Keno Davis and hit a big three towards the end of the game to keep it close.  Kadeem Batts is slowly learning what Bilal Dixon was taught last season, being undersized in the Big East is not fun but it is necessary that foul trouble is avoided in order for your team to be successful.

-Keno Davis used only a seven man rotation in the loss to Syracuse (eight players actually saw game time, but Dre Evans played just one minute so I’m not counting him).  In my opinion, one of the biggest strengths for this Friars team is their depth.  I’m well aware that unlike Syracuse, Keno can’t pull three or four 6’9” guys off of his bench and throw them into the game, but keeping guys like Council, Coleman, and Brooks fresh is what is going to lead this Friars team to some big wins.  Even squeezing just a few minutes out of a guy like Dre Evans, Ron Giplaye, and Lee Goldsbrough will be huge in terms of the starters’ effectiveness.

NEXT GAME: Saturday January 1st vs. St. John’s (7pm)

2010-2011 Providence College Friars – Pre-Big East Review

WHAT I SAW: Coming into this season, there were few Friar fans that had high hopes for the 2010-2011 PC men’s basketball team.  The Friars roster consists of two seniors, Marshon Brooks and Ray Hall (I’m excluding Chris Carter), and the remaining 13 players are either sophomores or freshmen.  Even with sophomores Vincent Council, Bilal Dixon, and Duke Mondy seeing significant time the previous season, this team was as green as they come.  In order for the Friars to have any sort of success, they needed Marshon Brooks and Vincent Council to lead the team, and then receive significant contributions from Dixon, Mondy, and members of their freshman recruiting class (particularly Gerard Coleman).  So, what did we get?  Marshon Brooks is tenth in the country in scoring (second in the Big East) averaging 23.1 points per game and accompanies that with nearly nine rebounds and three assists per game.  Vincent Council is eighth in the nation, averaging nearly seven assists per game to go along with sixteen points and five rebounds.  Freshman Gerard Coleman is third on the team in scoring, averaging 10.4 points per game.  Redshirt freshman Kadeem Batts and Bilal Dixon have controlled the paint (when they have stayed out of foul trouble) defensively and have rebounded on both sides of the court.  Duke Mondy continues to improve defensively, and is beginning to find his stroke from beyond the arc.  Contributions from freshmen Bryce Cotton, Ron Giplaye, Dre Evans, and Lee Goldsborough have also been key elements0 to the Friars’ early season success.

It is no secret, the Friars do not play a very tough out-of-conference schedule.  But, when you play in the Big East, there is no need to play a tough out-of-conference schedule when you have anywhere from 6-10 ranked teams in your conference.  The Friars have jumped out to an 11-2 start, which is the best start to a season that I can remember.  Their only two loses came against La Salle and Boston College.  Keno Davis has this team playing very good basketball right now, and the Friars look poised and ready to start Big East play on December 28th at #5 Syracuse.

THE GOOD: What has been good so far this season for the Friars?  To start, the defense needs to be mentioned.  The Friars defensive statistics certainly do not jump out of the page at you because of their brilliance, but from where this team was to where they are now, the transition is pretty astounding.  Last season, the Friars were one of the worst defensive teams in the country, allowing opponents to score an abysmal 82.2 points per game against them.  Although they were also one of the highest scoring teams in the nation, often times when a stop was needed towards the end of the game, nobody from PC could get it done.  This season, the Friars are allowing 68.2 points per game.  That number is still high, but it is 14 points less that last season!  Aside from the statistics, the Friars have shown the ability to clamp-down defensively towards the end of games this entire season.  Late game defensive stops helped the Friars grab wins over Rhode Island, Alabama, Northeastern, and Wyoming.

If there is one person in the world that despises the way that Marshon Brooks plays basketball, it is me.  Ask anyone who attends games with me.  Every time Brooks touches the ball I make it a point to yell, “Marshon don’t pass!”  Brooks has the uncanny ability to pass when he should be shooting and to shoot when he should be passing, but I’ve got to give credit where credit is due.  Brooks has put the team on his back so far this season, and the results have been pretty damn good.  Not only has Marshon been scoring like a mad-man, but he has finally dedicated himself to rebounding, which has the potential to be one of the best parts of his game.

I’ve followed the Friars’ 2010 recruiting class ever since the 2009-2010 season ended.  When I saw that Keno Davis was able to recruit players with the ability level of Gerard Coleman, Dre Evans, and Ron Giplaye, I was very excited for the future of this team.  But, with freshmen comes inexperience and growing pains.  To my amazement, these kids have stepped in and contributed right away.  Coleman looks like a star in the making.  He is 6’4″ and a lean 170 lbs, but has a knack of getting to the rim and finishing amongst the bigs.  Bryce Cotton was a late recruiting addition after the loss of Joe Young, but the 6’0” Cotton has a ton of athleticism and his game is beginning to stretch beyond the arc.

THE BAD: Although the Friars are off to a great start, now that Big East play is upon us, there are certainly areas that need to be improved in order to see success in conference.  First, the bigs need to stay out of foul trouble.  Countless times have I taken my seat in the Dunk, watched the opening tip, and within two minutes Kadeem Batts is getting yanked because he picked up a foul or two.  This forced Brooks to move down to the four (and at 6’5” 190 lbs he is no 4) and puts more pressure on Dixon to block shots and rebound.  In order to compete in the Big East, the Friars need to have their full arsenal of big men available at all times (Dixon, Batts, Giplaye, Goldsborough, and Hall).

In classic Providence College fashion, the Friars have become accustomed to starting off slow and then rallying back in the second half to finish teams off.  Although their offense is capable of putting up points in a hurry, being down 10 points at the half to Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Villanova, Georgetown, etc doesn’t bode well for your chances of winning.  It is important for the Friars to come out of the gate, dictate the game to their pace, tire teams out, and then use their depth and youth to their advantage.

OUTLOOK: The Big East is loaded on a yearly basis, and this season they seem to be as stacked as ever.  Currently, there are 5 Big East teams ranked in the top 10 in the country, 7 total in the top 25 (ESPN poll), and another 2 receiving votes for the top 25.  That makes nine teams either in or considered for the top 25.  Anyways, the Friars are young and small, which are two things that you do not want to be when playing such stiff competition.  That being said, I think that this team is talented enough to at least compete in the games against the top tier teams, and should be able to win their fair share of contests against the rest of the league.  The most important thing for PC is for them to beat the teams that they should.  The Friars need to beat teams like Rutgers, DePaul, South Florida, Seton Hall, and St. John’s.  As usual, the Friars have a tough schedule, and their road games will seriously test this team’s youth.

PREDICTION: 19-12 (8-10 Big East) – 10th in the Big East

NOTABLE GAMES:

December 28th @ #5 Syracuse (9pm)

January 4th vs. #6 Pittsburgh (7pm)

January 13th @ West Virginia (7pm)

January 22nd vs. #25 Louisville (5pm)

January 26th vs. #8 Villanova (7pm)

February 5th @ #9 Georgetown (12 pm)

February 13th @ #4 Connecticut (7pm)

February 19th vs. Cincinnati (7pm)

February 23rd vs. #20 Notre Dame (7pm)

February 27th @ Marquette (4pm)

March 2nd @ #25 Louisville (7pm)

For the remainder of the season, I will be posting a recap of every game that the Friars play.  So, if you are a Friar faithful like I am, make sure to stop by NTCF after all PC’s games.

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.