Archives For August 2011
It wasn’t exactly the best kept secret, but there is now official confirmation that Kris Dunn has given his verbal to Providence College.
The Providence Friars secured a verbal commitment from Kris Dunn (New London, Conn./New London), the top remaining point guard, during an unofficial visit on Wednesday.
“Providence is a special place for me,” Dunn said. “I have a great connection with the coaches but must importantly with [coach Ed Cooley]. He made my family and I feel at home and like we were wanted.” Cooley, according to Dunn, attended every one his AAU games in July.
Dunn joins shooting guard Josh Fortune (recruited by Keno Davis) as the Friars other 2012 commitment.
Over the last 12 hours, the Friars relationship with the PG Kris Dunn has gone from holding hands to flashing of some serious promise rings. What, no foreplay?
After hearing that Dunn narrowed his list down to two choices early this afternoon (PC and UCONN) and that he would be making his decision at a press conference Wednesday, word leaked late Tuesday night that the #2 ranked 2012 PG was going to be on the Providence College campus. It seems like all the suspense that was going to keep the Friar Faithful continually hitting their F5 keys on messageboards or intently staring at their realtime twitter feeds hoping for the best has been evaporated. The bosses of Friartown members around the country thank you very much, Dave Telep.
Kris Dunn will be on Providence’s campus Wednesday. Obviously, this one going PC’s way. Outside chance Ricardo Ledo bops by.
UPDATE: Scott Cordischi of GoLocalProv is reporting that is a done (DUNN?) deal.
Nerlens Noel participated in an online chat conducted by Josh Paunil of the National Recruiting Spotlight this past Thursday. Noel, who is considering Providence, has been thoughtful, deliberate and for the most part quiet, about his recruitment, so the chat represented a rare opportunity to get some insight. Given Noel’s stature as a player and recruit, and the fact that Providence is somewhere in the mix, an all angle (OK, borderline obsessive) breakdown of the chat is exactly what you need, right?
Before we get into the chat itself, for those of you who have refused to get out of your Keno induced coma and are not familiar with Nerlens Noel, here is an overview. He is a class of 2013, 6’10” shot blocking savant of a center from Everett, MA who attends the Tilton School, alma mater of current Friar Gerard Coleman, and plays his travel/AAU ball with BABC, quite possibly the best AAU program going right now. Gerard Coleman and Friar teammate Ron Giplaye both played for BABC, as do current Friar recruiting targets Goodluck Okonoboh and Jake Layman.
As a side note, Nerlens’ brother, Rodman, a highly rated class of 2011 football recruit as a safety, will be playing for NC State this year.
Nerlens Noel is the number two rated prospect in the class of 2013 by ESPN, and number five by Rivals (Yahoo! Sports). He is touted as the best defensive player in the country and has been compared to the likes of Patrick Ewing and even Bill Russell (Russell is one of his two all time favorite players per the chat by the way with the other being Kevin Garnett). Where ever Noel ends up going to college he is projected to be an absolute game changer, but perhaps nowhere more so than Providence, especially if Noel came in on the heels of a 2012 class that included elite guards Ricardo Ledo (who we learned will be doing his own chat soon!) and Kris Dunn, both of whom would bring huge impact for Providence in their own right.
That said, we are talking about a consensus top five guy here in Noel who, for all of the exploits cited above and more, is being recruited by everyone and their grandmother so don’t get your hopes up there too high FRIARTOWN. As you will see, Noel provided some encouraging signs for Friar fans during the chat, but we have to be realistic about this. History is not exactly on our side when it comes to highly rated recruits. At least since the advent of the Big East, PC has barely sniffed a recruit of Noel’s pedigree much less landed one. Plus, BABC teammate and Iowa State commit Georges Niang’s mother really made it tougher during the chat when she offered to send Noel homemade sugar cookies whenever he wanted them if he were to go to Iowa State with her son. Come to think of it, that’s a violation of some sort right? Pretty sure there has to be a no baked goods from mothers clause in the rules because that is just impossible to compete with!
On to the chat. One thing is for sure, FRIARTOWN came to play, with far and away the most questions (thus prompting the most answers as illustrated below).
Noel offered very positive comments about Providence. Overall he provided 59 responses on various topics, including comments related to specific schools (23), reclassification to the class of ’12 (2, 1 of which overlapped with a specific school comment) and what we will call general responses (35) about his recruitment, style of play, personal information, etc. Counting the one item that fell into two categories, there were a total of 60 responses. As illustrated in the list below, Providence dominated Noel’s specific school comments, more than doubling those about any other school.
Iowa St. (3)
Reclassify to ’12 (2)
North Carolina (2)
NC State (1)
Chat Highlights for Friar Fans
Noel indicated he will release a list of fifteen schools in early September, and specifically stated that Providence has a “good chance” to be on it while also referring to Ed Cooley unsolicited as a “great coach”. In fact, Providence represented the only school Noel hinted at or named directly in connection with his list. He did however mention planned visits to North Carolina and Florida (& is visiting Syracuse with Ledo and Okonoboh today).
The first of two compelling responses related to Providence came when Noel confirmed that he and Ricardo Ledo have talked about going to PC together. The second came when this question was posed by “John”: “You could have the whole city of Providence on your back – does that intrigue your decision at all?” Noel’s answer, “yeaa it does”. It is likely these two responses are related, with the connection being two guys who know in general they will have major impact on a program, but perhaps share a desire to team up and be part of something bigger. Instead of going to Kentucky or Syracuse where they will be two of a collection of high school All-Americans, why not entertain going to Providence College together, taking the state by storm and doing things maybe no one else has ever done here?
Further, Noel dispelled any lingering belief that the departure of former Keno assistant and BABC general manager, Chris Driscoll, has negatively impacted PC’s chances with him.
Noel also left open the possibility of reclassifying from the class of 2013 back to 2012, which he can do given that 2013 would be his fifth year of high/prep school. Reclassification to ‘12 came up on two occasions, the first of which had Noel saying he was not sure at this time if he would reclassify. The second was in response to a question about reclassifying for the purpose of becoming a Friar to play with Ricardo Ledo and Kris Dunn (both class of ’12) should they come to PC. Interestingly, Noel answered “to early to tell”, once again invoking possible connections between his and Ledo’s decisions.
Other PC related responses:
• Indicated he would like to play with Friar newcomer Kiwi Gardner and thinks he is a good player
• Complimented Friar fans and the atmosphere at the Dunk, saying they are loyal and “get WILD win or lose”
• Has NOT spoken about PC with former BABC teammates and current Friars Gerard Coleman and Ron Giplaye
In addition to teasing his list of fifteen and providing fans and media with a bit more to chew on concerning what is sure to be one of the most followed and eagerly anticipated college decisions since, well maybe since Andre Drummond, but it will be big nonetheless, Noel also left us another nugget of mystery by saying he “had” (past tense may be important here) a dream school but will not reveal it until he makes his decision. Perhaps if Nerlens Noel decides to come to Providence College he will leave a legacy that includes making PC a dream school for the next generation of great student athletes and beyond.
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With the new season still a couple of months away and as we are forced to tolerate the quiet while eagerly anticipating whether or not Christmas will come early with a big 2012 recruiting class, let’s discuss a tale of two coaches and take a look at the state of the Friars.
Certainly Keno Davis’ brief and tumultuous tenure can be referred to as ‘the worst of times’. Apologies for bringing up the “K” word but think of it as therapy. You need closure and this is it. Not going to seep back through the gory details of the last three years and cause you to be reunited with your breakfast, lunch, dinner, beer, coffee…whatever you were enjoying before you decided to read this…but do want to focus on the primary reason for the Keno debacle, and how Fr. Shanley, Bob Driscoll and company proved they learned this valuable lesson by hiring Ed Cooley and building toward what they, and all of us in FRIARTOWN, hope will be ‘the best of times’.
The main issue with Davis is he did not understand what it took to lead a program. Nice guy and all, and some (OK one guy from Iowa) might even muster up an argument that Keno had a good offensive basketball mind, offered an entertaining brand (of offense) that could be attractive to players and that perhaps he could even coach a little (tougher one but entertain me here). However the trick in finding a good college head coach is to realize that actual coaching represents a minority portion of the role, especially for coaches at the high major D-1 level. Northwestern Head Coach Bill Carmody made reference to this point as he sat on the same stage as Coach Cooley on Monday’s ‘Katz Corner College Basketball Coaches Special’ with Andy Katz when Carmody estimated the coaching portion of the job to be about 30%.
In reality a Big East head coach is the CEO of the corporation that is his program. Meaning that in addition to his ‘on the floor’ responsibilities, he is responsible for establishing and executing the program’s brand and vision. He is a boss, not only of his players but of his staff, and managing people in and of itself can be a full time job. Further he is a fund raiser, strategic planner, salesman, mentor, parent, teacher, public relations manager and media personality……the list goes on and on.
Point being, it is plausible to believe that Keno presented enough of the ‘on the floor’ qualifications to receive consideration from PC, especially given the context during that search where candidates were turning down the job left and right, those involved with the search had to feel as though the walls were closing in. That said, grading on a 100 point scale, even if PC was extremely generous under pressure and gave Keno credit for the full 30 ‘on the floor’ points (30% of the job), that left the remaining and all important 70% where he could (should) have been graded at zero very easily! Davis operated a program as Head Coach for only one season. There was no track record of leadership, management experience, player/person development, academic oversight or ability to work with an administration. In short, no proof that Keno Davis was CEO material.
Ed Cooley, on the other hand, exemplifies a basketball program CEO. The ‘on the floor’ chops are there. In addition to his extensive assistant coaching resume, most notably at Boston College under Al Skinner, Cooley’s head coaching record in a tough league speaks for itself (92-69, increased win totals each year, back to back 20 win seasons). In terms of track record as a leader, Cooley held the head job at Fairfield for five years which is more than enough of a sample size to evaluate his ability to develop and guide a program. Not to mention he left the cupboard full at Fairfield, handing over an NCAA tournament caliber team with a cherry on top in newcomer and former Boston College and St. Andrews (RI) star, Rakim Sanders.
Cooley exudes charisma along with a buck stops here attitude, which is a huge plus on the recruiting, mentor and manager of people fronts…not too bad for fundraising either. He is a quote machine who pulls no punches which further adds to his appeal, persona and media friendliness. As far as vision and brand, Cooley started laying the groundwork on these in his introductory press conference and early remarks with talk about family, playing tough, being good students & citizens, selling out The Dunk and winning championships (focus machine anyone?).
None of us can predict what the end results will be but it is clear the PC brain trust acknowledged there were gross oversights and flaws in the process that brought us Keno Davis, gained the understanding that a true leader of people and a program was essential, decided to make a change and hired the right guy for the job.
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