After year one of Ed Cooley and the gang a couple of things were made clear – most notably that this would not be a program run by anyone other than Ed Cooley. If you weren’t on board 100% then it was probably time to find another ship to sail on, so haters to the right.
Before the season let out there were reports that Bilal Dixon and another Friar (speculated to be Ron Giplaye at the time) were set to transfer to Towson, according to a report on John Feinstein’s radio show. These rumors were mostly ignored by the players and coaching staff, but the fans held this in the back of their minds, waiting to see what the end of the season would bring. Sure enough the season is now over and three Friars – Ron Giplaye, Bilal Dixon, and Gerard Coleman – are all said to be transferring. But while they head out the door, Providence is taking the offensive and looking to bring in new players and transfers to help fill the gap with these three departures. After the jump I take a look at our outgoing players as well as the potential incoming ones.
Gerard Coleman, Sophomore SG
Status: Confirmed on Friars.com
Speculated Schools: Northeastern
Overview: Gerard Coleman sparked excitement for Friar Fans when he committed to Providence in June 2009. A 4 star shooting guard across the board and an ESPN Super60, fans had hope that Coleman would be a cornerstone in the Friar program turning a corner in landing more high-caliber recruits. The excitement for Coleman extended beyond his talent, as he was often cited a team leader with a level head and maturity that the program was looking for in recruits especially after the Lacy, Still, and Greedy debacles.
Losing Gerard Coleman is unfortunate for several reasons. Coleman’s athleticism and talent are two of the biggest reasons, and his potential for growth was tremendous – especially since he had the opportunity to work with associate head coach Andre LaFleur, a man who’s credited most recently with developing Kemba Walker into the player he is today. Coleman had three areas he needed improvement in. First, he needed to develop a right hand game (Coleman is left handed and, no matter what, would always resort to his left hand to finish); second, he needed to improve his defensive abilities (see: Davis, Keno, re: defensive philosophies and the existence of unicorns); lastly, Gerard needed a jump shot and a free throw shot. Even though he was billed as a slasher, driving to the hoop exclusively on a left hand won’t cut it in the Big East or the NBA. If Gerard improved in these areas he could’ve been – I’ll say it – an All-American by his senior year.
Ron Giplaye, Sophomore PF/C
Speculated Schools: Towson
Overview: Ron Giplaye, AKA the Gipper, was billed as a take-no-prisoners board crasher who wouldn’t back down to an opponent no matter what. Think of Giplaye’s game the same way you see a dog kamikazing a bigger, tougher dog with a reckless abandonment that you just have to respect.
While Giplaye was a brute that could outmuscle his match-ups if they were bigger, his offensive game was something to write about if you’re into off-canon fan fiction for college basketball. What’s more, Giplaye seemed to struggle in making quick, tactical adjustments on defense to truly help at a Big East level, which demonstrated a low basketball IQ. He got better under a year of Cooley (and thus yielded more minutes) but ultimately decided he might be better heading elsewhere. While no official word has been released yet, the chances of Giplaye leaving are very high. Interestingly, with Giplaye and Coleman both leaving the team is now completely void of all BABC players. Diehard fans who have been watching certain events unfold, take that and speculate with what you will.
Bilal Dixon, Senior PF/C
Speculated Schools: Towson
Overview: Bilal Dixon had a hard life as a player. Originally recruited by Tim Welsh, Bilal wasn’t even brought onto campus before he experienced his first coaching change when Welsh was fired and Keno Davis was brought in. In three years of Keno Davis Bilal had a redshirt season, a respectable sophomore year (thanks in part to Greedy Peterson), and an underachieving junior year. When Keno’s reign of error came to a halt and Ed Cooley was brought in, Ed Cooley went from his introduction press conference to his office with Bilal, where he promised to turn the PF/C into a “double-double machine,” much to the delight of fans.
Bilal continued to play like an enigma – going from tough force on both ends of the floor to logging a DNP – Coaches Decision. In an already weak front court Dixon possessed the body to tussle with the big boys,but he never utilized it, often fouling softly and complaining often. Dixon, much like Coleman, had a lot of potential to thrive under this system and in return deepen our front court – and perhaps if Cooley had him from the start things might’ve been different – but this departure will be remembered for it’s mutually beneficial impact: Dixon will get to play his last year of eligibility in a league better suited for his current skill set, and Providence will be able to move forward with finding a new big man to replace him in the roster.
The Final Thought: Of the three transfers leaving, Gerard Coleman is the hardest to see go because of his potential and attitude, but with an exciting back court coming in the fall it won’t be the end of days. Bilal Dixon and Ron Giplaye were both respectable at times, but were simply just not made for Big East play and will find themselves getting much more minutes and yielding more success in a lower conference. The good extraction from these losses is it frees up scholarships – invaluable in a roster overhaul, which Ed Cooley seems focused on doing.
Check back tomorrow for part II: the potential incoming transfers!