Yesterday, Ed Cooley participated in a teleconference for the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament that the Friars will be participating in later this month. Here is what he had to had to say.
Q. How is the preseason going?
ED COOLEY: Couple of our guys got banged up, we didn’t play as well in our second game as we did in our first game. But overall, I’ve been pleased with the development of our guys, our attitudes. We limited on some numbers but I like what we are doing and hopefully we can get healthy and really compete when get down to Puerto Rico.
Q. Any games that have stood out for you in the preseason?
ED COOLEY: I mean, the normal guys. When you look at our rosters, there’s not a lot of guys that can stand out. There’s only a few guys.
But I just like our collective chemistry. I think everybody is learning each other’s strengths and weaknesses. To point out one guy, no, not really. I think all have improved and we are playing with a purpose and trying to improve every single day.
Q. I know the coach from UMASS mentioned Vincent Council, how has he been doing?
ED COOLEY: He’s been showing some great leadership. He has the most game experience on our roster and has the most minutes and he’s a high‑level guard and when everybody talks about Providence, it starts with Vince. He’s got big shoulders and his role has to continue to expand. He’s got to limit some of his turnovers and his decision making but overall, I think he’s one of the best point guards in the country.
Q. What are some of the strengths for your team as you see it so far?
ED COOLEY: I always think a strength of ours is going to be our speed. I like guys that get up‑and‑down the floor that are long, but I think our overall team quickness is pretty good. Our defensive alertness, we are improving on that by the day. But I would have to point to our quickness and our ability to make shots.
Q. You’ve been in this tournament before at a previous school. How do you like the format and then talk about your first round opponent, UMASS?
ED COOLEY: Well, I mean, I really enjoy Puerto Rico. I love Spanish food, my platanos and rice and beans. My wife is Spanish, so I’ll be there with my children. Our experience there the last time was great. It was a very competitive field and I thought our kids competed.
Playing against UMASS, they are coming off a great year and Coach Kellogg has done a phenomenal job. He has really good guard play and wings that can get up‑and‑down and spread the floor and play a fun style. We have our hands full, but we are excited to play and try to advance.
Q. Would it be fair to say that depth is not going to be one of your strong suits?
ED COOLEY: Unless you and a couple of guys on the island got some eligibility, I’ll get you as many shots as you want but depth is going to be a main question of ours and we are going to play five games in eight days. So I’m definitely concerned now because we may not be able to play as fast as we want to play given our depth issues.
So no that will not be a strength of ours in this particular tournament.
Q. Talk about building the program at Providence. You had a tremendous recruiting year, a lot of people ranked you No.1 in the country and then you had the injury and then the academic casualty; talk about the long‑term growth of your program.
ED COOLEY: Well, I mean, for all the coaches, our lifeline is recruiting, and you have to win some battles in recruiting and right now, it’s no secret, we are projected to be a last place team and our players are trying to prove that wrong.
But when you’re building a team, that does not happen overnight. You have to have a big picture of where you’re trying to go, with the reality of who you are today. We owe it to our players and our organization now, whether our freshmen play or not, these kids have really improved and shown some growth and development.
I think that you have to have some patience even though our fans want to win tomorrow or yesterday; the big picture is to continue to improve every single day.