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Friars on ESPN’s Bubble Watch

dave@friarblog —  March 7th, 2013 9:22 AM —  Comments

So the Friars have been the last team in Joe Lunardi’s “Next Four Out” section for the past couple of nights on Bracketology after the win over Seton Hall. ESPN also updated their Bubble Watch, which finally includes the Providence Friars.

Providence [17-12 (9-8), RPI: 77, SOS: 59] How soft is this bubble? Soft enough that if you stare really hard at it, you come to the at-first baffling conclusion that you must at least consider Providence at the very tail end of at-large tournament contention. To be honest, like fellow fringer Iowa, Ed Cooley’s team has been a lot better than you think this season (albeit not as good as the Hawkeyes — just similarly underrated). Their resume, on the other hand? Other than two home wins over Cincinnati and Notre Dame, a suddenly impressive sweep over Villanova and seven wins in their past eight, there’s still not much there. But would a win at UConn on Saturday get them close? Closer, at least. Worth keeping an eye on.

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.

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Ed Cooley and Bob Walsh will be going head to head at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Saturday when the Friars take on Rhode Island College in an exhibition game. Their relationship is a little more intimate than the average two head coaches. In 2004 before the NCAA Tournament, Walsh (then an assistant for Tim Welsh’s PC team — the last one to make the NCAA’s) met Ed Cooley (then an assistant at Boston College) at a Mobil station on I-95 to exchange game film. Oh Dropbox, where were you in 2004. So Cooley, couldn’t you have given us some better material on Pacific? That video surely didn’t help.

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This photo hangs in Bob Walsh’s office. (Photo New York Times)

The meeting was featured in the New York Times.

That was why Walsh was at a gas station in Attleboro, Mass., at 9:08 Sunday night. He met the Boston College assistant coach Ed Cooley to exchange videotapes of their N.C.A.A. tournament opponents.

Getting video is one of the biggest challenges of tournament preparation, especially if the opponent, like Pacific, has rarely played on television.

For the past two months, the Providence staff has recorded every televised game to create a video database. But when Walsh tried to tape the Big West final on Saturday night, he accidentally turned off the cable on the television. So when he popped the tape in Sunday night, instead of Pacific’s game against Cal State-Northridge, Walsh got ”Body By Jake” on a public-access channel.

”This could not be a worse draw as far as getting tapes and information,” Walsh said.

His fellow assistants Steve DeMeo and Phil Seymore spent the night on the phone getting scouting reports from teams like Canisius, Santa Clara and St. Joseph’s, who played Pacific this season.

Meanwhile, Walsh put together a bag of tapes of Boston College’s first-round opponent, Utah, and possible second-round opponents, Georgia Tech and Northern Iowa. Although they are conference rivals, the B.C. and Providence staffs get along well and routinely exchange tapes throughout the season. So Walsh met Cooley at their usual spot.

cbs_sports_logoWhile Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports is always quick to make digs at Providence College basketball (especially regarding Ricardo Ledo), he recognized all that is great with ICE COTTON today in his Top 50 shooters in the nation list.

47 

BRYCE COTTON
6-1 | 165 | SG | JR | PROVIDENCE

Can really make shots from long distance as he showed last season with the Friars. Was 77-of-203 for 38 percent from beyond the arc and also made 89 percent of his shots from the charity stripe.

Nobody made more threes in BIG EAST play last year than Bryce Cotton (although St. John’s guard D’Angelo Harrison tied him with 49 makes), and he will certainly continue to draw a lot of attention from opposing defenses looking to neutralize his strengths. Cotton is going to have to work hard to improve on these great numbers this year, especially since he will potentially spend a little time at the point when the roster is the “Iron 7″ in OOC play.

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Check out Kris Dunn’s reaction to Cotton’s play! (Photo by Kevin Reilly)

Kris Dunn Redshirt a Possibility

dave@friarblog —  October 18th, 2012 2:06 PM —  Comments
Kris Dunn Day

(Photo: New London Day, theday.com)

Up until this point we’ve pretty much assumed that Kris Dunn would be on the court come January after recovering from his shoulder injury. Everything Coach Cooley and Dunn have been saying recently would back up that assumption. At BIG EAST Media Day yesterday, Cooley talked about not rushing Dunn back, and waiting until he was 100%. What if that takes longer than expected?

Jeff Borzello of CBS wrote a story about PC’s future backcourt which included Cooley discussing the possibility of Kris Dunn taking a medical redshirt.

“Kris is coming along,” Cooley said. “Emotionally, he’s a little bit beat up, since he’s never been this situation. He’s out of his sling, and he’s made the best of it.”

The doctors have said Dunn should be able to return in December or January, but it depends on his recovery. Cooley mentioned the chance that Dunn would have to redshirt, if he decides it’s not worth it to rush him back from injury.

“It’s a possibility. But I’m trying to get him for every Big East game. I need him,” Cooley said. “But I’m in it for the long haul.”

While it sounds like Dunn is on the right track to being ready for the 2nd half of the season, Friartown is going to have to once again take a wait and see approach. Kris Dunn is the most important piece to Ed Cooley’s rebuilding process, and he isn’t going to mess around by risking that for a chance at a slightly better season now. Expectations are not exactly high this year, but not having Dunn for any part of the season would put a bit of damper on any thoughts of improving much on last year’s 4 win season.

Great job by the WarriorFriar getting a look at Vincent Council on the cover of the Athlon Sports College Basketball 2012-2013 Preview! Seems like a New England regional thing with UConn’s Shabazz Napier and BC’s Ryan Anderson, but still!

athlon

Katz on Ledo

dave@friarblog —  August 2nd, 2012 7:37 AM —  Comments

Andy Katz had some quick thoughts about Ricky Ledo in his “Three Point Shot” blog post when referencing the Friars trying to get Jake O’Brien.

ESPN: 3-point shot: Teams seek O’Brien’s services

Meanwhile, PC coach Ed Cooley is dealing with a more pressing matter. He’s hoping that star recruit Ricky Ledo can get a waiver to play or at least be on campus this season as his academic reports go through the Eligibility Center. Cooley would take Ledo on campus, even if he’s not eligible. Kansas had a similar situation with a stud recruit last season when Ben McLemore didn’t get eligible but was at least on campus and around the team last season to learn the system and adapt to the program. Ledo, who has lacked stability during his career, would benefit from being in one place for a few seasons.

Kris Dunn Feature in The Day

dave@friarblog —  March 8th, 2012 9:31 AM —  Comments

Mike DiMauro has a great piece in The Day about Kris Dunn’ background and family.

The Day: How New London’s Kris Dunn found his way home

John and Audra Seldon, in spite of seeing their son’s athletic ability, have reinforced education to their children faithfully. John Dunn, a former high school player at Montville, recently graduated from Central Connecticut with a degree in accounting. Education would be a component at college for Kris, too.

Enter Ed Cooley, the new, personable, energetic coach at Providence.

“I didn’t want a coach that was only going to teach him basketball,” Seldon said. “Kris needed a father figure. He needs a role model. Coach Cooley came from nothing.”

Seldon was asked if any coach other than Cooley discussed education with the family.

“No,” Seldon said bluntly. “Coach Cooley is the only one.”

In his Weekly Watch column today, Andy Katz picked Providence over UConn as his upset pick of the week.

Weekly Watch: Drama doesn’t have to wait for March Madness

Upset pick of the week

Providence over Connecticut, Tuesday: Traditionally, the Huskies haven’t played well at Providence. And the pressure will be immense on UConn to win this game after failing to score on a final possession against Syracuse. Providence has the offense to score against Connecticut from the perimeter. Of course, the question will be whether UConn has the focus to lock in and defend the Friars in what is a must-win game. Can the Huskies lose this game, beat Pitt on Saturday and make a mini-run in the Big East tournament to still earn a bid? Yes. But falling to PC would zap them of any momentum, save a return to the bench by Jim Calhoun if his surgery goes well Monday.

H/T @PhilRealMcCoy

It’s Saturday morning, the Friars are playing tonight, and my Giants are playing in the NFC Championship tomorrow night. To put some extra excitement in an already good weekend, John Rooke had the following to say in his “Thinking Out Loud” column on GoLocalProv.com

Let the good times roll? The Friars are inching ever-so-close to nailing down some big commitments from some big players…to add to a national Top 10 recruiting class for next year…

Wow.