Archives For Q and A

Q&A With Casual Hoya

@FriarFrenzy —  January 16th, 2013 10:27 AM —  Comments

The Friars (9-7, 1-3) visit the Nation’s capital tonight to take on the Georgetown Hoyas (11-3, 1-2).  It should be a good one as both teams are looking to build momentum after snapping losing streaks with convincing road victories and log their first Big East wins. To whet your appetite for tonight’s contest, the Casual Hoya and I exchanged some questions.

Below are the questions I posed to the Casual Hoya along with his responses.  Follow @CasualHoya and let him know what you think of his responses as well as tonight’s game.

You can find my answers to Casual’s questions on their site.

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Friarblog’s Answers on Rhody Rampage

Q & A with Rhody Rampage

dave@friarblog —  December 5th, 2012 6:39 PM —  Comments

20121205-184725.jpgIn prep for tomorrow’s big rivalry game against URI, I exchanged some questions with Dave Ascoli who runs the URI Blog “Rhody Rampage“. Stay tuned for my answers to his questions on Thursday.

Friarblog: In one word, describe the Jim Baron era at URI.

Rhody Rampage: Interminable.

Friarblog: Speaking of Jim Baron vs. new head coach Danny Hurley. What’s been the most significant between the two so far?

Rhody Rampage: Organization. I wasn’t as big of a Baron hater as most Rhody fans (not a Baron lover either), but Baron’s basic MO was to recruit raw athletes and have them run on offense and press on defense. Ram fans soon realized that he did this to sort of mask that he couldn’t coach a half-court offense or a half-court defense, which led to a very hectic brand of basketball. Hurley is more organized, they’re getting into offensive and defensive sets, running plays, ball screens, pick n rolls, you name it. Might be a little more boring to the casual fan, but it’s also a whole lot less frustrating.

Friarblog: In 2009, The Rams beat a young Friars team (that would eventually go 11-19) at the Ryan Center. Although URI was favored by 5 and half points, the fans decided to storm the court. How did you feel about that?

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Q & A with RIC Head Coach Bob Walsh

dave@friarblog —  November 1st, 2012 5:03 PM —  Comments


On Saturday the Friars will play their final tuneup before the season in an exhbition game against Rhode Island College at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Sitting on the opposing bench will be a familiar face around Friartown. Head coach Bob Walsh was a PC assistant under Tim Welsh from 1998-2005 before taking the head coaching job at Division III RIC.

Coach Walsh was kind enough to answer some questions over email about his program, Ed Cooley, and the upcoming game this weekend.

Be sure to follow Coach Walsh on Twitter at @CoachBobWalsh, and check out his blog which always has insightful posts about college basketball.

Friarblog: First off Coach, you spent 7 years as an assistant to Tim Welsh at Providence College. What were some of your best memories and experiences there?

Bob Walsh: The entire experience was fantastic. I grew up on the Big East, so coaching in some of the arenas I grew up watching was a great thrill. Winning in the Carrier Dome our first year was awesome. When we beat St. John’s in the Garden in 2004 to go to 20-5 and get up to 12th in the country, that was a great feeling. The Texas game at home was electric. Beating URI that first year for our first win was great. Getting a chance to coach the team against GW when Coach Welsh was ejected really gave me great confidence in seeing how I could connect with the kids and get them to react. Coach Mullaney sitting in my office to talk hoops during our first spring/summer there was a thrill. The 2 selection Sundays were awesome – you grow up watching that stuff on TV, and now you’re in it. Walking out of the SuperDome after our practice, before we played in the NCAA Tournament for the first time was terrific.

There were so many great memories, I could go on for a long time.

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In prep for tomorrow’s game against Georgetown, I exchanged some questions with the Georgetown Blog “Casual Hoya”. For our answers to his questions, head on over there.

Friarblog: What’s Georgetown been up to since we last met?

Casual Hoya: You mean other than Gym, Tanning, and Laundry? We played Syracuse and lost which sucked, but other than that we’re playing some good basketball, developing some casual chemistry, winning games we should win and avoiding any catastrophic losses. Things have actually been nice so far, and thank you very much for asking. You are very polite.

Friarblog: What were your impressions of Ed Cooley’s Friars after watching the first game in DC? What surprised you the most?

Casual Hoya: To be honest I was most struck at the resemblance between Cooley and The Wire’s Prop Joe, so for the first 30 minutes of the game I was quite distracted. I will say, however, that what impressed me the most about the Friars was that they didn’t quit and kept coming at the Hoyas, erasing a 14 point deficit and causing some panic within the fanbase that one of the aforementioned catastrophic losses might occur in what was Georgetown’s first Big East home game. The Friars have a good, young talented core and it won’t be too long before they’re back in the top tier of the Conference, which is good for everyone involved.

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In preperation for today’s rematch against South Florida, I exchanged some questions with Ken DeCelles the South Florida Blog “Voodoo Five”. I answered questions for them for the first game, but this time Friar Basketball answered them for this game. Head on over to Voodoo Five to read Kevin’s responses.

Friarblog: What’s new with the Bulls since the Friars visited at the end of January?

Voodoo Five: Nothing out of the ordinary really. We’ve only played two games since our battle at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, getting blown out at Georgetown and winning a surprisingly easy game against Pitt here in Tampa. Somehow we are still on the bubble, and The Quest For 16 is starting to become a reality. Fun times all around.

Friarblog: Without looking at the boxscores, I can guarantee you that Anthony Collins hasn’t made any threes since his two within those couple minutes during USF’s big run that was the difference in the game. Was that game a fluke or does he have another big shooting game in him at the Dunk?

Voodoo Five: No he didn’t, but at least he attempted one against the Hoyas. Anthony is able to run Coach Heath’s slow tempo offense almost to perfection, and he knows that a low percentage shot with plenty of time on the clock is a waste of a possession. He is gaining confidence in his shooting ability, and if left open he will let it loose. Will it mean a couple more threes? Who knows, but I do know Council will play him a little tighter today.

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Keepin’ it Casual: Q & A with Casual Hoya

dave@friarblog —  December 30th, 2011 11:21 AM —  Comments

In prep for tomorrow’s game against Georgetown, I exchanged some questions with the Georgetown Blog “Casual Hoya”. For our answers to his questions, head on over there.

Friarblog: The Friars should have a good team next season, but I’m always looking for a little extra edge. Do you recommend getting involved in some sort of international brawl this summer? What are some steps we can take to make that run smoothly?

Casual Hoya: Based on Georgetown’s performance after the incident in China, I highly recommend getting involved in any and all international brawls. Now that there appears to be a leadership gap in North Korea, I’d focus your efforts on arranging a scrimmage over there. Plus sides to such a game could be giant portraits of Ed Cooley paraded around various North Korean venues and thousands of cheering North Korean military personnel after Providence’s blowout victory that will be reported as a loss.

Friarblog: So aren’t you guys supposed to be rebuilding or something this year? Can the Hoyas keep this up?

Casual Hoya: Good question. This was indeed supposed to be a rebuilding year for Georgetown but the freshmen have played beyond their years. Otto Porter, Greg Whittington and Jabril Trawick have played like well-seasoned juniors, so Georgetown’s bench which was perceived as a preseason weakness has actually become one if its key strengths. Whether Georgetown can keep this up will eventually depend on Henry Sims’ ability to maintain his early season level of play and provide a viable post presence, but for now we’re certainly enjoying riding this Delusion Wave to whatever beach it winds up crashing on. (Note: New Orleans does not have a beach)

Read on after the Jump

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Q & A with Pico from Rumble in the Garden

dave@friarblog —  December 27th, 2011 2:53 PM —  Comments

In lieu of tonight’s game against St. John’s, I exchanged some questions with the St. John’s Blog “Rumble in the Garden” along with Kevin from Friar Basketball. For our answers to his questions, head on over there.

Friarblog: Providence and DePaul are the only games this year being played at Carnesecca Arena. Is that how the Friars are perceived in New York? The same level as DePaul??

Pico: Um… yes. Providence has been at the bottom of the league, and there’s no USF or Rutgers or Seton hall on the schedule at home. It’s a nice intimate environment!! (I can’t believe Cincinnati is getting the Garden. Really?)

Friarblog: Who is going to be the key to stopping Vincent Council?

Pico: The Red Storm play a lot of team-oriented defense, so no one person is the key, especially in the zone. It’s going to defend on the Johnnies’ ability to defend in transition and keep the Friars from getting easy looks at all. If Council starts going off, the stopping job should fall to Sir’Dominic Pointer, a better defender than Phil Greene and maybe better than Malik Stith at this time.

Friarblog: The Johnnies have a pretty poor 45% assist rate. Are they scoring lots of their points on fast breaks, or simply not passing the ball well? Does losing Lindsey and adding Amir Garrett change this aspect of the game at all?

Pico: It’s a combination of not hitting their shots and players needing to create their shots off of the dribble. At their best, the Red Storm generates points in transition, where no assist is needed. Still, the lack of passing is an indicator that the Red Storm offense isn’t fluid enough or organized enough to put up big assist numbers.

The big question for me is how does Garrett’s presence change things? Lindsey wasn’t much of a passer, but could hit an open God`sgift in transition or when he had a comfortable rental home’s worth of space by the charge circle. I think the passing numbers will drop even further.

Friarblog: Opponents aren’t getting many trips to the line. Gerard Coleman is 35th in the nation in foul shots attempted. What will give?

Pico: Depends on the zone’s recognition on the defense of Sir’Dominic Pointer and Phil Greene. Sometimes, they are effective at keeping opponents out of the lane, forcing outside shots. Other times, there is enough penetration that it breaks the zone down.

Kevin (Friar They played both Arizona and Texas A&M close in November, but have struggled a bit over the last month. Why? If I remember correctly, they went through a similar slump just before the Big East started last year – any similarities to this season?

Pico: This season’s struggles have some similarities to last year, in that the coaching staff is focused more on teaching the new system to players who haven’t played it. The defense, in both years, has been a issue as the team figures out the right balance between keeping opponents out of the paint, trapping on defense, and covering shooters.

Ah, but the details this year are different. Some differences in opinion about how the team should play led to Nurideen Lindsey’s slump and subsequent departure. When Lindsey was on, he was a major part of why the Red Storm were able to draw so many fouls on offense.

But with Lindsey not ineffective (and sloppy with the turnovers), the Red Storm attack stalled. The team has to create in the half court and off of the dribble. Without Lindsey – despite his lack of offensive efficiency, lack of a jump shot, and turnovers – generating points has been a bit more difficult.

Kevin (Friar Do you expect Harkless and Harrison to compete for BE Rookie of the Year? I love Harkless’ game and thought Harrison looked good against Arizona and was wondering what your thoughts were on the two.

Pico: Earlier this year I would have thought that Harkless would lose out on Rookie of the Year voting to Andre Drummond or someone else on a top team. But having seen the numbers Harkless has put up, I think he has a really strong shot for Rookie of the Year…

…so far. Neither Harkless or Harrison has stepped into Big East play. And both are developing their games; both may be on an upwards arc. Harrison hasn’t really gotten into his groove. Without Lindsey, Harrison may find himself creating more offense and using more possessions. Harkless is also settling into his offensive game, where he can get points in every way on the floor. Will he continue to rebound solidly for an out-of-position small forward? If he can maintain that rebounding rate, he has a solid shot of Rookie of the Year.

Kevin (Friar Thoughts on Nurideen Lindsey moving on?

Pico: Lindsey (as mentioned above) was a player with glaring flaws. But the things he did well on the floor – pure transition speed, an ability to draw fouls, defensive rebounding, and offensive relentlessness – will be hard to replace on this team, and maybe even in the next recruiting class.

But there’s only so far a team can go with a a player who doesn’t want to play his role. And Nurideen’s high usage rate kept the ball out of the hands of a number of players who needed a few more touches to develop.

For winning games this season, Nuri’s departure might hurt. For the development of the talent on the roster, for the team effort, and for developing a style for the next three years, Nuri’s absence might just help.

Kevin (Friar If Providence is going to upset St. John’s Tuesday night, how will it happen?

Pico: It’s hard to say. The team has struggled on offense for the past two games, and it’s hard to imagine how performances like that will earn a win against any Big East team. But with new forward Amir Garrett and a few days off, the team might work in a few wrinkles.

I’d say that if Providence doesn’t get back in transition, and if they foul the Red Storm a lot – especially in battles for rebounds off of St. John’s missed shots – the Friars could have problems. And if the outside shots aren’t falling for the Friars (and specifically Bryce Cotton), St. John’s can at times make things for players who need to slash into the paint (like Gerard Coleman, from what I’ve seen).

Kevin (Friar How much of a buzz has Cooley created outside of Providence? Fans here are in a near frenzy about next season with Kris Dunn and Ricardo Ledo joining an already good frontcourt – I can’t imagine what will happen if they land a big man to join them. Is the rest of the Big East in touch with how much Cooley has energized Providence?

Pico: I think the Big East sees how Cooley has gotten PC excited, but it’s not like he’s making new fans in New York yet. A lot of people haven’t seen the new Providence in action, but know they are managing to keep a couple of New England players at home. But it’s a long road to respectability, even with high-end talents. It’s exciting to have Providence on the way back. And playing defense.

Q & A with BC Interruption

dave@friarblog —  December 8th, 2011 1:14 PM —  Comments

In lieu of tonight’s game against Boston College,  I exchanged some questions with the Boston College Blog “BC Interruption“. For my answers to his questions, head on over here.

Friarblog: First of all, what the heck happened against UMass?

BC Interruption: BC jumped out to a nice 16-8 lead at the beginning of the game, but as the game wore on, the Eagles were simply outmatched by the Minutemen. Not five minutes into the game, UMass effectively shut down the BC offense. Credit to Derek Kellogg and the UMass coaching staff. UMass employed a full-court press and pressured the Eagles for most of the game, forcing an amazing 23 turnovers.

Later on, you could tell BC simply got frustrated. This is an extremely, extremely young team, and after getting a bit frustrated, the Eagles allowed UMass to score at will in the second half. Chaz Williams had his way with the BC defense, netting 16 points and 5 assists. UMass got plenty of open looks in the second half as they wore BC down.

Friarblog: Boston College is obviously a young team in rebuilding mode. Did you see enough good things last season with new coach Steve Donahue that you’re not in complete panic mode over the poor start?

BC Interruption: Two things. First I don’t know if any of the good things achieved last season under Donahue apply this season. Last year’s 1 seed in the NIT and 20+ wins was achieved with Skinner’s team, not Donahue’s. This year we lost seven seniors (including Reggie Jackson to the NBA) and most of our offensive production with it. This season, Donahue is literally starting from scratch.

Which leads me to two, we’re not in complete panic mode yet over the poor start. Eagles fans are going to have to be patient with this team. Progress can’t be measured in wins and losses. Rather it’s going to have to be measured in terms of improvement throughout the year, particularly on defense and in playing a complete 40 minute game (which the Eagles have yet to do this season).

Friarblog: I know we talked about this when the Friars were making this coaching change, but let’s get into it a little more. Why did Boston College pass on Ed Cooley after Skinner was canned, and what were your thoughts with the decision?

BC Interruption: I think the decision ultimately came down to wanting to make a clean break from the Al Skinner era. Personally, I thought that Skinner deserved one more year (last year) before getting canned, but I guess you can only trade on a 2001 Big East Tournament title for so long.

With due respect to Donahue, I may have leaned towards wanting to see Cooley become the next head coach, but I understand the thought process. Donahue was a more proven, more accomplished head coach at the time, and if you couldn’t tell, former Ivy League coaches seem to be all the rage these days.

Donahue now has a clean slate in which to work, and it will be interesting to see what he does with this team over the next few years. If he was able to bring in the right players, things should start to pay off in 2-3 years when all these freshmen are upperclassmen. Only time will tell.

Friarblog: The Friars are excelling this season when getting out in the open court, allowing Vincent Council, Gerard Coleman, and Bryce Cotton to do their thing. How will BC matchup against PC’s quick guards?

BC Interruption: Not well? Gabe Moton will probably be assigned to guard Vincent Council, but this is simply a bad matchup for BC.

Friarblog:  I must say, looking at the roster I don’t recognize any players (Thank God that Trapani guy is gone, I feel like he always killed us). Who should the Friars be looking out for?

BC Interruption: Junior Matt Humphrey, a transfer from Oregon, can be effective if he does a better job of distributing the ball and not forcing shots. Also keep an eye on freshmen Ryan Anderson and Patrick Heckmann. Heckmann may be the most complete player on the team. He seems to be the one guy on the team not afraid to make a play. It’s still pretty early but I would argue Heckmann will wind up being BC’s leading scorer and leader when it’s all said and done this season.

Friarblog: If Boston College is going to beat the Friars, they must ___

BC Interruption: Play a 40 minute game. BC hasn’t put together a solid 40 minutes all season. Donahue was quoted as saying that the Eagles played a good 33 minute game against Penn State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Eagles are slowing getting to the point where they can put together a full game, but I’m not sure BC is there yet.

Friarblog:  Score Predictions?

BC Interruption: Pain. PC poses a bunch of matchup issues for the Eagles and I don’t like the fact that the game is at the Dunk. I think BC sticks with the Friars for a half before the PC offense wears them down early in the second half. Providence 75, Boston College 58.