Archives For Ed Cooley

I’m not happy about writing this. I want to make that very clear right now. I – like most of my fellow Friar journalists – didn’t even want to write about Ledo in the draft this year. If we could have it our way we all would’ve been watching Ledo next season in a Friar uniform. Obviously that didn’t happen, so instead we all wanted to write about Ledo beating the odds – to be the exception to the proverbial rule – and get drafted in the first round. Shake the commissioner’s hand, put on the hat, having highlights of…some game he was in play while all the analysts say their bit.

This was a particularly good highlight of Ledo's ball handling skills.

This was a particularly good highlight of Ledo’s ball handling skills.

There might’ve been some sort of redemption in that story, right? But instead we’ve ended up with the brilliant kid in high school who could get into Harvard no problem if he just was patient and applied himself, but instead chose to believe he was a shoe in based on what he was told.

Guess what? He didn’t get in. He got called at 43 overall, with talent that people have barely heard of going well before him. He’s going to be playing on the Bucks next year (or the Mavs. Or the Sixers. Or the Hawks. Look I have no idea honestly, it’s chaos right now. But I think it’s the Mavs.) and that’s assuming he makes the team. We all know the story of second round picks.

But you know what? I want to look at this from a different perspective. All we’ve heard since April 15 is “Ledo, Ledo, Ledo, Ledo, Ledo, Ledo…Ledo.” What about us? The fans? The coaching staff? The program? The Ricky Ledo saga is officially over, but what’s this mean for everyone else?

Let’s talk about it.

Continue Reading…

TGIF-ABC

-It was a fine NIT run for the Friars, capped off by a great and entertaining effort under difficult circumstances.

-A tremendous experience for players, coaches and fans and a true building block for the program.

-Baylor is flat out good and a tough matchup for this team anytime, anywhere.  In this case Providence essentially had no break between games.  They began their travels to Waco, via Boston, immediately after Monday night’s hard-fought win over Robert Morris and had to take on a very talented and athletic Baylor team, who was equally invested in winning the game, on Wednesday in their arena.

-The Friars went blow-for-blow for 35 plus minutes in a high octane contest but understandably wore down in the end.

-The maturation of this program under Ed Cooley has been a work in progress from day one and what was satisfying and exciting about the second half of this season is that it provided us with the first visible and quantifiable breakthroughs.

-The Dunk was a great scene for the Charlotte and Robert Morris NIT games.

-A testament to the Friartown faithful, who really helped get those games closed out.

-Cooley’s impromptu postgame address to the fans was great to see.

-But my favorite part was the coach getting frustrated with the band as they kept playing, unaware that Cooley was trying to say something.

-Good thing to because I think Cooley, in his frustration, had a few choice words that got muffled out by the music.

-Can’t wait until next year.

-A little investment advice.  Sell your JoS. A. Bank stock because the suits are going back in the closet baby.

-Actually, first I can’t wait until April 28th which is the deadline to declare for the NBA draft.

-Should be an interesting month in just another ho hum offseason in Friartown, right?

-When asked about Ricky Ledo’s status on Thursday by ABC6’s Ken Bell, Ed Cooley repeated previously made comments saying he hopes Ledo, “does the right thing” and stays in school but that he will support Ledo in his decision either way.

-Cooley also told Bell that he got a pedicure last year, liked it and plans on getting another one soon.

-He had his nails painted black and white of course.

-What do you call someone who administers a pedicure?

-A pedicurist?

-Whatever it is, if they mess up on Cooley’s feet do they get the focus machine?

-Getting back to Ledo, if you are looking for a point of reference, according to Zags Blog and SNYtv, St. John’s freshman and Big East Rookie of the Year JaKarr Sampson will likely be staying with the Red Storm for another season.

-Regardless of what happens with Ledo, Cooley has not ruled out adding another recruit to next year’s roster per the Providence Journal’s Kevin McNamara.

-The Friars have had success historically in finding good players late in the recruiting process (See Sharraud Curry, Bryce Cotton and LaDontae Henton).

-All the best to Vincent Council in his future endeavors.

-The coaching carousel is intriguing each year and the first really significant domino has fallen with Ben Howland out at UCLA.

-No movement yet on the established name front with VCU’s Shaka Smart and North Carolina State’s Mark Gottfried pledging to stay put while Jamie Dixon and Pittsburgh agreed on a new long term deal as rumors swirled about Dixon’s heading west to take the UCLA job.

-However our friends to the south took a hit as URI assistant Bobby Hurley will take the reins at Buffalo.

-Who knows?  Maybe Bobby and brother Dan will meet sooner than later when the Atlantic 10 is forced to add Buffalo to the conference.

-Actually have to give kudos to the Atlantic 10.  They have taken significant and virtually unavoidable conference realignment blows and could easily have become the “Titanic 10” if not for some smart and swift maneuvering.

-More A10 departures are likely over the next year or two as the Big East rounds out but they have navigated the conference realignment waters as well as could be expected, adding VCU and Butler last year and quickly scooping up George Mason earlier this week when the Big East took  Butler and Xavier.
-Getting back to coaching changes, wonder if Andre LaFleur gets a few calls?

-If he does, it will not be as many as Florida Gulf Coast University’s Andy Enfield though.
-Hey Red Sox brass.  Here is a brand management strategy for you…..Go get a good team.

-That said, the Red Sox are primed to overachieve this year given the ultra low expectations.

-Under promise.  Over deliver.

-The Red Sox will be scouting the minor league Lehigh Valley IronPigs hard this season.

-Not to find players but to gage the impact of the IronPigs’ new urinal gaming system on the fan experience and revenue generation.

Please don't shake your money maker. Please. Don't. (Photo from usnews.com)

Please don’t shake your money maker. Please. Don’t. (Photo from usnews.com)

-Here’s hoping everybody stays in their lanes.

-It’s good to see the Red Sox gave up lying about the sellout streak for Lent though.

-I tried to peel back the onion and all I found was more onion.

-Hope the Easter Bunny is good to you.

-This will probably be the last TGIF installment for this season.  I need to study for my pedicurist exam.

-Thanks for reading and for your comments.  You all are the best.  I will catch you on Twitter (@FriarFrenzy) in the meantime.  See you in the fall and GO FRIARS!!

Have a great weekend Friartown.  Be safe.

TGIF-ABC

-The Friars rode a solid second half, one that saw their leaders step up, to a gutsy NIT first round victory over Charlotte marking yet another great step in the evolution of this program under Ed Cooley.

-And that was great but props the crowd and atmosphere at The Dunk.  The students did a heck of a job masquerading as seat backs so it was not a huge crowd (4,953 official attendance) but whatever was lacking in quantity was trounced by quality.

-The Friar faithful were into it from the get go (OK, in large part due to the horrible refereeing) and stayed in it through the choppy first half, only to grow stronger as the Friars took care of business in the second stanza.

-And we get to do it again on Monday against what will be a tough and game Robert Morris squad.

-Lots of good stuff but if Providence wants to get deep into this tournament they need to be more composed around the basket.  They have missed an inordinate amount of normally higher percentage shots this year.

-Rumors have been rampant for some time about red shirt junior Kadeem Batts possibly leaving the program after this year given he is set to graduate this spring.

-Rumors stoked and seemingly validated when Scott Cordischi , who has a strong track record with Friar information, recently reported via GoLocalProv.com about sources confirming Batts’ departure as imminent.

-Not so fast my friends.  Late Wednesday in a presumed response Batts tweeted, ‘Sources are wrong…’.

-And Friartown rejoiced.

-For Batts is huge part of what this team can be next season.

-LaDontae Henton is not afraid of the moment.  Never has been and that is one of his strengths.

-Buckets hit a clutch jumper late against Charlotte but more impressive was his heady play down the stretch, turning down what would have been a difficult shot from underneath the backboard (a shot he typically takes), and extending a possession that ultimately led to a monster Bryce Cotton three ball.

-Speaking of Ice, he made incredibly athletic adjustments to catch and dunk two equally creative alley-oop feeds from Kris Dunn.

-Cotton played with great confidence on Wednesday and the results followed.

-And the growth of Dunn has been flat out fun to see.

-Scary moment when he appeared to tweak the shoulder though.

-There is bad refereeing and there is inconsistent refereeing.

-Unfortunately we have seen a lot of both at the same time this year.

-Absolutely loving the ten team structure for the new Big East next season (adding Xavier, Butler and Creighton to the Catholic 7 if you missed it).

-The conference will likely grow to twelve before too long, but for now it means we get to see every conference opponent at The Dunk which is fantastic.

-Oh, and the Big East tournament will continue at Madison Square Garden, where it belongs, until at least 2026 per a new agreement.

-Hey ACC, do you like apples?

See, Matt Damon is the Big East, Skylar's number is MSG and that a-hole guy with the pony tail is the ACC. No actual apples were hurt in the production of this post. (Photo curragh-labs.org)

See, Matt Damon is the Big East, Skylar’s number is MSG and that a-hole guy with the pony tail is the ACC. No actual apples were hurt in the production of this post. (Photo curragh-labs.org)

-Honestly, if I were an ACC decision maker I would not want the tournament at Madison Square Garden.

-It’s just not creative or original.  Build your own legacy.

-We know the ACC are Big East wannabes but why continue to make it so obvious by pursuing their venue?

-There are other cities that would make a great destination (Miami, New Orleans?)  and experience for ACC teams and fans.

-But then again, going after every last dollar is not very creative or original either so there you have it.

-There’s no truth to the rumor that the ACC tournament committee is mulling a rule change where teams will have to use a football rather than a basketball during tournament play.

-One rule change I think I’d be for if it were put out there is if a game goes to overtime all players who did not previously foul out get an additional foul for each overtime session.
-Last off-season there were a slew of transfers across division one basketball (over 600 if memory serves).  Curious to see if the trend continues this year.

-Thoughts and prayers go out to the Seton Hill (PA) community who lost their women’s lacrosse coach Kristina Quigley, who was pregnant, and bus driver Anthony Guaetta this past week in a fatal bus crash.

-Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams is a lot of things, but (presently anyway) a clutch player is not one of them.

-But if MCW spurs a heroic Final Four charge for the Orange I once again reserve the right to change my mind.

-Louisville’s Gorgui Dieng is likely to turn pro after this season and he is going to make whoever drafts him very happy.

-Louisville playing in Rupp Arena as the NCAA tournament’s number one overall seed, forcing Kentucky to hit the road for their NIT opening round game and lose is steeped in irony.

-As is the idea that Louisville just might be college basketball’s “model franchise” when many have thought of John Calipari’s Kentucky program that way.

-Edgar Renteria announced his retirement from professional baseball. Does this mean the Red Sox get to stop paying him now?

Have a great weekend Friartown.  Be safe.

 

What better way to get things started than looking at the mascot of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (also known as N.C.-Charlotte, N.C.-Char, North Carolina-Charlotte, UNC, UNC-C, UNCC) 49ers?

Is it the 49ers mascot or a homeless man at Kennedy Plaza that keeps asking you for bus fare even though he has nowhere to go?

Charlotte played its regular season basketball in the Atlantic 10, although they will be moving to Conference USA as of July 2013, and finished with the same winning percentage, .500, as our beloved Providence Friars did. Wins over La Salle, Xavier and UMass headlined their resume early on in the season.

A one point loss at Temple and a seven point loss at home to VCU gave reason for some excitement because of the way they hung with and nearly upset two of the top two teams in the league and both NCAA Tournament selections.

Their best win of the year came against the forever known Cinderella of college basketball in the Butler Bulldogs. The 49ers were led by Pierria Henry, dropping 17 points including two late free throws, to end a twelve game win streak Butler had at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Just when you thought Ed Cooley had the best one or two liners after big wins or losses, look no further than Charlotte head coach Alan Major to change your mind.

“Does anybody have a stretcher?” Charlotte coach Alan Major said. “I may need to be carried out of here after that one.”

Just for future reference coach: a please wouldn’t kill you.

Sadly for Coach Major, most of you reading this wouldn’t mind him to utter these words after his team gets done at the Dunk Wednesday night.

They enter their NIT game against the Friars coming off a decisive loss at the hands of St. Louis in Atlantic 10 quarterfinals. At 21-11, 8-8, don’t expect Charlotte to succumb to the pressure of facing a school from a power six conference as the 49ers faced Miami and Florida State in their non-conference season.

Led by Chris Braswell, Pierria Henry and Willie Clayton, the 49ers are a deep rebounding time that isn’t afraid to hit the glass. Braswell averaged nearly 12 points per game to go along with 5.5 boards. The senior forward will do his best to keep his career alive and will try and go to work on the low block early on in the game. Henry is probably their most prolific scorer as the sophomore guard has shown he can score in bunches. He scored 17 against a very good guard defending team in Butler and a season high 28 points and 12 rebounds against Richmond in the A-10 tournament to put the team on his shooting hand, and free throw line as he scored his final 8 at the free throw line after the much talked about controversial ending and technical fouls.

There isn’t much that Charlotte can throw at the Friars that they haven’t seen this year, except maybe Norm The Niner.

Can we all acknowledge that in a mascot with a drugged out dragon, a bear in the Bloods, a cigarette butt and a nightmare-fuel pig, Niner is SOMEHOW the awkward one? Thanks.

In their quarterfinal game against St. Louis, Braswell noted the one thing that Charlotte could not contend with.

“They were just speeding us up,” Braswell said. “We were just rushing, trying to make home run passes.”

If there is one thing that Council, Cotton and Dunn can do to you is speed you up. It isn’t a style the Friars have seen much of this season as Ed Cooley prefers to milk some clock and run the different half court sets he has in place, but he has always said he is the type of coach that wants his teams to get up and down. Kadeem Batts should be able to hold his own and more against a heavily dependent front-court team in the 49ers.

One thing to keep an eye out for is the how the Friars start. It has said time and time again over the last few weeks that Cooley has been unable to get the start he, nor the fans, have been hoping for. After an emotional win against Richmond, Charlotte showed very little resistance against St. Louis.

TGIF-ABC

-It was a good run while it lasted but it was not to be. The Friars ran into two good teams in Connecticut and Cincinnati who played well while Providence sputtered a bit, for various reasons. All in all it is a season (hopefully not over) that Friartown can be proud of and certainly one to build upon.

-The NIT can be a funny beast when it comes to selections but you would have to think the Friars will be in.

-Their resume is acceptable and they have the added bonus of being one of only a couple of Big East teams that will be considered and should draw well at The Dunk.

-Getting an NIT bid would be a very positive step for this program, especially when you factor in where it was two years ago.

-Perhaps things would have been different if the injury and depth situation was not so extreme early on, causing the chemistry to be off well into conference play but I am not so sure.

-Certainly the Connecticut and Cincinnati games indicated that the Friars were not quite an NCAA tournament caliber team just yet.   Connecticut and Cincinnati are.

-Yes I know Connecticut cannot play in the NCAA tournament this year. Stop it.

-It is one thing to get beat physically or because of a talent discrepancy but the Friars did not play well mentally in the last two games.

-They played the opponent’s game and were not able to impose their own style consistently enough.

-It had plenty to do with who they were playing but the Friars were rushed and it led to poor shot selection.

-A lot of the open shots were not falling either, which happens, but could have not come at a worse juncture.

-In a previous TGIF installment I talked about not being sympathetic about the Big East breaking up because I did not think it made sense to give the schools that caused the breakup a pass.  I said it did not have to happen.  They did not have to leave.   Well…

-Like the Big Tuna once said, “I reserve the right to change my mind.”

-Sort of anyway.

-I still think traditional Big East schools like Syracuse and Pittsburgh bolting for ‘greener’ pastures is selfish and deserves no positive ink.  They can go pound sand (or tobacco) as far as I’m concerned.

-But what I failed to separate was the schools’ out of touch decision makers from their basketball programs and traditions.

-Because these programs helped make the Big East the greatest college basketball conference that will ever exist.

-And the Big East tournament the ultimate showcase.

-Seeing this last Big East tournament as we know it play out is the reason I have changed my tune (or tuna).

-So come Saturday when a champion is crowned it will be OK to hold on to the numerous memories created by the bevy of timeless classics this league has provided but it will also be time to move forward.

-And a very promising future awaits.

-Given the Friars performance in the Big East tournament over the years maybe it would have been better if the Catholic 7 did not retain Madison Square Garden for future tournaments.

-If you get the ball behind or under your offensive backboard don’t try to shoot.

-You have watched PC this year and you know those attempts get blocked like 98% of the time.

-Not going to rail too much on Vincent Council as his career and talent speak for themselves but he did not play well in these last two key games.

-It’s not all on Council either.  He and his teammates played hard against Cincinnati but no one really played well.

-Providence’s lack of depth showed itself as the season wore on.

-Offensive execution definitely regressed, including in some of the wins during the hot streak.

-See Bryce Cotton.  His numbers were actually better prior to the team going on its run in February.

-In all games prior to February 3 (Villanova), Cotton shot 46.6% from the floor and 40.3% from three point range.  The numbers did not really change when looking at only Big East games prior to February 3 (47.1%/39.2%) but they fall off dramatically from February 3 on.  During that stretch Cotton shot just 37.1% from the floor and 29.4% from downtown.

-That said congratulations to ICE on his First Team All-Big East selection.  It was earned and deserved without question.

-Same goes for Kadeem Batts’ All-Big East Honorable Mention and co-Most Improved Player accolades.

-Batts’ MIP partner, Michael Carter-Williams is a tremendous talent and had a big year but classifying him as ‘most improved’ does not seem to capture the spirit of the award as much as Batts does.

-I’ll watch the Friars play anytime but definitely understand Ed Cooley’s position on not playing in the CBI if no NIT bid comes to Friartown.

-Especially if you buy into the idea that the season long lack of depth is taking its toll now.

-An issue which the Friars should not have next year.

-Are the Patriots just going to put the number 83 jersey on Danny Amendola and hope nobody notices?

So you are saying I should sign "Wes Welker" on all autographs but I still get the $31 Mil?  OK! (Photo: msn.foxsports)

So you are saying I should sign “Wes Welker” on all autographs but I still get the $31 Mil? OK! (Photo: msn.foxsports)

-Amendola’s fantasy football value went up a bit this week though.

-Which is to say he has some now?

Have a great weekend Friartown.  Be safe.

TGIF-ABC

-The Friars continue to surge, taking care of business with wins over St. John’s and Seton Hall, remarkably getting themselves over .500 in the Big East with one key game left in the season on Saturday afternoon against a battered and bruised Connecticut squad.

-The late-season success has everyone around Friartown (myself including) scouring the NCAA tournament prognostication outlets and experts looking for glimmers of hope, but the fact of the matter is that there really is no discussion to be had unless Providence takes down the Huskies first.

-Looking back a week, it was about a must win three game stretch to close the regular season just to inch into the conversation and that has not changed.

-If they beat Connecticut who knows how many more wins it would take to get to the big dance?

-Best bet for the Friars is to just keep winning.

-Leave no doubt.

-Or as Jake Taylor said in ‘Major League’, “Well I guess there is only one thing left to do. Win the whole fu**ing thing.”

Jake Taylor: Motivational speaker...and chicken lover. (Photo: bleacherreport.com)

Jake Taylor: Motivational speaker…and chicken lover. (Photo: bleacherreport.com)

-Easier said than done, of course, but I would not put it past this team to be playing for NCAA tournament seeding next weekend.

-All that said, it wouldn’t hurt to have as many favorites in the smaller conference tournaments win out and keep the at large field as bubble-friendly as possible.

-Regardless of what happens over the next week-plus, you realize we are just scratching the surface here, right?

-Given the stakes and the consistent intensity Providence has shown I would not expect anything to cause a letdown on Saturday.

-But, just in case, hopefully Ed Cooley held study hall during the Connecticut at South Florida game and banned further access to the score because the Huskies got handled and looked like the will had been beaten out of them.

-Injuries played a big part (sound familiar?) and Connecticut will definitely be short-handed on Saturday, but just how much is to be determined.

-Enosch Wolf (suspension), Tyler Olander and Niels Giffey (injuries) are definitely out.

-But the killer for the Huskies could be in the ‘questionnables’.

-Star guards Shabazz Napier (who missed UCONN’s last two games with a foot injury) and Omar Calhoun (wrist injury that clearly bothered him versus South Florida) are likely to both be game time decisions.

-Interesting how the player availability gods have leveled things out for the Friars lately.

-Providence College did a nice job with “Senior Night” for Vincent Council, who certainly deserved the fitting sendoff.

-Here’s hoping he has a little more to add to his great legacy.

-Since the beginning of February Council and Kris Dunn have a combined 3.06 to 1 assist to turnover ratio (Council 3.05/1, Dunn 3.1/1).

-As a point of comparison, Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams’ is 2.43 to 1 during the same period.

-So the football schools get $100 million while the  Catholic 7 get their independence, $10 million, the Big East name and Madison Square Garden for their tournament in the break-up.

-A fitting appropriation as it has always been about money for football as opposed to quality of product, national relevance and legacy for basketball.

-I can’t wait to go to that new movie theater, the America 12.

-Although they apparently only show mediocre movies and it takes a really long time to get from one screen to the other.

-Referees are the only people I like to bother while they are working.

-Speaking of referees, is there any way we can get Mike Aresco to keep the current Big East officiating crew for our $100 mil?

-The wheels fell off the St. John’s express pretty quickly, huh?

-I am not going to put the entire state of the Red Storm program on a supposedly insubordinate D’Angelo Harrison or a free swinging Sir’Dominic Pointer but let’s just say by comparison I like the way Ed Cooley handled the people and character aspects first before turning the focus toward winning at basketball.

-Small knives are going to be allowed on planes again?

-There’s progress for you.

-I don’t know what a Vanderpump is and I don’t want to know what a Vanderpump is.

-Hopefully Kadeem Batts returns for his senior season (No reason to believe he won’t but it will be fifth year and he has pro potential so there are no guarantees). If he does he should be a Big East Player of the Year Candidate.

-Looks like the Catholic 7 will be departing for next year so it seems appropriate that the Friars would end this Big East with Connecticut, a good rivalry and the one upper-echelon Big East team Providence has been consistently competitive with over the years.

-It makes sense that they would continue to play beyond the conference split though too and I hope they do.

-A public service announcement from Friarblog.com and FriarFrenzy.  If you see a deadly scorpion on the ground, don’t pick it up.

Have a great weekend Friartown.  Be safe.

Take a rewind back to November 2012. We had just found out that Ricky Ledo will most likely not be playing this year. Questions were being raised if Kris Dunn would be able to play this year because of his shoulder injury, or if he’d have to redshirt. We were fielding an already thin team with two key frontcourt players – Carson Desrosiers and Tyler Harris – ineligible this season due to transfer rules, and another frontcourt member – Sidiki Johnson – not able to play until Colgate for the same reason. Then, Vincent Council, our ONLY senior and ONLY true point guard at the time, got injured within minutes of the first game.

If any of you honestly said “you know, I think this team will definitely win at least 8 Big East games, get hot in February, and be just shy of the NCAA bubble” you were either:

  1. Lying
  2. Drunk
  3. On an illegal amount of Prozac and medical marijuana
  4. Both 1 and 2 but not 3

And yet, here we are, now 8-8, definitely .500 overall for the season, and currently listed as the 8th or 9th team out of the NCAA tournament (or, if you’re Jay Bilas, we’re in the top 68 but not really). Sure, nothing is set in stone for the NCAA tournament, but did you honestly think we’d even be having this discussion back in November?

Better question – is there any doubt about this team left?

If you said “yes” to the above, these words are dedicated to you.

You know how this works, let’s dive in!

Continue Reading…

TGIF-ABC

-Hope you like change Friartown because the time has come to look at things differently.

-It is no longer about next year or trying to get a decent win or two to build on.

-It is no longer about the potential for future success.

-It is about real and measurable progress.

-It is about now. It is about this team.  This year.

-Your Friars have a chance to achieve something real.

-They already have in many ways.

-They may or may not get into the NCAA tournament discussion but I believe the Friars have reached the point where they will not let the moment beat them.

-Because they have demonstrated they know what it takes to win in the Big East.

-These Friars have learned they can’t take any opponent or situation for granted, and understand that while they will have some rough stretches over the course of 40 minutes they can stay the course and battle through rather than fold up the tent, panic or get desperate.

-They have learned that it revolves around defensive intensity.

-They have learned to trust and believe in what they are trying to accomplish.

-More specifically it is about Saturday night.

-At The Dunk.

-Against St. John’s.

-No better setting.

- And it is a big one to be sure.

-One of the most important regular season games for the Friars in years.

-Mission March

-It is a fitting and timely matchup as well. People circled this game on the schedule early on given the teams  are on similar paths and due to the recruiting back story as Ed Cooley and Steve Lavin vied for talent.

-Those clashes favored Lavin, but recruiting is one thing. Let’s see who wins the battle on the floor.

-Providence – St. John’s has a chance to be one of the great rivalries for years to come in the new Catholic league.

-This is obvious but the suspension of D’Angelo Harrison, St. John’s leading scorer (15.3 PPG in Big East games) and best free throw shooter among those with any meaningful number of attempts, is a huge loss for the Red Storm.

-Before this news broke, I had planned to write that Harrison is St. John’s most dangerous player and the one who scared me the most leading into Saturday’s game.

-I guess I just wrote it anyway.

-Even with Harrison, the Johnnies have struggled to find consistent scoring this season, averaging just 64.3 points per game in Big East play (11th in the league) and have scored fewer than 60 points in seven of their 15 conference games

-By comparison, the Friars are scoring 67.1 points per game in conference play (6th in the league) and have failed to reach 60 just three times (two of them victories).

-Not a reason or excuse for the Friars to relax at all.  And they won’t.

-LaDontae Henton has elevated his game in recent weeks.  Buckets is averaging 16.3 points and 9.8 rebounds over his last four games.

-That includes two straight double-doubles, giving Henton ten this season (had nine last year) which trails only Notre Dame’s Jack Cooley (18) in the Big East.

-The four game surge for Henton includes better three-point shooting (and shot selection).  Buckets has gone 7-12 (58.3%) from deep during that time.

-The other big news this week of course were the reports that negotiations between the Catholic 7 and the Big East appear to be progressing so well that the new Catholic league could actually start play next year as a ten team league, ultimately rounding out to twelve in year two.

-And it looks like the Catholic 7 will make good use of some of that stockpiled Big East exit fee and NCAA tournament unit cash to keep the Big East name and lock up Madison Square Garden as its conference tournament venue.

-Oh, and there is that monster TV deal from Fox, which could be announced on Tuesday.

-In other words, it could not have worked out better for the Catholic 7.

-If the reports are true, give some credit to both sides for working this out amicably, sensibly and quickly.
-Individual honors are what they are but Bryce Cotton should be on this year’s All-Big East 1st Team.

-Probably won’t happen though.  And for no good reason.

-What will happen is Georgetown’s Otto Porter being named Big East Player of the Year.

-St. John’s did receive some good news this week when (yes, former Friar target) Orlando Sanchez was granted one year of eligibility which he will use next season.

-Sanchez was originally ruled ineligible because he played three minutes for the Dominican Republic national team.

-And the NCAA had ruled the case closed.

-That was until the last week or so when St. John’s hired attorney to challenge the ruling.

-Well they must have hired Breaking Bad’s Saul Goodman because that was some quick work.

Call Saul. (Photo by Bob Odenkirk, breaking-bad.de)

Call Saul. (Photo by Bob Odenkirk, breaking-bad.de)

-Ironically Lavin red-shirted God’sgift Achiuwa thinking Sanchez would play this year and now will have them both back next season with one year of eligibility left.

-That commercial where Dikembe Mutombo is blocking everything cracks me up every time.

-A hundred NFL players will have their contracts restructured so teams can free up cap space this off season. Tom Brady should not be praised nor vilified for being one of them.

-Contract restructuring as much a part of the league as film study or reading defenses.

-But Brady’s e-mail commenting on the matter was intended to be private, and should not have been made public without his permission.

-Which he did not grant, and was apparently not happy when it got out.

-While we are at it, I don’t think it is right, fair or responsible for professional media to speculate publicly on potential successors for a coach who has not been fired.

-Or at least one whose impending firing can be confirmed and corroborated by multiple and trusted sources.

-Soooo, those post season uniforms designed by Adidas for Notre Dame, Louisville, Cincinnati, Kansas, Baylor and UCLA?

-Ummmm. Some sort of Harlem Shake prelude, maybe?

-Let’s get this tomorrow.

Have a great weekend Friartown.  Be safe.

T.G.I.F: Thank God It’s Friartown 02.22.13

@FriarFrenzy —  February 22nd, 2013 1:32 PM —  Comments

TGIF-ABC

-Congratulations to Vincent Council, the Big East’s all-time assist leader.

-Humble pie is a dish served Orange.

-When you get right down to it, Syracuse is better than Providence.  It’s that simple.

-Sometimes talent discrepancies can be mitigated by advantageous matchups, but in the case of Providence and Syracuse the matchups favor Syracuse too given their length and versatility at every position.

-It would take a great game plan, outstanding execution and shooting by Providence coupled with a subpar effort by Syracuse for the Friars to have a chance in any meeting with the Orange.

-Obviously this did not happen on Wednesday.

-Then you have the always mesmerizing Syracuse zone.  The Friars executed well enough against it early on, mainly because they did not treat it like a zone.  They used screens and cuts and navigated the baseline area well to get opportunities.

-The problem is that Syracuse’s zone is as much or more of a mental challenge than it is a physical one (and it is a huge physical challenge).  Players and coaches seemingly have to scrap everything they have ever learned about attacking a zone.

-But it is hard to resist the urge over the course of a full game to attack what you might think are gaps and throw the ball into the foul line area, and that’s when the Orange have you where they want  you.

-They get their hands on everything, and then it’s off to the races.

-I think Syracuse set record for alley oops converted in a game with 362.

-Never mind Syracuse, you are not going to beat anyone shooting 34.8 % from the field and 16.7% from three-point range.

-The Providence Journal reported that Bryce Cotton did not practice leading up to the Syracuse game due to a sore knee.

-Ed Cooley and a few of his players talked about the need to get amnesia after the Syracuse loss.
-I prefer to drink to forget but, OK, the amnesia approach might work too.

-I thought Cooley and the team said all the right things after the game.  Another sign that they are maturing and together as a unit.

-While all of Friartown was hopeful, no one really expected Providence to win at Syracuse though, right?

-We were giddy with the recent success and wanted to keep it rolling with a signature win.

-And that’s fine. It is what being a fan is all about.

-And there are a lot of reasons to be positive about the Friars these days.

-Continue to be optimistic.

-Stay the course.
-It was really never about Syracuse anyway.  The real opportunity lies in the season’s last four games.

-Another stretch where each game is realistically winnable but the Friars cannot afford to sleep on anyone because all four of their opponents will be hungry and confident that they can win.

-If the Friars go 3-1, they finish .500 in the Big East.  Think about that for a second.

-In a league that chose them to finish last.

-From preseason last place predictions to postseason talk in February.

-That is progress. And it is still about making progress.

-Told you there was no way the Friars were finishing last.

-That sound you hear is me patting myself on the back.

-Always bet on the field!

-The Big East tournament is always great, and this year’s should offer more intrigue for Friar fans than in recent history, but if they go 4-0 to finish the regular season, it gets really interesting.

-So it’s must win time Saturday night on the road in a tough gym.

-Time magazine recently reported that some states are looking to replace gender-specific words with those of a more gender-neutral nature.  One example would be to replace ‘freshman’ with ‘first-year student’.

-Seriously?  I’ll start doing that about the same time I use a capital ‘S’ Marshon Brooks’ first name.

Freshman, freshman, freshman.  Marshon, Marshon, Marshon. So take that!  (Photo: motifake.com)

Freshman, freshman, freshman. Marshon, Marshon, Marshon. So take that! (Photo: motifake.com)

-Great story relayed by Ed Cooley on his coach’s show with Frank Carpano.  Apparently there was a kid with a Boston College sweatshirt sitting court side at The Dunk last Saturday for the Notre Dame game. Cooley noticed it during warm-ups, took umbrage, had assistant Mike Jackson give the kid a PC T-shirt and made him wear it.

-John Feinstein recently reported in the Washington Post that Siena and Detroit Mercer are possible additions to the new Catholic league and that Creighton is not because the Catholic 7 does not want to expand that far west.

-The piece also stated that former Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese is not a candidate for the same role with the new Catholic league because its current presidents hold a grudge over his bringing football into the Big East.

-However, local media members who are close to Friar hoops took exception with the validity of the report via Twitter.

-But did not get specific other than to say the Catholic 7 are not close to deciding on whom to invite.

-Which happens first, the Catholic 7 and the Big East settle their disagreements, or we get a new Pope?

Have a great weekend Friartown.  Be safe.

TGIF-ABC

-The Friars are 4-4 in their last eight games and showing signs of life in the Big East.  Record aside, the most encouraging development is the overall improvement on defense.  They are bothering teams with their ball pressure, playing much smarter as a team on that end of the floor and building the foundation for a very good up tempo, pressure defensive approach.

-When is the last time Providence won two straight Big East games without scoring 60 points?

-It was good to see the Friars getting an early lead and playing from out in front for a change against Cincinnati.

-A week off at this point in the season should benefit the Friars’ minute-heavy rotation but you just hope the time off does not set them back from an execution standpoint.

-And it is no time for a letdown as Providence will surely find themselves dealing with a hungry South Florida team in a place where the Friars have not enjoyed tremendous success.

-It’s not that they have been all that sharp offensively lately anyway, shooting just 41% (39-95) over the last two games.

-I mean, the crew over at The Dunk might want to check the rims for chips after Wednesday night’s ‘shooting’ display.

-That said, the Friars executed well on offense in general and got good shots.  They simply did not fall, which happens sometimes.

-And also is what made it even more satisfying to get the win based on their defensive efforts.

-Speaking of offensive execution, Lee Goldsborough deservedly received accolades for his defensive performance but another thing he did well was provide a few excellent entry passes to the post.

-Perhaps lost in the action were Vincent Council’s eight assists versus one turnover.

-VC needs just 11 assists to pass Friar legend Ernie DiGregorio’s all time lead of 662.

-And congratulations to Bryce Cotton on joining the 1000 point club.

-ICE 1000

-I think you can close the case.  Nemo has been found.

-Since when are we naming snow storms anyway?

-Or is this just snow’s effort to expand it brand?

-The two straight wins could not have come at a better time for Ed Cooley.  He would make no excuses and want zero sympathy, but you have to feel for the guy.  Seemingly anything that could have gone wrong from a personnel standpoint this season has gone wrong, with Sidiki Johnson’s leave of absence representing the latest chapter in the saga.

-It is hard enough to coach and win in the Big East, never mind having to do it without knowing who will be in your lineup from game-to-game.

-You can also throw in the story about Ricky Ledo still deciding whether or not to turn pro, although I think this was more validation of what we, and certainly Ed Cooley, already knew to be the case as opposed to a revelation.

-Of course we all want to see Ledo suit up for the Friars next year, but in the end I just hope he listens to the right people and makes the best decision for his future.

-You’d have to think some of it would depend on who else leaves early.

-Take a guy like St. John’s JaKarr Sampson.  If he declares for the draft, Sampson may be more attractive to an NBA team than Ledo due to being more of a known commodity given his year, and progress, with the Red Storm.

-R.I.P Monopoly iron.

-I am more of a car or thimble guy anyway.

The thimble is underrated, and you know I own Boardwalk. (Photo: staticflickr.com)

The thimble is underrated, and you know I own Boardwalk. (Photo: staticflickr.com)

-Phill Simms generally does a good job in my opinion, but he had a very rough night calling Super Bowl XLVII.

-I’m down with the cWo.

-The pink feather boas were a nice touch on Wednesday as well in support of the ‘Pink Out’.

-They are going to build a $30 million amusement park in Abbottabad, Pakistan, the town in which Osama Bin Laden saw his last day.

-Sounds like money well spent to me. 

-Hey, at least it’s not snowing there.

-Happy shoveling!

-Remember, use your legs, not your back.

Have a great weekend Friartown.  Be safe.