Archives For Friars

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.

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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.

So…Bryce Cotton hit a game winner 3 point heave with 2.2 seconds left on the clock. This picture sums it up.

Credit to Twitter user @Bradling1215 for the pic! Give him a follow too!

Seriously, Bryce Cotton was a superstar. He hit the shot that got the Friars a second road win this season. Mind you, this was no easy feat – this same Villanova team took the loss to the Friars the first time around and used it to beat Louisville and Syracuse in the Pavilion. So this win was kind of a big deal.

How’d it happen? Let’s talk about it after the jump!

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Actual photo of Warrior Friar at 12:30 PM, Mal Brown game.

You know how that old rhyme goes. First comes fall, then comes madness, then comes a scrimmage before the season happens.

…Well it goes something like that anyway. No matter; this past Saturday was our first preview of the 2012-2013 men’s basketball squad. Featuring a renovated alumni gym, a slew of new players, and – finally – some basketball!

This being the only time some of the players would get to play in front of the public this season, there was definitely some curiosity for how the performance would be. What would Ledo look like? How are Harris and Carson D? Will Vincent Council live up to expectations? While it’s only an exhibition, I left the campus with some good impressions of this years squad – both playing and non-playing alike. Here’s my Five Factors from the Mal Brown scrimmage:

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The Players: A Look at the 2011-2012 Friars

@FriarFrenzy —  October 24th, 2011 10:50 PM —  Comments

Following our recent discussion on themes to keep in mind for this year’s Friar squad, let’s take a look at the players.

Projected Starters

Vincent Council (Jr – PG):  The leading returning scorer will likely be relied upon to blow away the 13.7 points per game he turned in last year, but Council is truly at his best when he is not forcing his offense and when he is getting into the paint. He improved to become a capable outside shooter as a sophomore but he needs to resist the urge to fire when he can get himself, or a teammate, something better.  Council should see some time at the two as well particularly if newcomer Kiwi Gardner is ready to take on significant minutes at the point.  Council is their best player and he will have to perform despite being a focal point for opposing defenses.

Gerard Coleman (So – SG):  Look for a breakout year for Coleman both statistically and as an emotional leader.  The talented slashed was an afterthought offensively last year and still managed to average double figures despite long stretches without quality touches.  This year his workload will increase and the empowerment will only help his confidence.  While it is reasonable to expect an improved jumper (23.5% from 3 last year) Larry Bird is not coming through that door fans.  While he is not a natural jump shooter from downtown, Gerard shot a solid 47.2% from two-point land a year ago, and that’s where he needs to live this year. Coleman should also improve upon his disappointing 53.7% from the free throw line simply by getting to the stripe more often with his explosiveness to the rim and developing a rhythm.  Hopefully we will also see improved strength and ball handling.  If so, Coleman will be tough to stop.

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