Archives For Kadeem Batts

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

-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.

 

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.

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!

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T.G.I.F: Thank God It’s Friartown 02.15.13

@FriarFrenzy —  February 15th, 2013 11:47 AM —  Comments

TGIF-ABC

-The South Florida game was a tale of two halves.  In the first half it appeared the previously improved Friar defense either replaced Nemo on the missing person’s list or was not able to get plowed out of the Rhode Island snow.  However in the second half we saw what could be a critical sign of progress for this team.

-It is not that Providence was able to erase a double-digit deficit.  You know we have seen that before.  It was how they did it.

-The Friars imposed their will on the Bulls and took the game from them.  South Florida had no chance once the Friars started playing ‘their game’.

-The key being that it appears the Friars are really starting to solidify what ‘their game’ is.

-They appeared to turn a corner from a confidence and identity standpoint.

-An identity forged upon toughness and defense.

-You hear the term ‘match intensity’ thrown around a lot but a big key to winning consistently is to establish an identity that forces opponents to take notice and have to plan and adjust to what you do, rather than your always trying to figure out what style to play to best compete with an opponent.

-In other words if you can dictate intensity, toughness and tempo you are better off than having to raise yourself to whatever level the other team establishes.

-And that is what we are beginning to see with the Friars.

-Kris Dunn has a lot to do with it because, when he is able to stay on the court, he allows the Friars to be who they want to be defensively.

-As evidenced by the South Florida game.  Dunn picked up his second foul with 15:52 to go in the first half and had to take a seat on the bench for the remainder of the stanza.  He started the second half, never picked up another foul and the rest was history.

-With Dunn’s aggressive, on the ball, defensive style he will pick up some fouls and that has to be expected and accepted.

-However the offensive charges he is prone to represent the difference between staying on the court and not so he will need to work to avoid them.

-There’s no truth to the rumor that deer antler spray was applied at halftime in Tampa.

-Bryce Cotton is in a bit of a shooting slump.  Over the last four games Ice is shooting 29.2% (14 for 48) and 27% (9 for 34) from three point range.

-But Cotton has continued to put points on the board during this period by getting to the line and shooting free throws at a 92% (23 for 25) clip.

-The Friars are undefeated in February.

-But don’t get too happy yet.  A very good, and well coached, Notre Dame team will visit The Dunk on Saturday afternoon in what is shaping up to be a big game.

-There’s something great about the anticipation of a meaningful late-season home game.

-I think this is always the case but perhaps the feeling is enhanced because we have not had many of them around here in recent years.

-The Fighting Irish have been busy lately, going to overtime in three of their last four games, twice against DePaul and, of course, that epic five overtime game with Louisville.

-Interestingly, they won all three of the extra-session games, sandwiched around a loss in regulation at Syracuse.

-Saturday could be a bit of a trap game for Notre Dame as they face a quick turnaround (playing at nationally ranked Pittsburgh on Monday) and an unfriendly schedule thereafter to finish the regular season (Cincinnati, at Marquette, St. John’s and at Louisville).

-So it is in the best interest of the Friars to really bring it.

-Kadeem Batts is dialed in.  He is playing hard, smart and efficiently on both ends of the court.

-And staying out of foul trouble for the most part recently, which you’d have to think is contributing to his success.

- Forget about dimes, Batts has been putting himself in position to receive silver dollars courtesy of Vincent Council, Cotton and Dunn.
-Speaking of assists, Vincent Council had eight on Wednesday and now is just three away from passing Ernie D. for the all time Friar lead.

-Josh Fortune appears to be settling into his adjusted role and gaining confidence.

-The “A Wish Come True”, which is a Rhode Island children’s charity, segment on the ‘Friars All-Access’ show was awesome.

-Nerlens Noel’s getting injured is sad and you certainly have to feel for him, especially from the standpoint that this was going to be his only collegiate season all along and he now will not get to participate NCAA Tournament.

-And now maybe his Kentucky team won’t get to either.

-However missing the rest of the season will have little impact to Noel’s draft position, provided his rehab does not face significant setbacks.

-And this is because he went to school, proved his abilities and showed tremendous growth on the collegiate stage this year.

-Certainly still enough to warrant a top five pick.

-My personal all-time snowstorm tracker: Plow guy 67, My mailbox 0.

Much like the Friars, my mailbox is tough and resilient. Doesn't have a great jumper though.

Much like the Friars, my mailbox is tough and resilient. Doesn’t have a great jumper though.

-So the east coast Mecca of Performance Enhancing Drugs is in Coral Gables, Florida, home of the University of Miami?

-Color me shocked.

-Speaking of ‘The U’, former Friar player, and current Hurricane head coach, Jim Larranaga has it rolling down there.

-I am all for Gus Johnson doing soccer games.

-I am all for Johnson announcing anything for that matter because I believe his enthusiasm is genuine.

-And watching sports is supposed to be fun, right?

-Tim Welsh used the term ‘removed from the program’ when describing Sidiki Johnson’s status during Wednesday’s broadcast.

-Yesterday was Valentine’s Day.  If you guys have not given anything to your significant other by now,  you might want to take up scrapbooking or something because you are about to have a lot more free time on your hands.

Have a great weekend Friartown.  Be safe.

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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T.G.I.F: Thank God It’s Friartown 01.25.13

@FriarFrenzy —  January 24th, 2013 11:48 AM —  Comments

TGIF-ABC

-OK, so the Friars have split their last two at home in games that featured uneven, but gritty, play. Pressing and aggressive on the ball defense won the day against Villanova in a game where the shots (and free throws!) were not falling but Pittsburgh proved a bit too tough, polished and deep for the Friars on Tuesday.

-The positive steps continue in terms of effort and intensity but the Friars have to bring it out of the gate and avoid the early deficits they faced in both games.   It is simply too difficult to play catch-up all the time.

-Said it here early in the season that if the Friars hope to exceed expectations this year they will need to be decent from the line but they are trending in the wrong direction where this is concerned.

-Overall Providence is shooting 67.5% from the line and has 92 more attempts (422-330) than their opponent.  However in conference play they are shooting just 62.1% and while they have attempted 22 more (174-152) free throws than their opponents, they have made three LESS (108-111).

-The Villanova game showed once again that this team should be looking to ratchet up the tempo and using that aggressive press.

-Against Pittsburgh the Friars could not get the pressure rolling due to a slew of early turnovers.

-And overall depth was an issue especially with Kris Dunn, perhaps the key defender in the press, being less than 100% due to illness.

-Dunn was awesome in pressuring Villanova though.

-Except when he applied the pressure of a two-handed shove there at the end.

-Any time Pittsburgh needed a hoop in a critical situation they got one.

-Kadeem Batts worked very hard in the Pittsburgh game against a slew of big bodies and the results were good.

-Bryce Cotton continues to impress and amaze.  Among the improvements to his game this season is consistency.  Last season Cotton was a bit of a barometer for the team.  His output was up and down but when he was able to get involved and score it usually meant the Friars either won or were right there.

-This season Ice has failed to reach 20 points only three times, and just once in conference play (16 points at Louisville).  The other two were versus Mississippi State (9 points, game he injured his knee) and URI (11 points, playing at less than 100% due to knee).

-Ironically Providence won two of those three but the real story is that Cotton has played a huge role in keeping the Friars in basically every game and his ability to score consistently this year is remarkable given the secret is out and he is a focal point of every opponent’s defensive plan.

-Can we get a popcorn machine on the scorer’s table at The Dunk so the refs can have a snack while they review replays?

-For all of you people I see jogging in 14 degree weather, I am not sure whether to call you committed or have you committed.

I don't think the heavy stuff is coming for awhile.  (Photo: fitnessbyd.com)

I don’t think the heavy stuff is coming for awhile. (Photo: fitnessbyd.com)

-It is clear that Kris Dunn’s mindset is pass first, which is great and will benefit him and the team in the long term, but it also appears that opponents have quickly picked up on this trait and are dropping off him when he gets in the lane.  This has led to a few indecisive moments, forced passes and turnovers.

-Something that will easily be corrected with experience and coaching as the game continues to slow down for Dunn.

-The Friars are hustling, scrapping and diving on the floor but that ball still seems to be bouncing the wrong way.

-So what you do is continue to hustle, scrap and dive.

-Former Friar (term used very loosely in this case) James Still was sentenced for his role in the senseless, vicious and random 2010 beating of a fellow student. Still will serve four years in prison, joining Johnnie Lacy, the other perpetrator in the crime, who is in the midst of a three-year bid.

-A new name to surface on the Friar recruiting front is D.J. Williams. Williams is a class of 2015 6’5” shooting guard out of powerhouse Simeon Career Academy in Chicago and is rated 23rd in his class nationally by ESPN.com.

-Old friend Joseph Young is averaging 16.9 points per game (39.6% 3pt FG) for Houston who is 12-6 overall but just 1-4 in Conference USA.

-We have to get Houston up to The Dunk next season in the super-sized Big East’s lame duck year, right?

-Former Major League slugger Frank Thomas has come out with “Big Hurt Beer”.

-Don’t all run to the package store at once now.

-Barley, hops and….pine tar?

-Before I end this post the refs have to go to the monitor to make sure I got it right.

Have a great weekend Friartown.  Be safe.

It’s hard to talk about this game in a way. It has nothing to do with the fact the Friars lost 66-72, nor does it have much to do with how they lost. It’s hard to talk about because it truly does feel like the beginning of the end of an era. There won’t be a “next year when we play the Cuse…” because there’s no promise we’ll play them next year (or ever again outside of tournaments), and there isn’t going to be a “when they come to the Dunk during the Big East season…” because there won’t be a Big East season for Syracuse ever again. The avalanche the Pitt and Syracuse chancellors started in August 2011 is stampeding towards the end-of-the-season finish line at this point. Kind of sad if you think about it.

Year in and year out in the Big East, nobody could mach Coach Boehiem’s dress style. Are you taking notes Jay Wright?

But enough nostalgia, let’s talk basketball!

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Friartown Roundtable: Inaugural Edition

dave@friarblog —  December 12th, 2012 9:26 AM —  Comments

knights_of_the_round_table_Welcome to the Friartown Roundtable, where all the best minds around Providence College Friars Basketball come together to discuss the latest topics around the team.

There is a ton of great reporting and analysis from various publications, blogs, and message boards to keep the Friar fan informed all throughout the year. I’d like to introduce a new feature here called the Friartown Roundtable that tries to bring all that together in one place to have the ultimate collection of expert opinion on the latest topics in PC basketball. In the future, I hope to also spur some discussion and debate around the same group. For the inaugural edition at the semester break, I just posed the following question:

What is YOUR biggest takeaway from the team after the first semester, and how do you see that changing with the guys coming back from injury/eligibility?

Kevin McNamara, Providence Journal; Twitter: @KevinMcNamara33

My biggest takeaway is the emergence of Kadeem Batts as a potentially high impact front court player in the Big East. No one, and I mean no one, had Batts scoring the ball with such productivity at this point in the season. He obviously has to prove he can remains major factor when the opponent meter jumps considerably in 3 weeks but all signs point to PC having a legit low post/high post big man scorer for the first time since Ryan Gomes.

John Rooke, GoLocalProv; Twitter: @JRBroadcaster

The biggest takeaway I have is this team’s ability to fight.  They’ve gotten mentally tougher, and just seem more willing to scrap and claw…which they’ve obviously had to do.  That, and Kadeem Batts’ improvement in the post.  He can go with either hand, has a dead-eye shot from 18 feet…and is now a difficult match up for alot of bigs.

I don’t think that changes alot for him with Sidiki’s arrival…but also hope that the fight the team shows continues.  I think it will, which hopefully bodes well for a successful conclusion.

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T.G.I.F: Thank God It’s Friartown 12.07.12

@FriarFrenzy —  December 7th, 2012 11:24 AM —  Comments

TGIF-ABCProvidence College 72, University of Rhode Island 57. All is good in Friartown.

Last night’s win over URI was a great microcosm of the progress this Friar program has made under Ed Cooley. Undermanned and clearly bothered by URI’s defensive pressure, Providence nursed a one point lead at halftime but rather than just hoping to hang in there and play the game down to the last five minutes or, worse yet, getting run out of the gym in the second half, the Friars held firm on defense and figured out how to get their best healthy players, Kadeem Batts and LaDontae Henton, in position to score. They brought the energy, built a lead and closed the game out.

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