Archives For LaDontae Henton

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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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

-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.

Pregame Buffet: UConn

Daniel "The Warrior Friar" James —  January 31st, 2013 12:56 PM —  Comments

Welcome to another Friarblog Pregame Buffet, a new feature I hope to make regular on this site. This buffet comes with all-you-can-eat videos, audio, images, lists, and everything else you need to have a good time.

Like most buffets this is short on words, but long on content. Read/listen/watch on to get everything you need to fill up on before the UConn game at the Dunk tonight at 7:00!

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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 News and Notes 12.7.12

dave@friarblog —  December 7th, 2012 10:14 PM —  Comments

All the notable news, links, pictures, and video in and around Friartown and college basketball all in one digestible, tasty place

picture @PCFriarFaithful Tweet

Well done, students.

uri-sign

notes Next year the PC / URI clash at the Ryan Center is going to be a national story. Great, now the whole country will see the Friars beat the Rams for the 4th time in a row!

quote_1 Bryce Cotton quote via Woonsocket Call

“Coach, I’ll give whatever I can today. We’ve got to try and get us a win to get to the finish line”

I LOVE ICE COTTON

link Game Recaps: ESPN (AP), Friars.com, GoLocalProv, Sun Chronicle, Pawtucket Times, Friar Basketball, Rhody Rampage

notes Kris Dunn is officially scheduled to play on December 18th according to his father. I CAN’T WAIT UNTIL THE COLGATE GAME. That has to be the first time anyone has uttered those words.

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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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Friars Beat NJIT: Around the Web

dave@friarblog —  November 11th, 2012 8:02 AM —  Comments

Providence defeated NJIT 64-63 yesterday in the opening game of the season. Here are some links around the web.

link ESPN: Providence 64, NJIT 63 (AP)

Coach Ed Cooley said Council will have an MRI Sunday, and indicated that he is unlikely to play in the Friars’ upcoming matchup against Bryant on Monday.

The Friars are now down to just six academically eligible scholarship players, with Cooley describing his team as “the walking wounded.”

With Council out, Cotton was forced to take over as the floor general for Providence.

“I knew I had to work on my ball-handling,” Cotton said. “That was a major focus over the summertime.”

link Friars.com: Men’s Basketball Defeats NJIT In Season Opener, 64-63

Henton started the second half with a quick lay-up to bring his point total up to 20.  The Friars extended their lead to 10 points within six minutes of the start of the second half, their highest lead of the game.  NJIT chipped away at the Friars’ lead and took the lead with a three-point basket from Chris Flores with 4:13 left in the game, 63-62.  NJIT’s Flores finished the game tied his career high of 28 points. The Friars tied the game with a made free throw by Cotton with 2:19 remaining in the game.  Cotton again was sent to the free throw line with 5.1 seconds left in the game.  Cotton’s made free throw put the Friars up, 64-63.  NJIT’s PJ Miller took a deep three at the buzzer that missed to give the Friars the win.

link NJITHighlanders.com: Providence Holds Off Highlanders in Opener

“I’m really happy with the effort of our guys today. We showed resiliency and heart,” said Highlanders Head Coach Jim Engles, who was selected as GWC Preseason Coach of the Year by College Sports Madness. “We also had great individual efforts by Chris [Flores] and Ryan [Woods] that put us in position to win the game.”

The dramatic finish overshadowed the performance of senior Chris Flores, who tied his own NJIT Division I record by scoring a game-high 28 points – the final three of which came on the 21-foot jumper that gave the Highlanders their first lead since holding a 27-25 edge in the first half. Flores previously tallied 28 points at Houston Baptist on Feb. 17, 2011, to tie the initial record set just five days earlier by Jheryl Wilson ’11 vs. South Dakota on Feb. 12, 2011.

link GoLocalProv: Friars survive season-opening scare

Thanks to a solid defensive effort led by Cotton, Henton, Brice Kofane, Lee Goldsbrough and Kadeem Batts, the Friars had plenty of chances to put the game away…and yet could not come up with a clinching score on the other end.   The final two points of the game were both scored by Cotton, from the free throw line in four attempts, to provide the winning margin.  But just barely.

As such, the Friars opened their season with a win for the 11th time in the past 12 years, but it might have come with a price tag attached.  Time will tell just how expensive that cost might be.

link Boston Sports Nut: Friars Open At Home Against NJIT

I spoke to Henton after the game, asking if he was ready to lead this team long term if Council’s injury forced him to miss an extended period of time.  Henton told me that while he was a vocal player, and every player needed to contribute in Council’s absence, Vincent was the leader of this team, whether from the bench or on the floor and would continue to be regardless of the status of his injury.

link Providence Journal: Friars to hold emergency tryout after Council injury

Because of the hamstring injury to star point guard Vincent Council injury, Cooley says he’s holding an emergency walk-on tryout for a walk-on on Sunday at Alumni Hall. He’s hoping someone on campus played high school basketball, can handle the ball a bit and wants to help the cause this season. Right now the Friars have just one eligible walk-on (Ted Bancroft) and they need more.

“I just hope there’s somebody out there who had that dream of one day being on the team. That’s the guy I need,” Cooley said.

link NBC College Basketball Talk: Council injured in narrow Providence victory

Honestly? Providence isn’t too scary even with Council, but a lingering hamstring injury suffered in the first game is the worst way for a senior year to get started, and it won’t help Ed Cooley’s Friars find a much-needed cohesive identity, either.

link Friar Basketball: Rapid Reaction: Minus Council, Friars Edge NJIT 64-63

LaDontae Henton was terrific in the first half, scoring 18 of Providence’s 32 points, as the Friars led 32-29 heading into the locker room.  Just how essential was Henton early?  He made seven of Providence’s 11 field goals in the first 20 minutes.

It wasn’t a perfect afternoon for the sophomore, who missed on seven of his eight three point attempts, but he was perfect from the free throw line, finished with a team-leading 24, and made perhaps the defensive play of the game when he blocked an 18 footer with the game tied at 63 with 1:05 on the clock.

 

bucketsLeading up until the season, Friarblog is counting down and profiling the Friar players who will be seeing the court this season.

Here are the previous rankings

#9. Lee Goldsbrough

#8. Brice Kofane

#7. Sidiki Johnson

#6. Josh Fortune

#5. Kadeem Batts

#4. Kris Dunn

#3. Bryce Cotton

#2. LaDontae Henton

As Ed Cooley’s first ever recruit during his first few months on the job, Henton proved that recruiting rankings are sometimes garbage. The 6-6 forward from Michigan became an instant fan favorite due to his overall knack for the ball and ability to score from everywhere. In the offseason that saw lots of misses for additional big men, constant wondering about Ricky Ledo’s status, and lots praying for Kris Dunn’s shoulder, Friartown sometimes forgot Henton was still here and ready to build on one of the best freshman seasons in PC history.

Resources: Friars.com Profile

Nickname: Buckets

Follow: Twitter: @HentonBuckets23, Instagram: henton23

Stud stats: On the way to breaking Ryan Gomes’ freshman scoring record at PC, LaDontae Henton put up nine double-doubles (six coming in BIG EAST play). One of his most impressive performances came in a rare road win at DePaul. Henton had 24 points and 15 rebounds, including the game winning jumper with a few seconds left. Shot an impressive 39.3% from behind the arc.

Dud stats: The one area statistically that Henton didn’t really excel in was passing. He got an assist on only 6.5% of his possessions, leading to 1.1 assists per game. It’s not like he was a ball hog or anything, just a potential area of improvement to keep an eye on this season.

I know what you did last summer: LaDontae Henton was a late addition to the Global Sports Academy Tour in August. He played with Bryce Cotton in Germany, Belgium, and France. Buckets and Ice! You can read about their trip in an interview I did with their coach.

Know your role: With a lot of questions surrounding the other members of the front court, Henton is likely to see a ton of minutes once again. While the roster tries to survive the early part of the season, he will be counted on to help shoulder the offensive load along with Council and Cotton. Overall, Henton will be the team’s top rebounder who steps up in key moments on both ends of the floor against the best competition in the BIG EAST.

Relevant Tune: Say Yes! To Michigan! – Sufjan Stevens

Tried to change the
Made in Michigan
I was raised, I was raised
In the place, in the place,
part to remind me.

If LaDontae Henton was a TV Show: Person of Interest – I started watching this show on CBS when it debuted last season. I really wasn’t expecting much, but it had Ben from Lost so it seemed somewhat interesting. Well, it turned out to be AWESOME, and is now one of my favorite shows on TV right how. The main character kicks ass, there is a lot of action and drama, the story is amazing, and it even makes me laugh. It can do it all.

Best case scenario: Henton’s overall numbers as a freshman were very similar to Gomes’ first year as a Friar (which famously started late because he almost got redshirted). With increased efficiency in addition to his continued strong outside shooting, Henton follows in the footsteps of the Friar legend and comes very close to duplicating his 18/9 sophomore season.

Worst case scenario: An increased workload somewhat diminishes Henton’s production, and he isn’t able to build on his BIG EAST All-Rookie season. The three point shot doesn’t fall as often, and defenses are really able to lock down his inside game. The rebounding is still there, but Henton takes a step back and doesn’t play like the number two scoring option as he did last year. Stats: 32 minutes per game, 11 ppg, 8 rpg.

Improving PC’s Underrated Offense

Brendon Desrochers —  November 5th, 2012 1:13 PM —  Comments
cooley

Where’s the consistency fellas!?
(photo by Kevin Reilly)

As noted in my preview by-the-numbers on ScoutFriars.com, last season’s offense was better than average in the Big East, but it was also highly inconsistent, scoring at least 1.09 points per possession in seven conference games but less than 0.85 in six, including the Big East Tournament debacle vs. Seton Hall. The previous year’s team only went under 0.85 twice and over 1.09 three times.

The offense’s effectiveness was tied directly to its ability to make shots, and so Cooley often went with small lineups to get the best shooters on the floor, which included Bryce Cotton as a small 2 and LaDontae Henton as a small 4. This created more room for Vincent Council to penetrate and score or dish and for Gerald Coleman to get inside the defense. When either of those two shooters was off the floor, Providence was playing a non-scorer (Ron Giplaye or Brice Kofane) or a lane-clogger (Bilal Dixon) as well as Kadeem Batts, who had a very poor offensive season (more on that later). The big lineup might have been marginally better defensively, but it also compressed the offense and made it harder for Council to get his teammates good looks. Cooley sacrificed the defense in favor of the small lineup because his offense was simply not functional without all four of the key guys on the floor together.

The 2012-13 squad figures to have a lot of the same problems as last year’s team — lack of length, lack of depth, but maybe not quite the shortage of shooters. When looking at this squad’s offense, I want to focus briefly on the seven-man rotation that Providence figures to have for the first handful of games and then focus more extensively on the nine-man rotation we’re hoping it has for conference play.

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