Archives For Sidiki Johnson

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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TGIF-ABC

-The game versus Connecticut felt strange in a lot of ways but in the end it followed a similar theme, with the Friars yet again falling into an early double-digit hole only to dig out but ultimately come up short, and came down to the simplest common denominators, failing to put the ball in the basket effectively (33.8% from the floor for Providence) and not preventing their opponent from doing so (50% from the floor for Connecticut).

 

-It also felt like the Friars shot far less effectively from the line than the excellent 82.1% they posted, but that is probably because the bulk of the misses came at the worst possible time.

-As for the starting lineup change, I believe it was meant to be a statement about playing hard and consistent defense out of the gate and trying to avoid another slow start then it was about disciplinary action.

-However, Vincent Council’s seat on the bench was extended a bit (Ted Bancroft was subbed for and reentered the game before VC got his first action) and this was likely due to the fact that he broke a team policy not to talk about team matters via social media.

-Unless I missed a tweet or Vincent deleted something that I did not see, his comments were innocuous and matter of fact.

-Nothing inflammatory or negative toward the program was written, but he did give away ‘in house’ information in a public fashion and that needed to be addressed.

-Whatever the reasons it was clear that Council and LaDontae Henton got the message because they both played inspired basketball once they got into the game.

-Then again, if Kevin Ollie were spending time looking at Vincent Council’s Twitter feed for strategic purposes the Huskies would be in trouble.

-The puzzling move, or non-move, was the benching of Sidiki Johnson for the entire game.

-Unless it was disciplinary there does not appear to be a valid reason to sit Johnson.  He has made positive strides seemingly with each game, and was coming off a career performance.

-Given that lack of depth and continuity have been cited as the main issues for this team’s ills, now that there is some depth (particularly in the front court) and every game is an important step in building continued chemistry, why disrupt or derail any progress by sitting Johnson?

-Sidiki looked like something out of the Matrix trying to avoid that bat though.

-”The Matrix Rebounded” (?)

-Bats are blind, right?’

-So was the bat there simply to audition for a Big East refereeing job?

-I know the Big East as we know it is on its last legs but the refs seem to have moved on already.

-They have forgotten how conference games are typically played, and officiated.

-What is this, the NFL?

-It should come as a shock to no one that Buzz Williams has his Marquette team in the thick of the Big East race, currently tied for first at 6-1.

-One way to establish a defensive identity is to show some physicality in the paint early and set a tone even if means sacrificing a foul.

-Hey, did those of you who attended the Connecticut game hear Harry, The Dunk’s emcee (who does a great job); make a TGIF reference during one of the time outs?  NICE!!!!

-The students showed up on Thursday and really contributed to a great atmosphere.  Keep it up y’all.

-What’s the deal with putting like every radio show on TV now?

-Big East commissioner Mike Aresco said this week that he intended to keep the Big East name going forward once the Catholic 7 splits.

-Let the jockeying for po$ition begin.

-We also learned this week that the Big East/SEC Challenge will be no more.

-What, the SEC was not looking to expand its brand with a few road games in Alaska?

-I mean, that Anchorage market is ripe for the picking.

-Sarah Palin opposed the decision but said she would also support an international curling border clash with Canada’s best teams.

-Keeping with a (very) light political theme….Basically all of our pro sports leagues have some type of spending cap in the hope of creating a ‘more level playing field’. Shouldn’t there be one for elections too?

-And then maybe have any excess campaign contributions go to charity or some other worthy program?

-Speaking of charity.   It is a shame that ‘LIVESTRONG’ will likely suffer due to Lance Armstrong’s misdeeds. The organization has done plenty of good work even if it was fueled by lies, with most of that positive work being done by people who were none the wiser.

-Hopefully with Armstrong out of the picture they can continue to thrive.

-What’s next for Armstrong?  ‘LIVEWRONG’?

-In case you missed it, the National Prep School Invitational is taking place this weekend at the Murray Center on Rhode Island College’s campus.

-The event features some of the country’s best talent and you can bet there are a couple of future Friars in the mix.

-Another thing you can bet on is that our friends over at Friarbasketball.com will, as always, provide excellent coverage on the event and its participating Friar prospects.

-Former Friar Bilal Dixon is averaging 6.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game for a much improved Towson squad (11-12 overall, 6-4 Colonial Athletic Conference) under former Providence assistant Pat Skerry.

Have a great weekend Friartown.  Be safe.

TGIF-ABCCall me cold-hearted but, while I will miss the regular meetings with programs like Syracuse and appreciate the history of the Big East as much as anyone, I just don’t feel sentimental or sympathetic about their (or any other school’s) departure at all. They chose to leave. It did not have to be this way but it is what it is.

That said, I respect Jim Boeheim for being honest about where his heart is, rather than putting some BS spin on it like some other coaches have.

And I respect Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports.com for reserving the right to change his mind about Ricky Ledo.

It is obviously always tough to deal with losing, but on the heels of the DePaul clunker it was encouraging to see a game Friar squad stand up to an extremely talented Syracuse team.

While the effort was much better, the turning point in the Syracuse game was similar to that of the DePaul contest in that the Friars completely hit the skids down the first half stretch and lost any momentum they had built. Versus DePaul the Friars scored two points in the final 3:19 to turn a one point lead into a seven point halftime deficit, and never recovered. Against Syracuse the Friars did not score in the final 4:49 of the first half and saw a nine point lead shrink to three. They did better coming out of the locker room on Wednesday than versus DePaul but could obviously have used a bigger cushion against a team the caliber of the Orange.

Despite the positive fast-paced desperation flourish the Friars exhibited to close out the DePaul game, Ed Cooley said he would not try to run with Syracuse. Controlling the pace was the right decision given the matchup, and the Friars executed well for the first fifteen minutes as they remained aggressive despite trying to shorten the game.

However Providence took it down a gear too far in the last five minutes of the half when they were up nine.

As if it were the second half and they were trying to nurse the lead home for a win. They became too stagnant.

It led to Bryce Cotton, who probably would have cooled off some under any circumstances, to get out of rhythm.

That said it is not reasonable to expect a solid forty minutes from this team yet. They are going to have to work around some of the pot holes if they want to win.

It’s taken the Boston Celtics 30-plus games to seemingly figure it out. So there you go.

But is there anyone better at getting fouled on three point attempts than “ICE”?

Cooley’s approach to go big and shorten the rotation a bit was also sound and had a positive impact.

Sidiki Johnson got the start on Wednesday and followed up his outstanding effort against DePaul with another very good game. After an erratic start to his Friar career, Sidiki is now playing to his strengths and staying within himself.

The Friars got killed on the glass.

Perhaps if not for the early foul trouble that limited Sidiki’s first half minutes the results may have been closer.

Have not seen any video of the game but to the naked eye both of those foul calls appeared to be questionable.

Michael Carter-Williams is special.

Which is why I am not worried about Kris Dunn at all.

Dunn is dealing with a difficult situation at less than 100% without the benefit of preparation. It is completely understandable that he would not be at his best yet.

But Kris Dunn is a gamer and I am betting he will make an impact sooner than later provided his shoulder continues to improve.

Carter-Williams did not face serious injury and, albeit on a much more talented team, did not even get into eleven games as a freshman while averaging just 10.3 minutes, 2.7 points and 2.1 assists per game.

Happy to see the site back up and active. One thing I learned during the brief hiatus is that I need the outlet. My wife loves the Friars but who knew she really does not care to hear analysis about Sidiki’s defensive positioning at the dinner table? What’s up with that?

The difference between great zone defense and decent zone defense? You couldn’t shoot a bee bee through the middle of Syracuse’s zone but Providence’s middle was open for business all night long.

In other words, size matters.

The Catholic 7 are 7-11 in Big East play if you are scoring at home.

Which means absolutely nothing by the way.

Although Catholic League detractors will use this type of thing to…well, detract.

But they will be wrong, because the decision to split was right.

$500 million anyone?

Congratulations to the Providence Journal’s Kevin McNamara who was named Rhode Island’s sportswriter of the year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association (NSSA). An honor certainly well deserved.

In reviewing “NSSA” on the web I found that several organizations use the acronym, including the National Scholastic Surfing Association.

That said, Johnny Utah has nothing on KMac.

What up BRAAHHH!! (Photo credit: fitsnews.com)

What up BRAAHHH!! (Photo credit: fitsnews.com)

Speaking of the Providence Journal, I am a big fan of their digital “eEdition”. It’s easy to use and works well on multiple types of technology. I am an iPad guy and the app is great.

But I keep breaking my pencil trying to do the crossword puzzle.

Connecticut’s giving head coach Kevin Ollie a five- year extension was the right move, especially given instability around all things UCONN given the impending departure of the Catholic 7.

So the NCAA is contemplating a rule change that would seemingly make it more attractive for student athletes to transfer by eliminating the sit out a year requirement for transfers with a 2.6 or better GPA?

Do well in school so you can go to another one!

What’s next? Trades?

Fair or unfair, going into the Boston College and Brown games were the first time in the Ed Cooley era that his Friars faced elevated expectations.

It’s a work in progress Friartown. Keep the faith.

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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Friartown News and Notes 11.13.12

dave@friarblog —  November 13th, 2012 8:59 PM —  Comments

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

picture Ricky Ledo Instagram

As Barney Stinson would say, SUIT UP! Hey, where’s Carson Desrosiers?

suits

notes Speaking of the suits, all of the players not eligible to play right now (Sidiki Johnson, Tyler Harris, Carson Desrosiers, and Ricky Ledo) did not make the trip with the team to Puerto Rico due to NCAA rules. This must be especially hard for Ricky Ledo, who is of Puerto Rican discent. The rest of the team and staff landed there today.

notes Still nothing new on Vincent Council’s hammy. He is going to Puerto Rico, but I highly highly doubt he will play. Sounds like he could be out for the next several weeks. I say play it safe and wait until the 2nd semester when Sidiki and hopefully Kris Dunn can play.

link Bryant Game Recaps: GoLocalProv, Woonsocket CallBryantBulldogs.com, Sun ChronicleFriar Basketball, Boston Sports Nut

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Friartown News and Notes 11.8.12

dave@friarblog —  November 8th, 2012 8:30 PM —  Comments

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

picture Bryce Cotton Animated GIF

Much like Obama, I’ve been here for 4 years but haven’t brought the necessary change I should have to Friartown. I just realized today that I have made zero animated gifs in the history of this blog. Things are going to change. Here is an Ice Cotton one for your pleasure. Thank you for voting Friarblog.

icecotton

notes According to Brendan McGair on Twitter, Bryce Cotton was seen at practice putting up some shots. Sounds like he’s going to be ready to go on Saturday. See, the animated GIF is already working.

notes Word is Brandon Austin is possibly making a decision in the next few days. After Kevin McNamara’s article in the Projo and general whispers around Friartown, I like Ed Cooley’s chances (yeah I know the other day I said I wouldn’t care until an official announcement is made yada yada yada). Texas and UConn are the other schools on his final list.

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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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