Top 68 Team Previews: #55 Providence Friars
Ed Cooley has reloaded Providence into a contender (Rivals.com)
By Matt Thurston
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Last Season Record: 15-17 (4-14 Big East)
Head Coach: Ed Cooley
Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: Vincent Council 6-3 Sr.
SG: Bryce Cotton 6-1 Jr.
SF: Ricardo Ledo 6-7 Fr.
PF: LaDontae Henton 6-6 So.
C: Kadeem Batts 6-9 Jr.
Key Reserves: Kris Dunn 6-3 Fr. PG
In the past Providence has always looked like an average team out of conference and an easy win for teams apart of the Big East Conference. Despite having a 15-17 record last year, look for the Providence team this year to surprise some teams. Ed Cooley has brought in a very talented freshman recruiting class including the #19 ranked player in his class Kris Dunn from New London, Connecticut and the #12 ranked player in his class Ricardo Ledo from South Kent, Connecticut. Dun who will miss the beginning of the season due to injury was brought in by Cooley to help senior Vincent Council run the show at the point guard position. Council who started at the PG position last year average 15.9 points per game and 7.5 assists for a Providence offense that averaged 68.8 points per game, but gave up 69.2 points per game. Adding in Ricardo Ledo should give the Providence Friars help putting the ball in the basket, after losing leading scorer Marshon Brooks to the NBA. Ledo has the ability to put the ball in the basket in a variety of ways. At 6-foot-6, he has a lanky frame that makes him a tough matchup. His ability to stop on a dime and pull up is lethal, and he should have a big scoring year as Ed Cooley is known to ride his premier scorer throughout the season.
Defense will be the key this year for Providence, since the Friars will have no problem putting the ball in the hoop this year with a well balanced offense including solid play makers Council and Dunn, and sharp shooters Cotton and Ledo. Cooley looks for Junior Kadeem Batts and Sophmore LaDonte Henton to control the backboards and paint for the Friars this year. Batts is listed at 6-9 inches and 245lbs, but he should be able to use his speed and athleticism to outwork opposing players. Henton who is listed at 6-6 215 will also use his athletic frame and quickness to out work players on the offensive and defensive boards. Look for the Friars to press full court using their speed to have the opposing teams turn the ball over, and for them to push the ball quickly upcourt on fast breaks and offense. Cooley stated that he would like his team to grab the ball out the net and run as quickly and as many times as possible per game. The Friars are a young athletic team and have a very bright future, and they have the ability to upset some teams this year and make an NCAA tournament appearance, but realistically this is a rebuilding year and they should be comfortable with a NIT appearance and should do well in Big East play.