Feb. 28, 2012; Providence, RI, USA; Providence Friars forward Bilal Dixon (42) , guard Vincent Council (32) and guard Bryce Cotton (11) celebrate a win over the Connecticut Huskies at the Dunkin

Final Grade: Providence Friars

Before we ultimately put a lid on the 2012-13 season, Play For The Garden is evaluating the year of each member of the Big East.

Team:  Providence Friars

Record:  19-15 overall / 9-9 in Big East

How did their season end:  third round of the NIT

Leading scorer:  Bryce Cotton with 19.7 PPG

Leading rebounder:  LaDontae Henton with 8.3 RPG

There was some considerable hype surrounding the Providence Friars last summer when they landed the #6 recruiting class for 2012 according to ESPN, which was highlighted by the #5 ranked recruit Kris Dunn and the #21 ranked recruit Ricky Ledo. However, much of that hype was significantly diminished before the season began.

It was determined that a shoulder injury that Dunn suffered in the spring time would require surgery and keep him out until late December. While there were concerns that the Friars may just red shirt the injured freshman, he was able to make a full recovery and make his debut in December a few games ahead of conference play.

However, Ledo’s time as a Friar didn’t go so well. The NCAA made public that it was investigating Ledo’s academic situation back in the summer.  On September 5, 2012 he was ruled a partial qualifier by the NCAA, allowing him to practice but not play in the upcoming season.  Upon the completion of the season, Ledo declared for this summer’s upcoming NBA draft without ever putting on the Friar uniform.

Nevertheless, Providence still had a successful season, finishing with a record better than .500 for the first time since 2009.

The Friars took their lumps throughout the season, but they really started to click as the year progressed.  They went 7-2 in the last nine games of the Big East season and had a resume good enough to qualify for the NIT, where they won two more games.

Bryce Cotton was magnificent all season as he ended up leading the Big East in scoring with 19.7 points per game.  Kadeem Batts and LaDontae Henton were very effective in the low post as the two combined for over 25 points and 15 rebounds a game.  And once Kriss Dunn was finally able to get on the court he gave the Friars a daunting trio of guards.

But this was still Vincent Council’s team, even though he missed some time in the beginning of the season with an injury and had a somewhat down year for his standards.  Yet, he still averaged 10.5 points and 6.8 assists per game, while having the 5th best assist rate (42.9%) in the country (assist rate is assists divided by field goals made by teammates while on the court).

Final Grade:  B-

While there was much optimism last summer surrounding Providence, it didn’t really pan out the way they expected.  But it was still a successful season for the Friars.  They finished .500 in the Big East, above .500 overall, made a postseason tournament, and won two postseason games.  That’s much more than can be said for the previous five seasons.  This was only Coach Cooley’s second season in the program, but you can see he has this team headed in the right direction.  The loss of Ledo before even playing a single game is a blow, but it could end up being better in the end.  Providence is on a path back to winning ways lead by Cooley, and distractions will not be welcomed.

Tags: Basketball Big East Kris Dunn Primary Providence Friars Ricky Ledo Vincent Council

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