Who is gone:
Vincent Council – expired eligibility – 33.7 MPG, 10.5 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 6.8 APG, 1.4 SPG
Ricardo Ledo – opted to enter the NBA Draft – never played for the Friars as he was ineligible his freshman year
Council, a four year starter, was one of the best point guards in the country that many had never heard of. Per kenpom.com, he finished in the top 10 in Assist Rate in the country in both his junior and senior seasons. Beyond being one of the best distributing point guards in the nation, he provided great leadership and a steady presence on the court. Ledo, a consensus top 25 recruit in the 2012 class, came with known concerns. There was always the worry he would be ruled ineligible for his freshman season due to the multiple high schools he attended. And it was also known he could bolt for the pros without ever playing a game for PC. He ultimately was ruled a partial qualifier by the NCAA, meaning he could practice but not play, which obviously led him to say all the right things about putting on a game uniform one day. That was until the season ended obviously, and he no longer had the Friar faithful to appease and announced he was turning pro. It really wasn’t much of a surprise and in the end, it could be best for Providence moving forward.
Who is back:
Bryce Cotton – guard – 37.8 MPG, 19.7 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2.9 APG, 0.9 SPG
Kadeem Batts – forward – 31.7 MPG, 14.8 PPG, 7.2 RPG
LaDontae Henton – forward – 34.2 MPG, 13.0 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.0 SPG
Kris Dunn – guard – 27.2 MPG, 5.7 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.2 APG
Josh Fortune – guard – 23.1 MPG, 5.5 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 1.4 APG
Lee Goldsbrough – forward – 12.8 MPG, 1.8 PPG, 2.5 RPG
Brice Kofane – forward – 11.5 MPG, 0.9 PPG, 2.4 RPG
Ted Bancroft – guard – 9.3 MPG, 0.7 PPG, 1.4 RPG
Providence returns 2012-13 Big East first team selection Bryce Cotton, who led the conference in scoring last year – an impressive feat given that Louisville’s Russ Smith was also a Big East member. Cotton, entering his senior season, has averaged 4.0 PPG his freshman season, 14.3 as a sophomore and 19.7 as a junior. Coach Cooley has raved about his work ethic and has been rewarded accordingly with an increased role each year.
Look for Dunn, the No. 2 rated point guard in the class of 2012 by ESPN, to make a big leap this year. He missed the first month or so of the season last year rehabbing a shoulder injury and then had to coexist on the floor with team leader and point guard extraordinaire Vincent Council. He’s now healthy and has the point guard duties all to himself. But Dunn is more than just a point guard. He is an elite, athletic combo guard who is also an aggressive scorer who should improve his shooting percentage this year.
Fortune, also entering his sophomore season, entered the college game as a known sharp shooter, but didn’t quite light it up last year. He attempted the second most 3-point attempts on the team (121), but only made 29% of those. Look for the wing sniper to also make a jump in production with a year’s worth of experience under his belt.
Batts, the team’s most productive player last year according to kenpom, is really the team’s lone ‘big man’ returning. After two up-and-down seasons, Batts finally got the opportunity last year and he put it together in a big way. He will again be counted upon to be a significant contributor. Henton, a very good 3-point shooter, not only fills up the basket in a hurry, but also is an exceptional rebounder for his size (6-foot-6). He followed up a good freshman season with a very good sophomore season, and is another player who should continue to get better. Goldsbrough and Kofane, while not offensive weapons, provide sound depth at forward.
Brandon Austin: 6-foot-6 Small Forward
ESPN’s 56th ranked recruit and 12th ranked SF
Rivals.com’s 45th ranked recruit and 8th ranked SF
Rodney Bullock: 6-foot-7 Small Forward
ESPN’s 35th ranked SF
Rivals.com’s 148th ranked recruit and 30th ranked PF
Carson Desrosiers - transfer from Wake Forest
The 7-foot center will have two years of eligibility remaining
Tyler Harris – transfer from NC State
6-foot-8 forward with three years of eligibility remaining
The Friars welcome two talents recruits with two talented transfers who were forced to sit out last year per NCAA rules. Austin is known as a ‘point forward’ that has great handles and can slash to the basket at will. Bullock plays more like a power forward with good low post moves, but who can also step out and knock down the jumper. Desrosiers, a former PC recruiting target, will give the Friars some much needed size down low. And Harris, a swing man, will provide solid depth in the rotation.
Probable starting lineup:
Kris Dunn, PG
Bryce Cotton, G
Josh Fortune, G
LaDontae Henton, F
Kadeem Batts, F
It’s difficult not to notice the extraordinary job that Ed Cooley has done in his two years at Providence so far. My colleague, Frank O’Brien (@fobbywobby), has done an excellent job of documenting just that here and here. And now it seems that Cooley’s hard work will finally be recognized on a national level. There is not only a boatload of talent returning, but it’s a boatload of talented players returning that could all be better than last year. And combine that with four talented new comers and you’ll find Cooley happy just at the fact that he has more than seven players in uniform. The Friars made a mini jump last year by finishing .500 in conference play and above .500 overall. This year, Providence will be recognized as a true contender in the Big East and many will likely be caught by surprise.