Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE
The Big East preview continues today with the Providence Friars.
Returnees: Providence had an incredibly rough season in 2012. They were only able to muster four Big East victories, and finished 15-17 overall. The good news is the top three returning scorers are back and should give this team a chance to fare better this season. Vincent Council could very well be the best player you never heard about. Council finished last season averaging 15 points, seven assists, and four rebounds per contest. He is the team's lone senior and plenty will be asked of him. Bryce Cotton is a 6-1 guard that averaged 14 points a game last season and he will help form one of the better offensive backcourts in the league. LaDontae Henton had a very good freshman season on the wing, and even led the team in rebounding. The post game was a big weak last season, but inexperience played a role in that. Brice Kofane, Lee Goldsbrough, and Kadeem Batts are all at least 6-8, and will have to improve for coach Ed Cooley.
Newcomers: Despite a poor record on the court, Providence was able to nail down one of the best recruiting classes in the country last season. The bad part is that has seemingly fallen apart already. Ricardo Ledo, a five-star player and sixth the overall talent in the country according to Rivals.com, was ruled academically ineligible for the season. Providence also landed the 16th rated player in the country in Kris Dunn, but a shoulder injury should sideline him for a good portion of the season. Obviously those losses would be difficult for any team, let alone a squad that won just 15 games last season. Joshua Fortune will be the team's lone freshmen able to play. He was a three-star recruit, and at 6-5, will see some time at the SG and SF positions.
Final Outlook: Cooley has tons of energy and the state of Providence basketball appears to be on the rise. The fact he was able to land two of the Top 20 players in the country should speak for itself. Dunn's injury and Ledo's eligibility obviously are gigantic blows. Still with the trio of Council, Cotton, and Henton, the Friars should be competitive. Dunn may be ready for Big East play, which would help out tremendously. If the Friars can hold their own without him, Providence could surprise some people.