Coach Keno Davis released the following statement:

“Early this morning an incident occurred on Eaton Street that involved Providence College basketball player James Still and a student-athlete that was formerly on our team Johnnie Lacy.  I am deeply troubled and disappointed by their actions. As a result of this incident James Still has been suspended indefinitely from the men’s basketball team pending the on-going investigation”

Athletic Director Bob Driscoll said this:

“Violence towards other individuals will not be tolerated by our athletic department.  Our prayers for a speedy recovery go out to the Providence College student who was injured.”

Nothing too ground breaking here.  We were hoping for a little more, but the whole thing is still pretty new, and we would expect the school and the program to better gather their information before a larger statement is issued.  Also make no doubt about it, as things stand now, we don’t want Still putting on the Friars uniform ever again.

Corey Bourassa ProJo.com has reported that both Johnnie Lacy and James Still were arrested early Monday morning on account of assault.  At appropriately 1:00am the Providence Police  responded to an assault where they found the 21 year old senior student, Yerkin Abdrakhmanovon (from Kazakhstan) on the ground near Eaton St. and Huxley Ave. with blood on his face.  A witness identified Johnnie Lacy and James Still as the assailants.  The two were brought into the station for questioning and were arraigned this morning.  Both are charged with one account of felony assault and bail has been set at $10,000 with surety, or $1,000 cash.  As of this morning neither Lacy or Still has posted bail.  The student suffered a broken nose and eye socket and was taken to Rhode Island Hospital.

Providence College has announced that both players have been suspended from the school.  The suspension will last until Providence College completes its own investigation.  They will have to leave campus immediately and will not be able to finish their academic requirements for this semester.  Providence College Executive Vice President Kenneth Sicard issued these words:

“This serious and random assault violates all standards of conduct that Providence College expects of its students and is contrary to our deepest values.  Our thoughts and prayers are extended to the Providence College student who was injured.”

There was another player with Lacy and Still who was released and not charged with any crimes who remains unnamed.

First we would like to wish Yerkin Abdrakhmanovon a speedy recovery.  And now we would just like to rant about how terribly disappointed we are with this whole thing.  Last off season was a rough one for the BIG EAST.  You had you drug arrests, assault arrests, school suspensions, academic suspensions, scandals with coaches, etc.  Luckily we were always proud to say that that wasn’t us, not Providence College.  But this off season it seems that we beat everybody else to the off the court issues.  This is embarrassing and shameful.  Although it is only two students on campus it reflects back very poorly on the school and the program and that is not acceptable.

Johnnie Lacy just had to stay out of trouble for a month and then he was gone.  Instead he is going out with a destructive bang.  And James Still really surprised us.  He is well liked on campus and is not usually the type that starts things up, but last night he was.  Granted we do not know any of the details of what happened, what was said, or what, if anything, provoked Lacy and Still to beat up another student, but we seriously doubt that anything would have warranted the beating Abdrakhmanovon received.  Instead, it was two immature freshman, out and about later than they should have been for a Monday getting into trouble.  And there is no doubt that what Lacy and Still did was idiotic and deserves punishment.  We are glad that the school has suspended them already.  And while Lacy is obviously already leaving, we wouldn’t mind seeing James Still removed from Providence College as well.  Here at PFB as you all know we like to support this team, and as supporters of this team, and the new program that is being built here at Providence we can’t support someone like James Still back on the team.  A message needs to be sent that as Vice President Sicard said in his quote above, this violates all standards of conduct that Providence College expects of its students and is contrary to our deepest values.

There has been no word from Coach Keno just yet regarding the situation.  Things are still early but we will try to keep everybody updated if there are any more developments.

In the mean time let us know what you are thinking, or feel free to rant with a comment.

Over the last two or three weeks there had been rumors on campus that both Jonnie Lacy and Russ Permenter were going to be playing the rest of their college basketball elsewhere.  We were reluctant to report, because as we said they were just rumors, but now Kevin McNamara at the ProJo has confirmed that Russ and Johnnie will be leaving the team. Russ and Jonnie will join Kyle Wright who will also not be returning next. year.  It is unclear on where either player intends on transferring.  Their departure will leave open two additional scholarships for next season, but it is unlikely that Coach Keno will use both of them.  Lacy’s departure leaves the team with only one true point guard, which Kevin McNamara has said might be filled by Darion Anderson, who is set to graduate from Northern Illinois this year, but still has one year of eligibility left.  Anderson is 6’2″ and 23 years old.  Even with him the Friars would only have 11 scholarship players on the team next year, as they would be saving other scholarships for future classes.

First is Russ.  We doubt that the Russ transfer will be noticed too much.  With the all the holes left to fill by the Weyinmi team’s graduation he was more of a filler player.  A bigger player to help out Bilal… and the freshman James Still and Kadeem Batts.  As we all know though, Russ didn’t really work out.  He had limited minutes where he was largely ineffective on offense and picked up fouls quickly.  He didn’t seem to have the toughness as other bigs in the BIG EAST, which hurt especially because he didn’t have great size as a big either.  In his defense, we could only imagine how difficult the transition from JUCO to the BIG EAST is.  Yes, other players have been very successful in it, but there are plenty who haven’t.  Also we always wondered how much Russ liked Providence.  For those who knew Russ around campus it was clear that he was a Texas man.  While we have players from very different parts of the country, we think the Texas/New England transition may be a little difficult on some.  But all that is just opinion.  Although Russ didn’t work out here at PC, we wish him all the best luck in wherever he lands.  His facebook status recently had information about Lubbock, Texas.  As we are sure most of you know Lubbock is home to Texas Tech.  So who knows maybe Russ will land there.  It’s D1 and it’s in Texas.  But in all seriousness, good luck to Russ in the future.

Now on to Johnnie Lacy.  This one is definitely worse than the Russ transfer.  Most immediately it leaves us with only one true point guard for next season.  We have seenpoint guard by committee and point forwards and all those things in the past, and they just don’t work out as well.  Yes, there is Duke Mondy to relieve Vincent Council at times, but we weren’t huge fans of Jeff Xavier acting as point, and no offense to Duke, but we think he is much better suited as an off guard like Jeff was.  We don’t know too much about the guy Keven McNamara mentioned but we will look into him.  We are disappointed that things didn’t work out for Johnnie Lacy.  He came into Providence as a solid recruit, and was even one of ESPN’s freshman to watch in the BIG EAST.  We thought, and still think that he has a ton of potential, but just wasn’t able to get things going.  A large part of that was that Sharaud was the main man, and Vincent Council emerged as the best frosh on the team and one of the best in the BIG EAST.  But we thought that in this upcoming year, with Sharuad gone, and no new point guards coming in that Lacy would get some time and momentum and put together a good season.  However, with the signing of Naadir Tharpe, we think Lacy saw the writing on the wall and realized that while next year might be better, we was soon going to be the third point guard on the depth chart.  So we can’t really blame him for wanting to find more playing time, but we are disappointed that things didn’t work out with him, because we though he was going to be a big part of the teams future.  But like Russ, we wish Johnnie luck in his future.  We have no idea if he will head back to Milwaukee or where he will wind up landing, but we will keep you updated.  In the meantime we thank him for his year with the Friars, we will try to keep track of him in the future, and we wish him well.

Joe Young has been named to the 54th Parade All-American Team as a 3rd team member.  He becomes the first Friar recruit to make the team since God Shammgod did 15 years ago.

The off season coaching carousel continues with former PC Head Coach Tim Welshheading to Hofstra University to take over the reigns.  He will replace former coach Tom Pecora who left to take the Fordham job.  Welsh has signed on for a five year deal with the Pride, and a press conference will be held tomorrow to officially introduce him.

As most all of us know, Coach Welsh spent the last couple years working with SNY/Comcast/ ESPN as both a studio analyst and a game commentator.  He was well liked in those positions, but wanted to get back into coaching.  His name had been linked with the Seton Hall job earlier on and the Siena job more recently; however, Welsh has found his home in Long Island with Hofstra.

We wish Tim Welsh all the luck in the world.  Sure Hofstra is a couple steps down from the BIG EAST, but it was a launching pad for such coaches as Jay Wright.  Welsh has great success on the Mid-Major level with Iona so maybe that will translate over to Hofstra.  Who knows maybe, Welsh does well at Hofstra and finds himself back in a major coaching position.  But anyway, while we liked Welsh as a TV analyst we are happy that he has gotten himself back into the coaching game.  Good luck, and we will check in to see how he does next season.

St. John’s University has decided upon a successor for Norm Robets.  ESPN Analyst and former UCLA Bruins Head Coach Steve Lavin, will be announced as the new head coach in a press conference to take place tomorrow.  The Daily News is reporting that Lavin agreed to a six-year deal worth between $9-9.5 million.  During his tenure with UCLA, Lavin compiled a 145-78 record including five Sweet 16 appearances and an Elite 8 appearance.  He also won at least 20 games in all his seasons at UCLA except for one.

As many know, Lavin is a west coast guy.  He lives in Los Angeles, and most of his recruiting ties are out that way.  he is expected to bring in assistants who will help in recruit in New York and Tri-State area.

It is clear that St. John’s was looking for a big time name that would increase there relevance in the competitive New York Media Market and that would stand out to recruits.  After missing on Florida’s Billy Donovan (it would have killed us to see him go to a BIG EAST school other than Providence… and we don’t think he would do that to us anyway), and Georgia Tech’s Paul Hewitt, the Johnnies landed on Steve Lavin.

We are unsure how this signing will turn out.  We know that St. John’s is returning all five of their starters and 94% of their scoring from a much improved team.  A change of coach with a group of players who have spent three years in another system can always be difficult.  However, in the future, although he is a west coast guy, he may be able to start winning back some of the recruiting battles in the New York City/Northern Jersey areas from the Seton Hall’s, the Villanova’s, and even from the out of conference powers.  It might be difficult at first, but than again it wasn’t too long ago that St. John’s was a national power.

But this is all getting way ahead of ourselves.  Honestly, besides looking at his track record and his resume we don’t have much to go on here, mostly because back in elementary school when Steve Lavin was coaching, we didn’t watch basketball the same way we do now.  Besides clinics and camps, Lavin has been out of the coaching game for a while now; however, he has stayed very close to the college game.  It will be interesting to see how he does in his return to the sideline with a very experienced team and what kind of mark he can make in the St. John’s recruiting scene.  We wish him well (except against the Friars) and hope that maybe he can get the Johnnies back on their feet.

**Also interesting to note that St. John’s has a home-and-home series signed for next season against UCLA.

Seton Hall has hired Kevin Willard to take over as the Head Coach of the Men’sBasketball team. Friar fans may remember Willard from his trip to The Dunk this past season.  Willard is the three year coach of Iona College out of the MAAC.  In his three years he was able to turn around the losing Gaels team he inherited and was given MAAC Coach of the Year Honors this season.  Willard signed a 5 year deal with a total compensation package of about $1 million per year.  Willard who has close ties to both Rick Pitino and Lou Lamoriello is only 34, but is the foreseeable future for the Seton Hall Pirates.  So congratulations to Kevin Willard, now we have to wait and see what will happen with the other coaching vacancies and DePaul and more interestingly St. John’s.  We will stay updated.

Incoming Providence freshman and Yates High School (Houston) standout, Joseph Young has been named the Basketball Player of the Year by Gatorade. The Gatorade Award is for outstanding athletic excellence, high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court.  Besides his impressive season with the 34-0, Texas State Champion Yates Mighty Lions, Young has a B average and has done numerous hours of community service.  Winning the award in Texas has made Young eligible for the National Boys Basketball Player of the Year.  Young beat out a number of other standout high school seniors in what is one of the more difficult states to receive such an award in.

Congratulations to Joe Young.  He can add this honor to the honor of being in the ESPN Top 100, winning the his school a state title, and his McDonald’s All-American nomination.  Honestly you have to start liking Joe Young more and more everyday.  Whether it was his 45 points at the T-Mobile Invitation, his winning record, or his off the court demeanor he seems like the type of player who really contribute to making your team a winning one.  And we have said it before but you really have to tip your hat to Keno and the coaching staff.  They were on to Young before he surfaced into the ESPN Top 100 and way before he was receiving McDonald’s All-American nominations.  And it seems like Joe Young is still is getting better.  If he can bring his winning mentality and his hot shooting from Houston to Providence, he could have an instant impact as a lethal three point shooter.

We have been out of the game for a while now, but there is big news in Friar Town, Naadir Tharpe, a 6’0″ point guard from Worcester, MA verbally committed toProvidence College.  Tharpe, who had been hearing from Boston College, Virginia, West Virginia, UNLV, and Purdue chose to stay closer to home and join Keno and the Friars.  Tharpe’s coach Jason Smith, from the Brewster Academy in New Hampshire had this to say about Naadir:

“He has a very high basketball IQ, elite/level quickness and is an out outstanding passer with vision. He’s a big-time kid. People in their community will fall in love with him. He is outgoing and personable. He has great school spirit.”

Tharpe is a playmaker, and will make the players around him better.  His shot has been inconsistent, but has been improving greatly.  Tharpe is ranked in the ESPN Super 60 for the class of 2011 as the 51 best player and the 13th best point guard in the class.

Obviously it was a very disappointing season, which makes it even better to finally get some good news.  Hat off to Keno and his staff who once again reeled in another top recruit.  This makes three in the ESPN Top 100 for Keno in his short time here.  You have to love that we are now going after big time players and actually getting some.  This was not happening a fews years back.  What we also like is that Keno is started to make a mark in the New England recruiting scene.  For too long we have missed out on the best players around, but it looks like Keno is starting to turn that trend around.

As far as Tharpe goes… we are really excited.  We are thinking that in a couple years or so we are going to have a serious back court.  Vincent Council doing what he does, Gerard Coleman, Joe Young hitting threes, and now Naadir Tharpe putting in work.  In the college game you are always thinking about the future, and even though VC is just stepping in to Sharaud’s roll, it is nice to know that there will be somebody to step into VC’s roll when his time at PC is done… and nice to get some added depth for the first couple seasons.  Tharpe is reason to get excited.

You may not agree with everything Keno does (cough cough… defensive philosophy) but you have got to give it to him on the recruits.  In a short time at Providence he has started gaining some momentum and has given Providence fans something to be excited about.

Side Note:  Tennessee was on campus today practicing for their first round match-up against San Diego State.  We got to watch some of their practice/walk-through which was cool.  Bruce Pearl is an interesting guy and it was interesting to see how he ran a practice.  Vols were looking good… San Diego shouldn’t give them too much trouble but an expected matchup with Georgetown could be very interesting.

Catching Up

Posted: March 6, 2010 in Miscellaneous

So we have been out of the game for a while here, and in that time we have missed quite a bit.  A devastating loss to Pitt, Kyle Wright leaving the team, Jay Bilas deeming us the worst defensive team in the history of the BIG EAST, and in the league a battle for BIG EAST supremacy at the Carrier Dome that saw the Orange put a hurting on Villanova.

Today we have the game with Seton Hall and then its the BIG EAST tournament and then in all likelihood that’s the end of the season.  So we will try to get our act together and finish out this season strongly.  We will try to have some decent BIG EAST Tournament coverage and with the departure of Kyle Wright we will follow the potential recruitment of a possible new Friar as closely as we can.