If you haven’t already seen it, the latest edition of the COWL came out on Thursday. The cover
story was, Coach Reacts to Players’ Transgressions. The link is posted, but we will give some of the highlights here. Coach Keno had this to say about the incident:
“My first reaction was concern. Concern for the individual that was on the receiving end of this incident and it continues to be that first and foremost. In the midst of this tragedy, my emotions have become an array of disappointment, frustration, and now it’s more of self-reflection for myself, the coaching staff, and the team.”
We thought it was interesting that Coach Keno also went on to address Kyle Wright’s facebook note. Coach Keno said this to the COWL:
“I don’t have anything negative to say about Kyle Wright. I wish him the best and hope that he has a bright future ahead of him. But I will say in regards to what Kyle and others have said, we are looking at the way we handle our business and we’re always trying to improve. I don’t want the public perception of Providence College Basketball and the college as a whole to be marked by the unfortunate actions of a few team members. We will try to do the best we can moving forward and try to regain the trust of the fans and the people of Rhode Island.”
Here’s the deal. Coach Keno has been catching a lot of heat for this whole incident. People admit that he can not be responsible for everything his players do, as he is not the babysitter; however, people are really getting on him for his recruiting. You could debate who has been brought in in Keno’s only class to arrive on campus as of yet, and whether they should be here or not, but this is what we think.
In basketball there are plenty of marginal people that are awarded scholarships. That doesn’t make it right but anybody who follows college basketball just a little bit knows that. Just look around at all the bad that happened last season in the BIG EAST. West Virginia, and Catholic universities Seton Hall and Villanova all had notable problems. Just recently problems popped up at St. John’s. Nationally, Kansas, Tennessee, and many other schools had problems that arose during the season. It would be great if you could get Academic All-Americans, who are great kids, and great basketball players but that is just not the way it works. Even Duke doesn’t always get that. When you recruit a kid you can only know him to a certain extent. It would be great if you knew his entire history, but you can’t. You have to go on what his coaches say. What his mentors say, and what those around the kid say. And look back and check Johnnie Lacy’s and James Still’s criminal records and get back to us with what you find. Neither one was a particularly great student, but that is certainly no indicator to a coach that they are going to senselessly beat up another student.
Don’t mistake us for in anyway trying to defend Lacy or Still. And we aren’t giving Keno free pass either, but we think all things considered he is not handling the situation poorly. He has just finished his third year as a head coach, and this is a difficult thing to deal with. We think he acknowledges that there are some issues in the program and it seems like he is going to try his best to address them. But for people like Kyle Wright and Jim Donaldson to shift so much of the blame to Keno is a little bit much for our liking.
We are thrilled that Joe Young, Gerard Coleman, Ron Giplaye, and Naadir Tharpe have all signed on with Providence College, but we also hope they are good people and do nothing even remotely similar to what happened earlier this week. And give Coach Keno a chance. Let the man make changes and improve the program before you throw him under the bus. (And this is not a response to the article in the COWL which we thought was well written and gave the facts, but more to talk around campus and the always insightful commentary of Jim Donaldson…)