Friar Basketball

Awards Banquet Wrap Up

Ed Cooley

The Providence College athletic department and head coach Ed Cooley welcomed a crowd of over 200 for the team’s annual awards banquet at the Westin Hotel this past Saturday night. Beginning with a cocktail hour, the night offered opportunities to mingle with players, coaches and several members of the Friars athletic department. Notably, Gerard Coleman, Ron Giplaye and Kiwi Gardner were not in attendance. However, Arizona transfer Sidiki Johnson was present. Also absent from the night’s activities were Andre LaFleur, Bob Simon and Brian Blaney, with Cooley mentioning that their absence was due to recruiting on the road.

After a cocktail hour, attendees made their way into the auditorium room, which was decorated with posters of all current players as well as having a large video screen used for a highlight video later in the evening. Emceeing for the evening was the voice of the Friars, John Rooke, who did a really nice job speaking about highlights from the season as well as providing inspiring words for the future of PC basketball.

After an introduction given by Rooke, both Bob Driscoll and Steve Napolillo took the podium and spoke about the efforts of coach Cooley. In addition, they thanked the some 200 fans and supporters for coming to the event. Following Driscoll and Napolillo, Father Thomas Ertle gave a nice invocation which led into dinner being served.

During dinner, coach Cooley made his way around the room, stopping at every table and personally thanking everyone for coming out and supporting the program. His sincerity and dedication was extremely evident and really seemed to have all in attendance buying into his plan to bring Providence College basketball back to national prominence. After this nice touch from Cooley, he took the podium for his remarks on the season. Beginning his comments by thanking each wife of PC coaches, he had them individually brought up and gave them flowers to thank them for supporting their husbands and dedication to PC basketball.

Moving along to awards, the Duffy Dwyer Fan of the year award went to Glenn Pelt. Pelt’s story, amazing to say the least, entails his trek to make it to every PC basketball game. A resident of Tampa Bay, Florida, Pelt flew all the way up to Providence for PC home games.

In terms of team related awards, they were given as follows:

Thomas Ramos Academic Award: Mike Murray
Lenny Wilkens Hustle Award: Lee Goldsbrough
Coca-Cola Most Promising Prospect Award: LaDontae Henton
Ryan Gomes Most Improved Player Award: Bryce Cotton
Marvin Barnes Defensive Player Award: Brice Kofane
John Zannini Coaches Award: Ted Bancroft
Jimmy Walker Most Valuable Player Award: Vincent Council

Coach Cooley spoke very highly about all of his players as he gave out each award. In reference to Bryce Cotton, Cooley spoke about his major jump in ability from freshman to sophomore year and said “Bryce made game changing shots. Even started talking a little smack. I like a man with a little swag but in a professional way.” Additionally, when speaking about the team’s MVP, Cooley said “I wanted people to press us.” Calling Council one of the best point guards in the country, he added that Council is a great ball sharer and is working on his jump shot.

Lastly, around 10 PM Saturday night, Bilal Dixon posted this on his Facebook page:

“It’s ok not to play me even not to start me senior nite and play me 3 mins at MSG but not to let me talk my last time in friar town at the banquet that’s hurts more cause I wasn’t able to say good bye to my friends an family … Damn what more can coach take from me .. I wanted to stay here but he made me leave #friar nations love y’all”

Without knowing what was said behind the scenes, it certainly seemed as though Cooley took the high road here. Speaking highly of Dixon during his banquet remarks, this comment from Dixon’s Facebook page comes as somewhat of a surprise considering he was already given the opportunity to say good bye on senior night when he was given the microphone following the win over Connecticut. At that moment he was speaking to a nearly sold out Dunkin’ Donuts Center in comparison to just 200 or so people at the awards banquet.

All in all the awards banquet proved to be a great evening for all in attendance. Having been my first time at a PC awards banquet, I certainly look forward to attending these in the future.


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