Friar Basketball

Kadeem Batts Competes Internationally

Late last week, Providence College senior, Kadeem Batts, got his first taste of international basketball. Along side former Big East opponents Russ Smith (Louisville), Rakeem Christmas (Syracuse) and Phillip Nolan (UConn), Batts had his first opportunity to test his skills overseas. As part of the East Coast All Stars, competing in Estonia, Batts finished his trip averaging 12 points and 3.8 rebounds in three tournament games and one friendly match up.

After spending two days training at Fordham University, the East Coast All Stars flew out to Estonia, a country located in northeast Europe. Led by Guy Rancourt, Head Coach at Lycoming College, the team competed in the 2013 Four Nations Cup. The other three teams in the field were Belarus, Slovakia and Estonia, while the one exhibition game came against Rapla. In those four games, they left Estonia with a 2-2 record.

Once the team returned home, I was able to catch up with both Batts and Head Coach Guy Rancourt to discuss their experience with them. Check out my conversation with them below:

Questions and Answers with Kadeem Batts:

1) Briefly describe the experience of playing in Estonia for me.
My experience of playing in Estonia was great. I got the experience of living life as a pro. I got to see a different style of play of how the game is around the world.

2) How did you get involved with the East Coast All Stars?
I got involved with the East Coast All Stars through my coaching staff. Though I only just turned 22, I was not able to get in any elite camps because I’m a 5th year senior. So, through searching around for me my coach, Brian Blaney, found this great trip I could go on which I really appreciated.

3) How do you compare the competition that you saw in Estonia to what you see in the Big East?
The competition overseas was great, but I personally believe the competition in the Big East is just as good, if not better. The physicality and style of play I have developed throughout my years of playing in the Big East allowed me to adjust to the strength and contact of the FIBA game. The pro game is much more comfortable to me than the college game!

4) How did this trip prepare you for the upcoming season?
Personally, this trip really prepared me for the season in multiple ways. It allowed me to see how I must manage my time as a pro athlete. This trip also allowed me to continue to work on my leadership and making my teammates better. It allowed me to realize the experience I have can impact others around me in a positive way. Overall, this trip made me hungry to want to win a championship this year and continue to strive to reach my full potential.

5) You had the opportunity to play with other players like Russ Smith and Rakeem Christmas, as well as others, what was that like?
The experience of playing with other high caliber players like Christmas, Smith and Harris was priceless because it makes the game that much easier. I personally play better with good talent around me because it allows me to focus on my strengths. Guys like that understand how to win and really help bring the best out of me.

Questions and Answers with Guy Rancourt:

1) ECA was founded in 2006, could you give me some background on how you became involved and how much you have seen it grow in 7 years?
I started the East Coast All Stars in the summer of 2006 to help college basketball players have the “semester abroad” experience. Initially, we played club teams, but over the past three years we’ve competed against primarily the top National Teams of many countries.. We’ve competed in Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Belgium, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, and most recently Estonia. We’ve also now played the national teams of the Republic of Georgia and Belarus.

2) How would you compare the competition that this years squad saw to the type of competition they will see next season in college basketball?
As former Syracuse standout Brandon Triche stated following his experience with us, “…it’s the next level, they’re men.” With this year’s opponents being top national teams the competitive level was once again strong. The roster varied from high division 3 to high division 1, so I’d consider our opponents this year certainly above most of the roster or in line/slightly above the high division 1 level.

3) Kadeem Batts has improved his game every year since he has been at Providence, if you could point out his biggest strength, weakness and maybe something interesting that you may have learned about him during the past couple weeks.
What I learned about Kadeem Batts is that he’s a great person on and off the court, a true pleasure to have with us this year. I think his hard work and the fantastic job Coach Cooley and his staff have done has been a recipe for success. In my brief time with Kadeem I’d have to say his biggest strength is his versatility. Offensively he was able to score facing the basket and posting up, defensively he defended multiple positions and was a true presence on the glass. It would be unfair to point out a weakness as the only area I can think of would be conditioning, however with the combination of a brief 3 day training camp and jet lag, most of the team faced this issue.

4) What is the process in choosing players for this team?
Regarding the selection process we utilize multiple outlets and advisors who hold a vast knowledge of the college game. We then extend invitations to the combination of young men we believe would get the most out of the experience and be competitive at the same time.

Here are the results from the trip with Batts’ numbers included for each game:

87-77 Rapla over ECA 12 points 4 reb

71-68 ECA over Belarus 9 points 4 reb

93-75 ECA over Slovakia 13 points 4 reb

88-79 Estonia over ECA 14 points 3 reb

Email Craig Belhumeur –


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