Friar Basketball

Takeaways from the Opening Day of Practice


Last Friday was the opening day of basketball practice for colleges around the nation and Providence College was no exception. was on hand to take in the practice and to conduct interviews with players and coaches. Below are some quick takeaways from observing the practice and conducting the interviews.

Providence College is going to be long this year, very long!

The 2013-2014 Friars are the tallest team I have seen at PC since I started following the Friars almost 50 years ago. At times this year, you will see a team out on the court standing 6’4 (Dunn), 6’7 (Austin), 6’9 (Harris), 6’10 (Batts) and 7’0 (Desrosiers). With all this height, expect the Friars to mix in quite a bit of zone defense during games. The best part is that they will be able to play very tall without sacrificing speed.

Practices are very intense

Gone are the days when your throw the balls out there and go have a scrimmage. Every second is used in a typical Ed Cooley practice. They are very structured and drills are timed down to the second. Players already know what they are doing and there is no wasted motion. Every player was giving 110% at all times during the practice. It was very refreshing to watch.

My favorite drill was when they were practicing taking charges in the low post. When a player took the charge and hit the floor, the entire team (offense, defense, and players on the sidelines) immediately moved to help the player up off the floor. Great to see!

Batts and Henton emerging as leaders in addition to Cotton

It is very clear who the leaders will be on this team. In addition to returning co-captains from last year, Bryce Cotton and Kadeem Batts, LaDontae Henton showed throughout the scrimmage that he intends to be a leader on this team, shouting out encouragement and instructions to the younger players.

The Surprise player this year

I think everyone outside the program is going to be shocked by the play of Tyler Harris this year. Standing a legit 6’9 he has put on 10 to 15 pounds of muscle during his year off. He is a matchup nightmare, he can score inside and out. He is too fast for power forwards to guard and to quick for small forwards to stop. He will take a lot of people by surprise this year. Here is a quick preview of what I am talking about, courtesy of The Basketball Diary.

Quick Hits from the Opening Day Interviews

LaDontae Henton on Coach Cooley and being Cooley’s first recruit: “I love it here. Coach Cooley is a great guy. He is the nicest guy I have ever met. He will give you the shirt off his back. I knew he was like that when I came here and everything he told me is coming to light.”

Brandon Austin on how he likes PC and college life so far: “I love it, it is different from high school, college is a big transition but I like it.”

On his goals for his freshman year: “Just trying to improve as a player, trying to contribute to the team as much as I can, and to win.”

Tyler Harris on what he worked on during his year off: “I worked on my overall game a lot, my shooting, my ball handling, and on getting stronger. I was also working a lot on being a versatile player and expanding that.”

Carson Desrosiers on what type of game he brings to the table: I will go inside, I will go outside, it depends on the matchup. I love passing the ball and we have a lot of options this year to pass to. I’ve got to be more of a scoring threat this season which I understand.”

Rodney Bullock on why he chose to come to PC: “ I was just comfortable with the coaching staff. I like the atmosphere around here, not too many people. I love the campus and being here.”

Coach Cooley on being picked eighth in the Big East by many national pundits: That’s their opinion. Sombody’s got to be picked first and somebody has to be picked last. Our whole thing is where are we at the end. Honestly, I don’t think about it. We have to take it one practice at a time and it will speak for what it is. I like my team a lot. Do I think we have a lot of growth to do? Yes. Do I think we have some weaknesses? Yes, but it is going to be for another team to find out what they are. We are not going to tell them.”


  1. JMC

    September 30, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Sounds like the ‘Cooley Way’ is taking hold- This is so very exciting-

  2. Mike O'Connor

    October 2, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    It’s great to see Henton stepping up as a leader. He’s going to have a monster year.

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