Friar Basketball

Ed Cooley Takes a Look Back and Ahead

Cooley White Coat

Ed Cooley met with the media via Zoom on Wednesday morning and touched on a variety of topics spanning from the end of last season, the adjustment of staying connected to his team during quarantine, and his thoughts on a number of players on the current roster.

Here are some takeaways:

— Cooley spoke of how devastating it was for last season to be cancelled. The Friars were winners of their final six games of the season and felt as though they were one of the hottest teams in the country heading into the postseason, “I knew coming down the stretch we were the best team in the country — chemistry-wise, toughness-wise, and execution-wise. I can say, and I believe, we would have been one hell of an out for somebody to play against.”

— Greg Gantt went through a trying freshman campaign. Gantt’s senior season of high school was cut short due to thumb surgery, he injured his achilles last preseason, then he lost his mother later in the fall.

“Greg has such a personality,” Cooley said. “I’m expecting a really, really big sophomore jump from him this year. His body on Zoom looks amazing. I’m actually jealous. I want to be Greg Gantt when I grow up. He needed a lot of hugs. He needed a lot of support (after his mother’s passing). Our staff did an amazing job with him.”

Cooley continued, “He went through a lot and hopefully that is motivation — I expect him to be a major, major part of our success moving forward for the rest of his career at Providence College. He’s a special young man.”

When asked what he liked most about Gantt’s game, Cooley shared, “His toughness. He’s always quick to the ball. He’s always around the ball. Most players don’t have that ‘it’ factor. He seems to be around the ball all the time. We’ve got to get him to be more consistent in his overall approach to the game, more consistent as a scorer. Between he and David (Duke) we should have two of the best defensive players in the league, if not the country because of their length, their toughness, and their lateral quickness. I’m very, very excited about what he brings to the floor for us.

— Cooley would be surprised if the Maui Invitational were to take place, noting he doesn’t see how it will happen.

— There is no update on Brycen Goodine’s waiver request as of yet. The sophomore Syracuse transfer is hoping to be available to play this coming season. “I don’t think it’ll be an issue, yet we just have to sit back and let the process work. I think he’ll be a really good addition to our program, yet we don’t have any word back as we are still getting information to the NCAA,” said Cooley.

— On point guard Jared Bynum, Cooley called out how Bynum communicates so well and will bring toughness. Bynum is more of a traditional tablesetter in the Kyron Cartwright mold.

— Nate Watson, like all seniors, is naturally concerned about whether or not his senior season will take place.

— Fellow senior big man Noah Horchler “picked up some really, really good weight. He’s definitely been in the weight room,” per Cooley.

— Cooley’s biggest concern is the day-to-day mental health of his players. He brought up the health and safety of his team on several occasions.

— “This is their time,” Cooley said of Duke and fellow junior AJ Reeves. “They’ve been through the gauntlet in every imaginable way. We’re going to need them to make a big jump to compete at the top of our league.”

Here is some more detail from across Twitter.

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