The Latest Happenings Around Providence and the Big East
Old friend Dave Borges, now writing for CT Insider, tackled the question of whether or not Providence and UConn are rivals.
Borges spoke with both Ed Cooley and Connecticut head coach Dan Hurley, with Hurley sharing the following about a rivalry with PC, “St. John’s feels like a rival, Seton Hall feels like a rival… I think everyone in your conference feels like a rival. For UConn, it’s different, because of the brand. It doesn’t have anything to do with any of us that are coaching or playing here right now. We weren’t a part of all that success. But every game for us feels like a rivalry game, because we get everyone’s ‘A’ game every night.”
Adam Finkelstein of 247 Sports has Friar target JP Estrella (a center out of Maine who is headed to Brewster Academy next year) as one of the nation’s biggest stock risers in April. The Friars were in on Estrella early, and had him on campus for a visit this past season. The 6’11 center is skilled and should fly up the recruiting rankings this spring and summer.
247 is also high on Providence’s transfer haul from this spring:
“The Friars were good last year, but I think Ed Cooley has upgraded his roster. There’s more high-end talent now with Bryce Hopkins (Kentucky) and Devin Carter (South Carolina) leading the charge. Providence was good last year. They might be great in 2022-23.”
Former McDonald’s All American and St. John’s point guard Omar Cook is calling it a career after 20+ successful seasons in Europe. He’ll forever be remembered around here for the low blow he delivered on Sheiku Kabba after being utterly frustrated by the tenacity of Kabba and John Linehan.
AJ Reeves had a workout with the Boston Celtics this week.
Ed Cooley got some love on Twitter this week:
Brendan McGair of the Pawtucket Times/Woonsocket Call spoke with both Cooley and Finkelsten on Providence’s transfer class:
Brendan McGair @BWMcGair03Caught up with Ed Cooley & @AdamFinkelstein. We talked about some of the themes that stood out during PC’s portal harvest. #pcbb #friars #bigeasthoops https://t.co/IxxOto0dOP
More on Cooley from the past week:
Big East Coast Bias has a solid look at the latest transfers to commit to Big East schools, as well as St. John’s signing a 2022 big, and recent offers to high school players.
Notre Dame’s Mike Brey thinks college coaches need to shut up and deal with the new reality of NIL.
Providence currently has 100-1 odds of winning the 2023 National Championship, and CBS’ Matt Norlander likes those chances (when asked to pick a long shot):
“It's hard to envision anyone that's +7000 or worse winning the 2023 title, but then: that's the point of this post. Gimme Ed Cooley's guys. The Friars are coming off their first regular-season Big East title in program history, a Sweet 16 run for the first time under Cooley and will bring back Jared Bynum. Louisville's Noah Locke (9.6 ppg), South Carolina's Devin Carter (9.0 ppg) and Kentucky's Bryce Hopkins (a paltry 2.1 ppg) could easily transition to having big-time transfer seasons the way Al Durham and Noah Horchler did last season. The Big East will also be a bit more for the taking next season. Creighton is probably the favorite, but Villanova will be more of an unknown in '22-23 than at any point in the past decade. Program momentum is there, and it's not hard to see the Friars getting a 5-seed or better again. They're my Rich Strike candidate. Speaking of that, there might not be a coach I'd rather see work the track than Cooley.”
CBS also ranked the Big East as the fourth best conference in the nation in 2021-22:
“The Big East rises two spots in this year's ranking after sending six teams dancing and seeing Villanova reach the Final Four. The ineptitude of the league's bottom-dwellers — we're looking at you Georgetown — was an issue, but the Big East's upper-echelon provided high-quality, entertaining basketball all season. Providence's emergence as a national player and Marquette's return to relevance in Shaka Smart's first season as coach helped the Big East to a fine season.”
Finally, CJ Moore of The Athletic wrote a terrific piece on local AAU outfit Middlesex Magic — a program that is emerging after being under the radar for a number of reasons. They recently saw Pat Connaughton and Duncan Robinson reach the NBA, JP Estrella is an emerging star, and they have dominated Under Armour play this season in their first year on the circuit.