Editor's Note: The BIG EAST will be previewing both the men's and women's team from each BIG EAST member each weekday from October 22 to November 9 in advance of the 2012-13 season. Use hashtag #BECountdown to join the conversation on Twitter.
Providence Friars Men's Basketball
The Big Picture:
In his first season as the Friar head coach, Ed Cooley instilled his strong belief in discipline and pride. Providence was a more cohesive group last season and his players blossomed in that environment. Cooley will continue with his style, but he wants some more results in the win column this year. Last year’s squad finished 15-17 overall and 4-14 in the BIG EAST. Cooley has secured a strong recruiting class that will have ample opportunity to be noticed and help push the Friars up in the standings.
Vincent Council has developed into an elite guard in the BIG EAST. Last season, he averaged a team-leading 15.9 scoring mark and was first in the league in assists (7.5). He was an All-BIG EAST Third Team selection. Forward LaDontae Henton and guard Bryce Cotton each averaged 14.3 ppg. Henton also grabbed 8.6 rebounds per contest which earned him a spot on the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team. Cotton tied for third in the league with 77 3-pointers and was second in free throw shooting, making 89.1 percent. Council and Cotton were first and second, respectively, in the BIG EAST in minutes played. Council played 38.7 minutes per game and Cotton was 38.6. Kadeem Batts, a 6-foot-9 junior, helped closer to the basket with averages of 6.2 points and 4.2 rebounds. Six-foot-9 Brice Kofane played in 29 games as a freshman and helped defensively while averaging 2.7 points and 4.1 boards. Reserve forward Lee Goldsbrough (0.8, 1.7) saw limited duty.
WATCH NOW - MEDIA DAY INTERVIEW WITH LADONTAE HENTON
Guard Gerard Coleman, who averaged 13.2 ppg while starting 21 games, along with forwards Bilal Dixon, who averaged 4.3 points and 4.1 boards, while starting seven times, transferred. Reserve forward Ron Giplaye (1.3, 2.0) also left the program.
Kris Dunn is a heralded freshman recruit who is talented enough of make an immediate impact, but a shoulder operation will leave him sidelined until December. The Friars led the BIG EAST in 3-point shooting and the team should be strong again from beyond the arc. With Council established as one of the nation’s top guards and Henton as an emerging star at forward, the Friars have some top-level talent that should make a difference. If some of the younger players can adjust quickly to the college game, then Providence could be poised for a big season.