Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Makai Ashton-Langford Commits to PC

Yesterday was a massive day for Providence Friars Men's Basketball.  The Friars were able to get a commitment from Brewster Academy guard Makai Ashton-Langford for next year's incoming Freshmen class.  Let's take a little trip down memory lane to go through the timeline of how Ed Cooley and the Friars landed the stud guard.

April 30, 2014: Boston College offers Makai Ashton-Langford...this just makes me chuckle.

May 21, 2015: DePaul offers Makai Ashton-Langford...this one's even funnier because at least he's from Mass for BC to offer, there was no chance in hell that he was going to DePaul.

July 27, 2016: Ashton-Langford transfers from Cushing Academy to Brewster Academy for his PG year.

August 8, 2015: UConn offers Makai Ashton-Langford.

August 7, 2016: Official visits set up for Louisville, UConn, and Providence.

August 24, 2016: Ashton-Langford tweets out that he has narrowed his list to a final two schools, UConn and Providence.
August 31, 2016: Makai takes an unofficial visit to Providence.

September 5, 2016: Ashton-Langford commits to UConn.
November 9, 2016: Sings National Letter of Intent to attend UConn.
March 31, 2017: De-commits from UConn.

April 6, 2017: Coach Ed Cooley visits Makai Ashton-Langford.

April 7, 2017: Makai takes an official visit to Providence, attends the end of the season banquet.

April 10, 2017: Officially commits to PC.

April 11, 2017: I start counting the days until the next PC basketball season.

I saw some UConn fans trashing Makai a little bit for de-committing from the Huskies saying that they didn't want a player that obviously wasn't mentally tough enough for the challenge of playing at UConn.  He was the 4th player who was going to be playing for UConn this year who won't be now, coming next season (joining Enoch, Jackson, & Durham).  For people to get upset at a young kid for realizing that he made a hasty decision on what is potentially the biggest decision of his life, is utterly ridiculous.  And not for nothing, I never stopped following MAL on twitter or Instagram when he chose UConn over PC, so I'm going to take 0.04% of the credit for him coming to Providence.

This is why I never understand the small faction of fans that say that Ed Cooley shouldn't go after the big recruits.  Kris Dunn was the the first guy who made all others that followed him possible.  With the amount of transfers and de-commitments that you see in today's College Basketball landscape, to even be in the conversation of one of the final teams on a big time recruits list speaks volumes to other players in the same situations.  Also, as in the case, if someone has a change of heart as to where they want to play, having a prior relationship, and a great one at that, goes a long way because that's probably the first place that guy will turn to when re-visiting his recruiting.  

Just look at how the Friars snagged big man Carson Desrosiers once he decided to transfer from Wake Forest.  Assistant Coach Jeff Battle had previously recruited Desrosiers to Wake and had since moved onto Providence once Ed Cooley took over the head coaching job.  Guess who Carson's first call was to once he decided to transfer...Jeff Battle.

Makai Ashton-Langford is the 32nd ranked High School recruit according to 247 sports.  MAL joins two other Providence recruits with size from Virginia in Nate Watson (89th) and Dajour Dickens (139th).  The Friars have skyrocketed up the National recruiting ranks all the way up to 14th ranked in all of College Basketball (2nd in the Big East being Xavier).  Providence still has one open scholarship for the upcoming season with the transfers of Ryan Fazekas and Ricky Council from last year's squad.  This 14th ranked class will join a team returning their top 8 players (Cartwright, Holt, Diallo, Lindsey, White, Young, Jackson, and Bullock...most likely), making them primed for a pre-season Top 25 ranking if you ask me.

I've been on a re-tweeting and favoriting spree on Twitter so I'll just throw a couple of them down here that I particularly liked once the new broke on MAL.

Not for nothing, but MAL has a relationship with some PC targets for next year, David Duke and AJ Reeves.

If this starts an onslaught of big time recruits coming to Providence, I'm so fucking down for that.
I'm going with the 24/7 sports ranking of 32...so tough shit ESPN. 
Ed Cooley should get a lifetime contract from Providence.  Lifetime.
Legitimately everything I read about this kid makes me like him more and more.

Friday, April 7, 2017

The Top TV Comedies of 2016

I'm finally getting to my top shows form the last year and we're basically a third of the way through this year.  Better late than never I guess.

Before I get into the comedies that I've watched this year, let me just throw out a couple that I started watching and then gave up on because I thought they were garbage.  

Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll.  The only reason I finished the first season was because I thought since I started it, that I should finish it.  I completely expected it to be cancelled and not have to subject myself to another season...thankfully, that happened after Season 2.

Roadies.  Man, I really want Almost Famous Cameron Crowe back, but unfortunately, this ain't it.  The roadies of some bad think they have the most important job in the world and also think they're philosophical as fuck.  They're just annoying little hipster wannabes.

20. Fuller House (Netflix - Season 1) - The only good thing to come from the Full House re-boot...

19. Fresh Meat (BBC America - Seasons 1, 2, 3, & 4) - A British comedy about a group of kids sharing a house at University.  I blew through all 4 years of the group at college.  They are pretty short seasons but hour long episodes.  Basically a lesser version of Undeclared.

18. Saturday Night Live (NBC - Season 41) - You basically know what you're getting from SNL, but this was the one skit that I keep on going back to.

17. Modern Family (ABC - Season 7) - Modern Family has gotten pretty repetitive and stale over the past couple of season yet always seems to be nominated for every comedic Globe and Emmy Award for whatever reason.  One good thing to come out of Modern Family recently...Ariel Winter is all grow'd up.

16. Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central - Season 4) - Amy Shumer's new Comedy Special on Netflix is horrendous...fact.  Her act is basically the same exact joke of her being a slutty chubby girl for an hour.  It gets old really quick.  As for her show, it's hit or miss for me.  It's not as good as the first two seasons but I still chuckle from time to time.

15. Workaholics (Comedy Central - Season 6) - Workaholics is a lot better when they don't involve of their co-workers in their actions, at least for me it is.  When they are at home and doing stupid shit or away from the office, that's when the show is at its best.  Is it just me or has Jillian been in a lot less of the show recently?  She's easily the funniest co-worker at the office, so maybe that's why the office stuff isn't working as much for me anymore.

14. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix - Season 2) - Still rocking the best theme song of any comedy out there.

Jon Hamm pretty much needs to be in everything.

13. The Grinder (FOX - Season 1 Continued) - I was disappointed when I heard that The Grinder was cancelled after it's split first season.  I find Fred Savage hilarious and didn't know that I missed him so much since The Wonder Years.  Rob Lowe is there for comic relief as well but I think it's Savage who really shines in The Grinder.

12. Vice Principals (HBO - Season 1) - Danny McBride basically plays a less violent and vulgar version of Kenny Powers, even going back to a school to be a teacher/vice principal while Walton Goggins (one of my favs) plays an eccentric vice principal with a mean streak.  I thought Dr. Belinda Brown and her storylines (especially her kids) brought down what could have been a Kenny Powers level show with the rest of the cast.

11. You're The Worst (FX - Season 3) - I really like You're The Worst and I know that the whole show is based on characters that you're supposed to hate...but it gets grating to have every single character be despicable and not care about anyone else's feelings literally all the time.  I just start to feel bad for Edgar now in the middle of each episode and the antics of Jimmy and Gretchen have really started to toe the line of funny & cruel to just cruel.  When it crosses the line to not funny more than it is funny, it makes me get angry watching the show.  That could just be me....but then, it could just be the show.

10. Archer (FX - Season 7) - Never gets old...never.  H. Jon Benjamin has the best voice for animation I've ever heard.  Between this and Bob's Burgers, he's really got it made.  I could've chosen any one of 100 scenes, but I really get a kick out of this one.

9. BoJack Horseman (Netflix - Season 3) - Even you haven't seen BoJack Horseman yet, get on the train.  It reminds me a lot of Archer in its type of humor.  All the critics who watched Season 3 all note that the episode where BoJack is underwater and the whole thing is basically a silent episode with no talking is the best one that the show has had in its 3 seasons.  While I totally respect the effort and cleverness that this particular episode had, I've liked other episodes better.  Also, sidenote, BoJack Horseman is actually a really deep show about depression and sometimes the shit that happens to BoJack is too real.  Oh, and I LOVE Mr. Peanut Butter

8. Detectorists (BBC America - Season 2) - Detectorists is basically a show made exactly for me.  Both Toby Jones and Mackenzie Crook are the perfect combination for this show in terms of chemistry and opposite ends of the spectrum.  Somehow they just fit each other's personalities just so. I can see how this show wouldn't be for everyone but it is for me...I mean, I did buy a metal detector after watching the first season...still looking to do my gold dance though.  Different kind of theme song than Kimmy Schmidt but just as good in its own way...also, the main guy from Scrotal Recall, Johnny Flynn, is the one who plays it which is pretty cool if you ask me.

7. Broad City (Comedy Central - Season 3) - Them girls are funny as hell.  They both have very different and distinct sense of humor and delivery but they're both great.

6. The Last Man On Earth (FOX - Seasons 2 & 3) - Huge Will Forte guy here and the addition of Jason Sudekis on the show was a perfect fit for the dynamic of the group.  Plus, this...

5. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FX - Season 11) - My 3 favorite episodes of Season 11 where Mac & Dennis Move to the Suburbs, Chardee MacDennis 2: Electric Boogaloo, & The Gang Hits the Slopes.  It's amazing that It's Always Sunny can stay so funny after 11 seasons.  They signed on for a couple of more season which will eventually bring the show to the longest running comedic show in the history of television, which is insane.  The one scene that I can absolutely relate to from this past season...

4. Veep (HBO - Season 5) - I think its safe to say that Veep has the most characters in a show that are genuinely funny.  There's a double-digit number of characters that have me in stitches in any given episode, whether it be Gary, Dan Egan, Mike McLintock, Richard or Jonah, the cast is so deep on this show that there is never a down minute, no matter what combination of them are in a scene together.

3. Catastrophe (BBC America - Season 2) - This may be a show that doesn't get enough word of mouth going around on it, but it really should.  Plus, the fact that the seasons are shorter and they are on Amazon with no commercials is so key.  You could knock out this whole season in less than 3 hours (I'm not checking if that's factually correct but I'm like 90% sure that it is).  There are only so many shows that I verbally laugh at every episode and this is definitely one of them.

2. Silicon Valley (HBO - Season 3) - It's basically like Entourage but I like all the characters and it's still good after the 3rd Season.  Oh, and Richard Hendricks is actually good at his job that is making him oodles of money, unlike Vince, who couldn't act his way out of a paper bag.  I do kinda miss Drama though, just a little bit.

1. Atlanta (FX - Season 1) - I'm not really sure if I should even be classifying this as a comedy since it's basically a drama that just also happens to be funny as hell.  If I were putting this on the drama list, it would have made my Top 5 regardless.  It's smart, funny, real, and just all-around fucking brilliant.  This is my favorite new show on television and it's really not even close.  Donald Glover can do it all.  I tried to find a clip of the scene where Glover is waiting in jail but they're all shit quality.

The Top Reality TV Shows of 2016

I'm not sure if I want to give away the winners of the seasons or not because I would hate spoilers if they were told to me.  I also don't have a ton to say about a lot of these as I run through them but I did put my top 5 Reality TV Shows of 2016 at the bottom of the list.  I'll be upfront and say that I am much more of a Competition Reality Show guy than a Reality Show with Drama and shit like the Housewives or Kardashians or any of that garbage.  

Without further ado...

The Challenge (MTV - Season 27) - This season was Bloodlines which means that there was one person who was on a MTV show and one person who is related to them that came to be their partner.  Somehow, Bananas got to bring his Cousin who played D1 college football.  The best part of this show is that it introduced some new blood that can come back for shows in the future.

Married at First Sight (A&E - Season 3) - 3 couples - Sam & Neil, David & Ashley, and Vanessa & Tres.  Basically every girl was a mess and all the guys tried to accommodate everything for them...didn't go well for any.

The Bachelor (ABC - Season 20) - Ben Higgins chose Lauren B. over JoJo, even though JoJo is way cooler and way hotter.  Cayla was a sexy as hell but basically couldn't talk.  Ben did a big no-no and told both Lauren and JoJo that he loved them before dumping one at the alter...at least JoJo became the Bachelorette.

The Bachelorette (ABC - Season 12) - JoJo picked Jordan Rodgers even though she had 3 other good dudes...which basically never happens, and now they are most boring couple ever.  This season did give us Chad though...

Bachelor in Paradise (ABC - Season 3) - Chad went ham (literally and figuratively).  The end had three couples engaged, Josh & Amanda, Lace & Grant, and Evan & Carly, who also happened to have the grossest makeout in history.  

Also, I like Canadian Daniel now. They picked Nick as the new Bachelor instead of Luke because apparently they like mumbling on The Bachelor.

The Biggest Loser (NBC - Season 17) - The theme was Temptation Nation whatever the hell that meant.  I really liked my man Colby and I continue to love Jen Widerstrom.  She's the best thing to happen to this show (still got love for my man Bob to0).

Top Chef (Bravo - Season 13) - The season took place all along California which was pretty cool.  My pick Jeremy won in an otherwise just OK season.

The Amazing Race (CBS - Season 28) - The season had a bunch of YouTube, Vine, and Instagram stars and I thought I was going to hate everyone because it sounded like the typical Millennials who are all spoiled and shit but I turned out to like a lot of the contestants surprisingly.  Except for Dana, the dancer who was just a total complete shithead to her longterm boyfriend Matt.  

Shark Tank (ABC - Season 7) - I can't remember anything specific from the season already as all the Shark Tank seasons bleed into one another.

Ink Master (Spike TV - Season 7) - I don't know how Anthony won 1st place over Cleen Rock One when he didn't even finish one of his tattoos.  It's insanity.  Cleen Rock was better despite that anyway.

The Voice (NBC - Season 10) - Laith Al-Saadi 4th place, Hannah Huston 3rd Place, Adam Wakefield 2nd place, Alisan Porter (Curly Sue) Winner.  Really weak season for The Voice.  I'm glad Christina finally won I guess but I'm never going to listen to a song from Alisan Porter in the future and I'm sure I'll probably never hear one from her unless she plays it on The Voice.

American Grit (FOX - Season 1) - Team Noah Winner; Mark (lumberjack) & Clare win $250K.  They need to do something different next season with the same obstacle course that they used before each elimination.  Either have it in a place where everyone can see them running or switch it up each elimination.  This show could have potential though.

Strong (NBC - Season 1) - Stupid.  For some reason, instead of building side by side obstacle courses so that each team could run against each other at the same time, they just went one after another.  But, they also didn't have a clock, so you have no idea if you're ahead or behind.  It was just stupid.

After The Thrones (HBO - Season 1) - Pretty much just stole the premise of The Talking Dead that comes on and talks about the episode of The Walking Dead that you just watched, only this is for Game of Thrones.  I thought it was very good except for the cold opens. I'm not sure why they didn't have Jason and Mallory on every single episode, but the shows where they were on and gave insights from the book and stories were 1,000x better.

Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Los Angeles Rams (HBO - Season 11) - Same old Hard Knocks.  It's always going to be enjoyable but there weren't really any compelling players or storylines on this season.

Dating Naked: Playing for Keeps (VH1 - Season 3) - They ended up picking each other which was pretty obvious throughout the season.  The girl was quite the looker as well.

Big Brother (CBS - Season 18) - My first time watching a season of Big Brother.  Unfortunately, none of the apps that have shows (Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, etc.) have old seasons that you can watch.  Also, it took away knowing the 4 returnees to the house.  Nicole (returner) wins by 1 vote over Paul marking the 1st time a girl beat a guy in the final 2.  Also, Michelle sucks.  And also, Natalie sucks.

Naked & Afraid XL (Discovery Channel - Season 2) - Kind of hated everyone except Jake, Kim, and Steven.

Married at First Sight (FYI - Season 4) - Terrible.  Just terrible.

Ink Master (SpikeTV - Season 8)  Winner Ryan, first female winner.  The girls were really good on this season and although I don't think Ryan actually won the finale, she was probably the best throughout the actual season.  Plus, she plays to my liking of girls with sleeve tattoos.

The Voice (NBC - Season 11) - New judges Alicia Keys and Miley Cyrus.  I started off liking Alicia but her shit got old about halfway through the season.  Never liked how they showed Miley singing along with the songs every time someone preformed.  The Winner was Sundance Head (great name) and 2nd Place was Billy Gilman.

Survivor: Millenials vs. Gen X (CBS - Season 33) - Winner Adam (swept the votes).  Great season although I feel like now they only have seasons with a specific theme rather than just 20 strangers stranded on an island.  Just wanted to point out that Adam was my pick to win this season as well...I'm pretty good at picking winners, just FYI.

Top 5:

5. Steve Austin's Broken Skull Challenge (Spike TV - Season 3) - Hunter (guys) and Cassidy (girls) are returning champions.

I don't know if I'm in the minority on this show or not but I freaking love it.  Hunter is pretty much unbeatable on the obstacle course.  The thing is, there are contestants who might be good a the Broken Skull but can't get past the one-on-one competitions in order to get there.  You need to be balanced to reach the end at all.  You need size and strength to beat everyone head-to-head but also a deep gas tank so that you can crush the Skull Buster.  Plus, who doesn't love Stone Cold??

4. The Challenge (MTV - Season 28 - Rivals III) - Bananas and Sarah win (Bananas takes the $275K), Vince and Jenna 2nd (split $), Devin and Cheyenne 3rd (split)

Bananas not only solidified himself as the greatest Challenge contestant in history but he also pulled off the most villainous move in the history of the show.  I would have too because how many more of these things does he really have in him?

3. Survivor (CBS - Season 32 - Kaoh Rong) - Winner Michelle, 2nd Place Aubry, 3rd Place Tai

Survivor is my favorite reality show in history...fact.  Kaoh Rong was an all-around great season which is hard to do with a whole new cast nowadays.

2. Last Chance U (Netflix - Season 1) - Awesomeness

Both these last two shows were captivating.  Sometimes you wanted to scream at the TV for these kids to just go to freaking class but it was super interesting to see the behind-the-scenes of a Junior College and its effect on College Football.

1. All or Nothing: A Season with the Arizona Cardinals (Amazon - Season 1)

I believe they are staying with the Cardinals for another season for this show but I can't remember if that's correct or not.  Unlike Hard Knocks, All or Nothing plays out over an entire season and focuses much more on players who you'll actually see in games rather than 6th receivers or back-up linemen who will get cut.  All or Nothing was way, way better than Hard Knocks this year and Bruce Arians seems like he'd be awesome to grab a beer with.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Julian Gressel Notches First MLS Assist, Contributing from the Get-Go

MLS.com recently put out an article stating that Providence College Alum Julian Gressel may be becoming the steal of this past year's MLS Superdraft.  Since the former Friar Gressel just recently recorded his first professional assist, I thought it'd be a good chance to see how he's stacking up so far against the other rookies in his class through the beginning of this season.

Here's a look at the top ten picks from the Superdraft.
  1. Minnesota United FC - Abu Dunladi, Forward (UCLA)
    • 3 GP, 0 GS, 79 Mins, 0 Goals, 0 Assts
  2. Atlanta United FC - Miles Robinson, Defender (Syracuse)
    • Has not played
  3. New York City FC - Jonathan Lewis, Forward (Akron)
    • 1 GP, 0 GS, 11 Mins, 0 Goals, 0 Assts
  4. Portland Timbers - Jeremy Ebobisse, Forward (Duke)
    • Has not played
  5. Columbus Crew SC - Lalas Abubakar, Defender (Dayton)
    • Has not played
  6. San Jose Earthquakes - Jackson Yueill, Midfielder (UCLA)
    • Has not played
  7. Columbus Crew SC - Jake Nerwinski, Defender (UConn)
    • 1 GP, 1 GS, 90 Mins, 0 Goals, 0 Assts
  8. Atlanta United FC - Julian Gressel, Midfielder (Providence)
    • 4 GP, 4 GS, 333 Mins, 1 Asst
  9. Columbus Crew FC - Niko Hansen, Forward (New Mexico)
    • 2 GP, 0 GS, 34 Mins, 1 Goal, 0 Assts
  10. Houston Dynamo - Joe Holland, Midfielder (Hofstra)
    • Has not played
Out of the top ten picks of the draft, only 5 have seen playing time so far this season.  Gressel has played more minutes than the other 4 players combined (333 vs. 214).  In that time, Gressel has started all 4 games for Atlanta United FC on the season while only one player (Nerwinski) has started a game this season.  That was also Nerwinski's only game in which he saw action this season.  Niko Hansen is the only player with a goal this year while Gressel is the only player with an assist.  Gressel had a goal that was deflected off of a defender this year and was thus ruled an own goal.

It would be one thing if Gressel was getting a lot of playing time on a poor squad but Atlanta is currently in 2nd place in the Easter Conference with 7 points in 4 games.  The team ahead of them (Columbus) has a 3 point lead but has played 1 more game than Atlanta.  That makes Gressel's playing time even more impressive in his Rookie season.

Gressel has slid in seamlessly into MLS action and is displaying the talent, size, speed, and temperament of someone who has been in the league for years.  His coaches and teammates have shown trust and support for Gressel and that has seemingly made him more comfortable in his starting role.

A little bonus video of Gressel talking about his decision to play professionally in the US and also his experiences growing up that prepared him for facing adversity.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Ricky Council II Transferring from PC

Ricky Council II became the second player from this year's Providence Friars Men's Basketball Team to transfer and also the second player to do so from the Friars Sophomore class, following Ryan Fazekas.

He posted a note on his Instagram with the following message declaring his choice to transfer.
"The last shot I took in a Providence College uniform. Sometimes the path to success has its twists and turns. I decided that it's best for me to part ways with the program. I've made lasting memories with my brothers, I love my brothers and I met the girl of my dreams here. I will never forget the two years I spent here. During my time here people doubted me and I'll forever remember the people that turned their back when I was down and out. On a positive note I would like to thank Friartown for an amazing two years and the journey to my dreams continues."
Here's a look at Council's stats while with the Friars.

Council was billed as a shooter when he arrived at PC and all but 1 of his 19 career shots were taken from behind the arc, unfortunately, he was never able to play his way into any significant minutes for the team.  This now makes 2 open scholarships for the 2017-2018 season for the Friars.  I would urge them to look for some shooting at the two spot as the two Big Frosh bodies coming in should help us out down low.

Let's take a look at Ricky's recruitment before coming to PC to see if we can get a glimpse of some places he might look back to:

Appalachian State

Tulsa wouldn't be a bad spot for Council to land and at 6'5'', he has good size for a shooting guard.  He definitely needs to improve his ball handling in order to get some more run and although his 3-point shooting never got up to snuff at PC, he was praised as a really good shooter coming out of Moravian Prep in North Carolina.

Council, much like Fazekas, never once complained about his role with the Friars, even though you know he wanted to get the chance at more playing time.  Another kid from this Ed Cooley group who no one seems to have a bad word to say about.  Not only that, but he was a heck of a student in the classroom as well, earning Student-Athlete of the month for February.

Many well wishes to Ricky in the future in both his basketball career and off the court endeavors.

Former PC Friar Noel Acciari Scores First NHL Goal for the Boston Bruins

Providence College Alum Noel Acciari recently got called up by the Boston Bruins on March 1st, but it wasn't until his 5th game playing the the B's that Acciari was able to score his first goal as an NHL player.

Playing at home against the Nashville Predators, Acciari was able to net a goal with 4:13 left in the third period on a feed from Riley Nash.  The goal put the Bruins up 3-1 at the time and Boston would go on to win the game 4-1 when all was said and done.
Noel got the Rookie treatment in his post game interview from David Pastrnak.

Acciari also got to keep the puck from his first goal.

Noel had some personal thoughts on the first goal of his career that made it feel all the more real.
It's good to see some Friars make some waves in the NHL this season.  Tip of the cap to Noel and GO BRUINS!

Ryan Fazekas Transferring from PC

Providence College Sophomore Ryan Fazekas confirmed that he is transferring from PC following a report from Jeff Goodman at ESPN.
The 6'8'' sharpshooter from Indiana will have to sit out a year before having two years of playing eligibility left for whichever school he ends up choosing.  In looking at some of the reports, it looks like he will trying to move closer to home for his next basketball landing place.

Unfortunately, some of the schools around Indiana actually play in the Big East (Butler, Marquette), so that would immediately cancel those two out from competing for his talents.  I wanted to take a look back at his recruiting from a couple years back to see if that might shed some light on where he might end up deciding to go.  A lot of the time, a player will have a personal relationship with a previous coach that will determine where they transfer to.  I remember Carson Desrosiers had a relationship with Assistant Coach Jeff Battle while he was at Wake Forest and that led him to eventually transferring to Providence.

Looking back, here's what his recruitment looked like:

Unofficial Visits:
Boston College
Memphis (Midnight Madness)
Loyola Chicago

Coach Visit:
Indiana State


Providence was the first to offer Fazekas. 

With the Northwestern Wildcats earning their first ever NCAA Tournament win this year, that would be a nice place to land for Fazekas, with that team trending upwards.  Every team can use a shooter like Ryan.  He is a one-man zone breaker.

Ryan's Freshman year at PC was disrupted by a battle with mono in the middle of the season that saw the already skinny frame of Fazekas dwindle down to a stick figure.  Fazekas had fought his way into the starting lineup at the beginning of the year alongside future NBA players Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil.  Before being sidelined with mono, Fazekas was drilling threes at a smoldering rate.

Through the first 9 games, he was 17-36 from three, good for 47.2%.  He was a perfect compliment to Kris Dunn's slashing game.  After missing 6 games, Ryan slowly worked his minutes back up over the next few games but the weight loss really took a toll on his thin frame.  After coming back, over the next 19 games, Ryan shot just 17-63 from three (27.0%). In double the amount of games, he made the same number of threes as he did through the first 9.

At the start of this season, with a full off-season for Ryan to work himself back into actual basketball shape and put back on some of the weight and muscle that he had lost, expectations were high.  In the 13 non-conference games, it appeared that Ryan's three point shot was right getting to normal.  He started the season 17-44 (38.6%) and hit multiple three pointers in the first 4 games of the season.  However, with the emergence and continued development of Alpha Diallo, Ryan saw his minutes start to dwindle at the start of conference play.

This isn't a knock on Fazekas' game at all, it's just a matter of circumstance.  Fazekas can still be a starter for a good team in my opinion.  His ability to shoot combined with his size can be a factor as can be seen in stretches where he's caught fire from distance.  He would probably excel most on a team that plays a lot of zone given his defensive limitations or if he's able to slide into a stretch-4 slot, along with putting on some poundage, I can see him fitting nicely into that role.

I can envision Ryan having the jump in points that Jalen Lindsey had this year for the Friars with that same shooting ability.  Down the stretch of the season, I thought Ryan showed some adaptability to shoot off of the dribble as well, which would go a long way to developing his game.  Of course, Jalen was allowed more playing time when struggling with his shot as he was such a good defender.  Ryan doesn't currently have that luxury.

From all accounts, Fazekas is a great kid who bought completely into Ed Cooley, the Friars, and his teammates.  I wish nothing but the best for the him in the future.  Once a Friar, always a Friar.

A couple of my favorite Ryan Fazekas photos from his time with the Friars.

Most awkward candid ever?

Smart move to hide behind the in-shape guys.

Picture perfect shot for the farewell...

Rodney Bullock Declares for the NBA Draft to Test the Waters with No Agent

Rodney Bullock is declaring for the NBA Draft, per ESPN, but will not be hiring an agent.
With the new draft rules allowing for college players to enter the NBA Draft so that they can participate in pre-draft workouts and receive feedback from NBA Scouts and come back to school if they don't hire an agent, it makes complete sense for anyone that may even a fringe draft pick to take full advantage of that opportunity. 

Even if you are 100% going to stay in school, the fact that you can obtain more visibility across the NBA with scouts and see where you stack up with future NBA talent is a no-brainer to take part of.  The scouts and draft experts can advise you on the specific parts of your game that you need to most improve to help your draft stock for the next year as well. 

I guarantee that you'll be seeing the floodgates open with college players declaring for the draft over the next couple of weeks but a lot of them will be coming back.  The poor decision would be to hire an agent right away if you are just testing the waters.  Why not get a better idea of where you might fall in the draft before putting all your eggs in the NBA Draft bucket?

A lot of Friar fans are going to point to Ben Bentil right away as why Bullock probably shouldn't declare for the draft.  Even with the pre-draft process, you may be told that you're higher up on some of the lists of some teams than you may really be.  Of course, in Bentil's defense, he was selected in the late 2nd round by the Celtics.  Let's take a look at Bentil's year in review:

  1. Signed by the Boston Celtics ($250K)
  2. Played in 3 pre-season games
  3. Waived by the Boston Celtics
  4. Signed by the Indiana Pacers ($50K)
  5. Waived by the Indiana Pacers
  6. Singed by the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (Pacers Affiliate; D-League)
  7. Played in one D-League game for the Mad Ants
  8. Signed by the Chinese League Xinjiang Flying Tigers to replace an injured Andre Blatche.
  9. Appeared in 11 games for Xinjiang.
  10. Returned to the Mad Ants.
  11. Signed a 10-Day contract with the Dallas Mavericks ($31,969).
  12. Played in 3 games for the Mavs becoming the first Ghanaian player to ever appear in an NBA game.
  13. After 10-Day contract expired, returned to the Mad Ants.
All in all, Bentil made $331,969 in the NBA this year, plus whatever he made in China, which if I were to guess, was significant.  I'd say, he probably made about $500K this year.

I have no issue with any kid doing what is best for them and their situation.  Who am I to judge someone else, their choices, and how can I really understand their circumstances.  

In terms of NBA readiness, yes, I think Bullock (and Bentil for that matter) could benefit from another year at Providence College.

Bullock would be returning to a team who's entire starting lineup would be back after finishing 3rd in the Big East.  They will most likely be ranked this year and the spotlight and exposure on them will be brighter.

Bullock can also get a feel for what he needs to work on this off-season and implement into his game next year.  I would suspect that he could put on a little more muscle, limit his turnovers, improve his foul shooting, and work on his body language.  The one other thing that would help is if he didn't get off to such slow starts, especially against higher competition.

I think Bullock will return to school for when all is said and done, but if he were to hire and agent and enter the NBA Draft this year (which is STACKED with talent), then I'll be rooting for him in the pros and I'll miss the hell out of his Bullock War Cry.

Game Recap: PC Friars Fall to USC 75-71 in NCAA First Four Revenge Game

#11 USC Trojans (25-9) 75
#11 Providence Friars (20-13) 71

It was a game of two halves, that's as simple as you can put it.  Providence College raced out to what looked to be an insurmountable 15-point lead at half time in their first four NCAA Tournament rematch with the USC Trojans, but that wasn't the end of the story.

After putting together, maybe their most dominant half of basketball in the entire season, the roles of the two teams were completely switched for the second half.  USC has developed a knack for coming back from large deficits this year, notching 11 different comebacks of 10 or more points this season, the most in all of college basketball.

So, I'm sure it came as no surprise to the Trojan coaches, players, and fans that when faced with such a familiar situation, USC was able to claw their way back and steal a win from the grasp of the Friars.

Providence held a 17-point lead with 19:42 left in the game.  The Trojans were able to claw all the way back behind Bennie Boatwright (24 pts) and Jordan McLaughlin (18 pts) and avenge their previous NCAA loss to Providence.  The 17 points were the 6th biggest deficit overcome in NCAA Tournament history...that definitely sounds better than lead blown doesn't it?

Quick Hits:

  • The Friars were 8-15 from three in the first half.
  • Jordan McLaughlin dominated the game with 18 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists (only 1 turnover), and 2 steals.
  • USC was playing three players 6'10'' or taller in the 2nd half during their comeback, fully taking advantage of PC not having any legitimate depth in their frontcourt.  The Trojans outrebounded the Friars 36-25.
  • 6'10'' Bennie Boatwright scored a career-high 24 points.
  • 6'11'' Nick Rakocevic with a career-high 9 points off the bench.
  • 6'11'' Chimezie Metu with 15 points and 8 rebounds.
  • The Friars didn't have enough big bodies to match the size of USC down the stretch.
  • This may have been Emmitt Holt's best all-around game as a Friar.  Holt had a team-high 18 points on 9-12 shooting from the floor.  He also took in a game-high 11 rebounds to notch his 4th double-double on the season.  The 11 rebounds matched a season-high for Holt.

  • Jalen Lindsey was absolutely unstoppable in the first half, making a barrage of 3-pointers.  Every time you blinked, Lindsey was there draining another 3.  Lindsey hit 4 threes in the first half, but didn't connect on a single three in the second half.  He still finished with 17 points on the game but his damage was done when the Friars were rolling in the first 20 minutes.
  • Lindsey logged a team-high 38 minutes on the floor.
  • Kyron Cartwright was uncharacteristically hampered by foul trouble in the game. Maliek did a really nice job filling in during the first half but this team runs on Kyron's aggressiveness running the offense.  Cartwright only took 2 shots for the entire game, although he did make both field goals.  The 2 field goal attempts tied a season-low for Kyron.  This year, Cartwright averaged 9.5 field goal attempts a game.
  • Cartwright finished with 9 points, 7 assists, but 4 turnovers.  The foul trouble seemed to take him a little bit out of rhythm, which is probably to be expected.
  • Rodney Bullock started the game a little shaky as he has been known to do at times this year but really turned things on after that.  Bullock looked comfortable shooting from outside, hitting 3-6 from three, contributing to his 17 points.
  • Bullock also chipped in 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and a patented Bullock War Cry.

  • Ryan Fazekas was Ed Cooley's first guy off the bench in the first half as USC came out playing a lot of zone.  Cooley probably saw how many spot-up threes the Trojan zone was giving up and thought Ryan could benefit from that defensive look.  Fazekas only ended up playing 4 minutes, with his only shot a missed 40-foot heave during an expiring shot clock.
  • Alpha Diallo was another guy who was struggling with foul trouble in the game.  Diallo did a little bit of everything, including a nice little steal and dunk near the end of the half.

  • Isaiah Jackson, who had been the most efficient scorer off the bench during PC's run of wins at the end of the season picked the wrong time to have an off game.  Jackson was just 1-5 with a turnover in 13 minutes.
  • Maliek White did a very nice job backing up Cartwright, recording 4 assists in just 10 minutes.
  • I was a little surprised that Kalif Young didn't get a little more run in the game considering how the Friars couldn't seem to stop the bleeding against the big USC lineup.  I'm not sure if Cooley thought that he didn't matchup quite good enough with the athleticism of USC's bigs.
  • I learned something new about USC.  I fucking hate Chimezie Metu.  Who knew?
  • Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't put in a pic of USC Coach (Former Dunk City Coach) Andy Enfield's wife.

A very disappointing loss for the Friars when all is said and done but this season as a whole has been such an incredible surprise that you can't help but feel hopeful for next year's squad.  The Friars should be returning basically everyone (minus Woodring) depending on transfers.  The additions of two new bigs in Freshmen Nate Watson and Dajour Dickens is going to go along way in fixing the one glaring problem that this team had this year.

This season was supposed to be a rebuilding year.  The Friars were picked by the coaches to finish 9th out of 10 teams in the Big East.  Ed Cooley and these players weren't having it at all.  Cooley made his 4th straight NCAA Tournament despite such low expectations and proved that the Friars don't have down years anymore.  The resiliency and fight in this team did not go unnoticed. 

Big hopes for next year.  Optimism out the ass.

Go Friars!