Council Expected To Play As PC Visits Brown
Friday, December 28, 2012
It has been 30 years since the Providence College men’s basketball team has played a game on the Brown University campus. And the last time they played at Brown, it was at the old Marvel Gym which was torn down many years ago.
Tonight, the Friars visit the Brown Bears for a nationally televised (NBC Sports Network) game at 7pm. It will be PC’s first-ever game at the Pizzitola Sports Center. The game is a sold out.
Many fans for both sides are wondering how and why this game came about. GoLocalProv.com caught up with Providence College men’s basketball coach Ed Cooley for the answer.
“It’s really about three things,” he said. “We wanted a road game, it’s something that we think gives back to the community and something that really challenges us.”
Last year the Friars had three road games (at Fairfield, South Carolina and URI) in their non-conference schedule, heading into tonight’s game at Brown, the Friars have played just one road game – a 71-68 loss at Boston College.
“We definitely wanted to add another road game,” Cooley said. “Last year we opened up the Big East schedule at St. John’s and I felt like our guys weren’t prepared to play in a small, tight environment. This should give us that. I think the fans are going to be real excited and it’s going to be a hostile environment.”
That may or may not be true. With the game taking place during the semester break, Brown students won’t be there to heckle the visitors from PC and a large contingent of Friar fans are expected to be on hand for the game.
None-the-less, it should be a very good atmosphere for basketball at Brown where you have to go back to the days when new head coach Mike Martin was a player to remember when that building was last sold-out. Early last decade when Penn and Princeton were still dominating the Ivy League men’s basketball conference, Brown also had a very good team with Mike Martin, Earl Hunt Alai Nuualiitia, Jason Forte, Jamie Kilburn and Pat Powers. When the Quakers and Tigers rolled into town, the Pizz was rocking providing a great atmosphere for great basketball.
Coming off of tough losses at Notre Dame and Northwestern, the undermanned Bears are hoping that a little home cooking will boost the team. The problem is, like Cooley and the Friars had to deal with in the first semester, Brown has a very short bench dressing a total of 8 players.
“I think coach Martin is going to do a great job there,” said Cooley. “Even though they’re short on numbers, every team has a chance to win when they’re playing at home.”
Cooley should know. His (8-3) Friars are a perfect (7-0) at the Dunk this season with their only losses coming at BC and in Puerto Rico to UMass and Penn State.
Cooley and the Friars do receive some good news tonight as starting point guard Vincent Council is expected to return to the line-up tonight. “We’re going to give Vincent a look [tonight],” said Cooley. “He has practiced at about 50% the last couple of days and he’s sore. We’re hoping he feels a little bit better [Friday]. We’re anticipating playing him but he won’t play a lot of minutes.”
Council’s return is certainly a positive for PC. However, it also presents another challenge for Ed Cooley.
“We started the season with Vincent and there was some real good chemistry,” he said. “Then he got hurt and we played [Bryce] Cotton at the point. Cotton got hurt and we played Josh [Fortune]. Cotton comes back for two games and gets hurt again. Then we implement Kris [Dunn]. We also have Sidiki [Johnson] back. That’s five different personalities. On top of that, as a team, we’re pretty much in January now, but Vincent’s game is still back in November, Kris’ game is still in July and, even though he’s been practicing, Sidiki’s game isn’t in January yet either.”
“Our guys roles are changing by the minute,” said Cooley. “As you saw in our game at Boston College, we had no synergy, no rhythm and we made so many mistakes. I give BC a lot of credit. They played well. But we did not look good.”
Therein lies the problem for Cooley as Friar fans look forward to the addition of more talented players to the program. There’s the issue of developing a rotation, developing a cohesion or a chemistry, and getting players to understand, accept and flourish in their roles.
Granted, it’s the NBA, but you could argue that Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers is dealing with a similar problem with his team. On paper there’s quite a bit of talent, but the team has yet to find a rotation that works for everyone where the team can play consistently well.
As for the future of this series between Providence College and Brown, many wonder if it will go back to being at the Dunk every year where PC pays Brown to play downtown, or if it could possibly transition into a home-and-home series much the way URI and Brown is once again?
“I don’t know that I’d want to commit to anything right now,” said Cooley. “Everything’s on the table, but it all depends upon what happens with our league moving forward. It’ll depend on how many road games we have. We’ll see how it all works out.”
For the 2,800 fans who will be at Brown’s Pizzitola Sports Center tonight, it will be a chance to witness history. It should be lots of fun.