friars

Hundreds show up to celebrate 15-year anniversary of Providence’s ’97 Elite 8 team

1 Comment

The 1997 NCAA tournament may have been one of the wildest tournaments in the 64/65-team era despite the fact that three one-seeds reached the Final Four in Indianapolis.

Of course that starts with national champion Arizona, who beat three one-seeds (only missing out on Minnesota, who lost to Kentucky in the Final Four) on their way to a national title.

Arizona won the Southeast region that year, and that region also produced Cinderellas Chattanooga and Providence.

Coached by Pete Gillen, the Friars took care of the Mocs before falling to Arizona in overtime in the Elite 8.

On Saturday night Providence College came together to honor the team led by guys such as Derek Brown, Austin Croshere and God Shammgod at the Westin Hotel in downtown Providence.

Those Friars had work to do at the Big East Championship and they did just that, winning two games in New York to sew up a bid to the Big Dance.

And once there the Friars didn’t stop, knocking off 7-seed Marquette, 2-seed Duke and 14-seed Chattanooga before running into the Wildcats.

And according to Corey Wright the Friars had a feeling that once in the tournament they’d be hanging around for a while.

“I remember the excitement of the fans and the send-off rally we had before going to Charlotte,” said Wright. The sophomore guard also remembers how confident he and his teammates were before heading down there to open up tournament play. “I told the fans, we’re gonna do this again next week, same place, same time,” he said. “I knew we were gonna win both games down there.”

Saturday night allowed all involved to retell the stories of 1997, which must have included tales of their comeback from seven down with 1:15 to go in regulation against Arizona.

A Jamel Thomas three tied the game, but what some may have forgotten is the fact that Providence had two shots at the winning basket in regulation.

While neither shot fell and the Friars would ultimately fall short, 1997 was a special year in the annals of Providence basketball.

Unfortunately both Croshere and Brown were unable to attend the event, with Croshere being a color commentator for the Indiana Pacers and Brown dealing with health issues.

Below is a excerpt from Friars All-Access in Februrary, with host Vin Parise discussing plans for the event  with athletic director Bob Driscoll and associate AD Steve Napolillo.

Photo credit: Providence Journal

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

UNLV’s Stephen Zimmerman out with a knee injury

UNLV forward Stephen Zimmerman Jr. shoots against San Diego State during an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
(L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
Leave a comment

The injury Stephen Zimmerman suffered on Saturday will keep the star UNLV freshman out for at least a week, a source told NBC Sports.

The injury is not thought to be serious, however. Zimmerman may be kept out for longer as a precaution, but that’s a result of the Runnin’ Rebels being in a situation where the rest of their regular season is relatively meaningless.

They’re not getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament regardless of how they finish out league play. With back-up center Ben Carter out with a torn ACL, it’s more important to make sure that Zimmerman, who is averaging 10.6 points and 9.1 boards this season, is totally healthy for the Mountain West tournament.

That tournament, mind you, will be played at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.

So the Runnin’ Rebels, regardless of how poor they’ve played this season, will always have a chance to land an automatic bid.

Anyway, the more interesting aspect of this story is how Zimmerman injured the knee. It was a completely avoidable play that came after the whistle, but I’m not sure it was what you would call a “dirty play”. You tell me:

VIDEO: Buddy Hield is ‘all money’ on game-winning three vs. No. 24 Texas

Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) takes a shot over Oklahoma State forward Chris Oliver during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
(AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
Leave a comment

With a little more than three minutes left on Monday night, No. 24 Texas held a 57-51 lead on No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman as Jordan Woodard struggled again and Buddy Hield failed to find the rhythm that he had throughout the first three months of the season.

At that point in the game, Hield was 4-for-14 from the floor with 15 points and four turnovers. He had just missed a pair of wide-open threes

“I couldn’t make a shot,” Hield said after the game. But that changed down the stretch. First, Hield finally got a three to drop. On the next possession, he got all the way to the rim and scored. On the following two possessions, he was fouled on a drive to the rim and hit four free throws. And after missing a pull-up jumper, Hield did this:

“I told coach I wanted the ball,” Hield said, “I saw Lammert coming to bite, so I pulled up.”

“It’s all money.”

Hield is already the favorite to win National Player of the Year, and this performance is only going to help his cause further. Think about it like this: Buddy was not good on Monday night, at least according to his (admittedly lofty) standards. But he still finished with 27 points and shook off a cold shooting night just in time to take over down the stretch.

Now think about this: Hield’s head coach has enough confidence in him to hand him the keys in the final minutes despite the fact that he’s struggling and on a team that has two other players that Lon Kruger trusts on game-winning possessions. Think about it. When Oklahoma beat West Virginia at the buzzer, it was Jordan Woodard that the play was drawn up for. When they beat LSU, it was Isaiah Cousins that got the rock on the final possession while Hield was used as a decoy. .

Want to talk about coaching luxuries?

Kruger has three guards that can shoot, penetrate and score, and penetrate and kick, and one of them is the National Player of the Year that doesn’t mind being used as a decoy.