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

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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 and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Labissiere scores 16 as top-ranked Kentucky beats BU 82-62

Eric Johnson, Isaiah Briscoe
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Freshman center Skal Labissiere scored 16 points to lead top-ranked Kentucky past Boston University 82-62 on Tuesday night.

The Wildcats (5-0) used a big second half to overcome Boston U. in their season debut at No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 poll. One day after taking over the top spot, Kentucky struggled to put away the Terriers early but outscored them 42-29 in the second half.

Labissiere finished 7 of 13 from the field and grabbed seven rebounds. Tyler Ulis added 15 points, and Alex Poythress had 14 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for his second straight double-double.

Jamal Murray scored 12 points and Isaiah Briscoe had 11. Kentucky, which spent all of last season ranked No. 1, scored 58 points in the paint and closed with a 22-9 run.

Boston University (2-3) got 15 points from John Papale. Nathan Dieudonne and Kyle Foreman scored 11 apiece.

The Wildcats raced out to a 10-0 lead 3 minutes into the game, but Boston University settled down after making its first basket and kept the score close in the first half by hitting five shots from long range.

The Terriers led 34-33 with 2 minutes remaining in the first half, but the Wildcats scored the last six points of the period to regain the lead.

Labissiere paced the Wildcats with 11 points in the first half, followed by Murray with 10.


Kentucky: The Wildcats improved to 216-28 as the top-ranked team in the country and have won 61 of their last 64 games while holding the top spot. Under coach John Calipari, Kentucky is 63-5 as the top-ranked team in the AP poll.

Boston University: The Terriers fell to 0-5 against Kentucky. … Boston University missed its first four shots and didn’t score its first basket until the 16:55 mark of the first half. … Dieudonne, a graduate of Louisville Trinity, was Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball in 2012.


Kentucky plays Friday against South Florida at the Hoophall Miami Invitational.

Boston University plays Saturday at Binghamton.

Division III William Paterson forfeits game to protest coach’s firing

William Paterson Athletics
William Paterson Athletics
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William Paterson, a Division III basketball program in New Jersey, forfeited a game on Tuesday night to protest the firing of their head coach, Jose Rebimbas.

Rebimbas, a player for the 1990 Seton Hall team that reached the national title game, had been with the program for 20 years, amassing nearly 400 wins, winning six league titles and reaching nine NCAA tournaments. He announced his firing earlier this week on FaceBook, and the players on his team responded by boycotting Tuesday night’s matchup with Ramapo.

Dylan Burns, a William Paterson student that does play-by-play for the school’s athletic teams, tweeted that the basketball players came out of the locker room for layups lines, took off their warmups, threw them in a pile on the court and walked off the floor.

The following screengrabs from instagram videos that have since been removed show the players leaving the floor:

Screengrab via Instagram

And the jerseys piled in the middle of the court:

Screengrab via Instagram

The crowd at the game can be heard cheering when it is announced that the game has been forfeited.

Rebimbas wrote the following on FaceBook over the weekend:

“It is with great sadness and extreme frustration that after today I will not be coaching the basketball team at William Paterson University. WP has been my home and family for more than 20 years and yet the University has taken action to remove me from the service I love. People I have trusted and served with have defied logic and are pursing my termination because of a misunderstanding over a facility rental fee for a camp that I run.”

“These actions come despite the University hearing officer determining that termination was not warranted. The University has unfairly and illegally taken my right to coach and mentor the student-athletes I love. I am prepared to fight the actions of William Paterson University and restore my good name and that of the program.”