Ed Cooley

Providence extends contract of head coach Ed Cooley

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When the move was made by Providence College to hire Providence native Ed Cooley as its head basketball coach two years ago, many were hopeful that the native son would return the Friar program to respectability.

Two seasons into the Cooley era, it certainly looks as if the program is headed in the right direction. And on Wednesday Providence announced that Cooley’s contract would be extended. Providence did not disclose the details of the contract.

Providence navigated a number of injuries throughout the 2012-13 season and finished with a 19-15 record (9-9 Big East), falling to eventual champion Baylor in the quarterfinals of the Postseason NIT.

The Friars will look to replace the Big East’s all-time assists leader in Vincent Council (Ricardo Ledo, who will enter the NBA Draft, never suited up for PC) in their first season in the “new” Big East. But with key players such as shooting guard Bryce Cotton and forwards Kadeem Batts and LaDontae Henton due back 2013-14 sets up to be a good season for Providence.

“We are excited to announce today that Ed Cooley will be our head coach for many more years,” athletic director Bob Driscoll said in a statement released by the school. “Ed, who is a native of Providence, is a perfect fit for our College, our City and our State. He has made so much progress in just two short years rebuilding our program and we are confident we will be able to compete for a league championship in the new Big East.

“He is a winner who has proven to be successful on the court, on the recruiting trail and in life. We are thrilled that Ed will continue to lead the Friars.”

In two seasons at Providence Cooley has a record of 34-32, but it’s important to note just how much work needed to be done following the dismissal of Keno Davis. The program was in need of discipline both on and off the court, something that has changed for the better under Cooley.

In addition to the returnees noted above Providence adds small forward Brandon Austin (Philadelphia, Pa.) and power forward Rodney Bullock (Hampton, Va.) to the program, and both are talented enough to contribute as freshmen.

“We have made progress over the last two years, but we are not satisfied,” said Cooley. “We came with the goal of winning championships and that remains in our sights. We will continue to work to make Providence College basketball an elite program in the nation.”

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Top-25 guard trims list to six

Trae Young , Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images
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One of the top points guards in the Class of 2017 has trimmed his list of potential collegiate destinations to six.

Trae Young, a consensus top-25 recruit, listed Texas Tech, Kansas, Oklahoma, Washington, Oklahoma State and Kentucky as the schools he is considering as he readies to begin his senior year of high school.

The list of the 6-foot-2 point guard is largely provincial as it includes Oklahoma, whose campus is just minutes away from Young’s Norman North High School, and fellow in-state school Oklahoma. Another pair of Big 12 schools make the list in powerhouse Kansas and the Red Raiders, whose first-year coach, Chris Beard, has spent the bulk of his career working in Texas. Texas Tech is also Young’s father’s alma mater. Washington has been on a role sending its players to the pros and recently received the commitment of top-five 2017 recruit Michael Porter, Jr.

Kentucky, of course, needs no explanation as to its attractiveness to high-level players.

Top-100 guard commits to Xavier

Chris Mack has Xavier back in the Sweet 16 (AP Photo)
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Xavier has added a top-100 prospect into its 2017 recruiting class Wednesday.

Elias Harden, a shooting guard from Georgia, pledged to the Musketeers via social media to become the second member of Chris Mack’s next class.

“The recruiting process was not EASY AT ALL,” Harden wrote on Twitter. “I wanna thank all the coaches that took time to recruit me.

“WIth that being said I will continue my academic and athletic career at Xavier University.”

The 6-foot-6 guard is ranked 92nd overall by 247Sports and had offers from Auburn, Maryland, Texas Tech and Ole Miss. He joins Jared Ridder, a Missouri guard, as part of the 2017 Xavier class.

The Musketeers return the bulk of last year’s 28-6 team that narrowly missed out on the Sweet 16.

Clemson recruit to enroll early

Brad Brownell
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Clemson will get a four-star recruit on campus a year earlier than it expected, though his on-court debut for the Tigers will remain on schedule.

A.J. Oliver, a guard from South Carolina, will enroll early at Clemson and redshirt this upcoming season, he announced via social media Wednesday.

“I woke up this morning and realized that the greatest opportunity for me is to enroll early into Clemson,” he wrote on Twitter. “I will redshirt a year & start my college career early.”

Oliver, whose mother is the head women’s basketball coach at Clemson, was a consensus top-100 player in the class of 2017 who committed to the Tigers last December. Texas Tech and the College of Charleston were involved before his commitment.

A three-star shooting guard, Scott Spencer of Virginia, was previously the only member coach Brad Brownell’s 2016 class. While Oliver’s decision to redshirt will keep him off the court for the 2016-17 season, he’ll have spent a full season in the Tiger program before making his debut in 2017

The cupboard isn’t bare in 2017 for the Tigers due to Oliver’s reclassification because Clemson received a commitment from power forward Malik Williams, a consensus top-150 player, earlier Wednesday.

Kentucky used Calipari-Chaney fight in media training

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Kentucky Sports Radio
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Kentucky held some media training sessions yesterday, and one of the topics that head coach John Calipari used to make a point was … his blow-up with John Chaney. The moment was captured on SnapChat by a trio of Kentucky newcomers.

You remember that incident. Chaney, then the head coach at Temple, and Cal, who was coaching Atlantic 10 rival UMass at the time, nearly came to blows over the way that Cal handled officials during the game. Before the video below picks up, the two shared this exchange:

“Could I say this to you, please?” Chaney said, before the video above picks up. “You’ve got a good ball club. But what you did with the officials out there is wrong, and I don’t want to be a party to that. You understand?”

Cal responded: “You weren’t out there, Coach. You don’t have any idea.”

Chaney fired back: “You got a game given to you by officials right here with G.W. on three bad calls, O.K.? Then you send your kids out there pushing and shoving. You had the best officiating you could ever get here. And for you to ride them, I don’t want to be a party to that.”

And that led to “I’ll kill you”:

(h/t KSR)

VIDEO: Shaq’s son, Shareef O’Neal, with monster dunk in Vegas

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Shareef O’Neal is a top 50 prospect in the Class of 2018. In Vegas this past weekend, he threw down a monster put-back dunk.