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.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson throws down a vicious putback

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Zion Williamson made another highlight-reel play on Saturday outside of Atlanta as he threw down a vicious putback dunk at the Best of the South.

The five-star prospect has returned from a minor knee injury this spring to look like his old self in July as he’s entertained packed gyms of fans and college coaches the last two weeks.

The Class of 2018 star is currently regarded as the No. 3 overall prospect in the latest Rivals.com national rankings.

(h/t: Courtside Films)

Five-star 2018 point guard Darius Garland cuts list to six schools

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Five-star Class of 2018 point guard Darius Garland revealed the final six schools that he’s considering on Friday.

The N0. 12 overall prospect in the Class of 2018, according to Rivals, the 6-foot-0 Garland is one of the top floor generals in the nation as he is still considering Duke, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, UCLA and Vanderbilt.

A native of Nashville, Garland is a potentially elite perimeter threat at the college level as he’s one of the more deadly three-point marksmen in the nation.

Garland spent this spring and summer playing with Bradley Beal Elite in the Nike EYBL as he averaged 16.8 points and 4.8 assists per game in the league this spring.

VIDEO: Kentucky’s John Calipari participates in the #DriveByDunkChallenge

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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The #DriveByDunkChallenge is sweeping the nation on social media this summer.

Rules to participate are pretty simple:

  1. Drive around in your vehicle.
  2. Find a basketball hoop (or a basketball ring if you’re Ted Cruz) on a random driveway.
  3. Run out of your car and dunk on that random hoop while a friend films.
  4. Run back to your car and drive away.

Let Anthony Davis show you how it works:

Pretty simple, right?

The #DriveByDunkChallenge isn’t raising money or awareness for ALS like the #IceBucketChallenge did three years ago, but it’s something harmless and fun to do to pass the time during the dog days of summer.

Sensing an opportunity to join an Internet craze, while also following in the footsteps of his former player Kentucky star, Wildcats head coach John Calipari got involved with his own dunk late Friday night.

And his video is much funnier than I thought it would be.

While most #DriveByDunkChallenge videos are done by healthy and spry teenagers who are cruising neighborhoods during the day, Calipari, and his hip replacement, got in on the fun with a late-night dunk.

I love that Calipari ditched the ball behind his back while running back to the car after the dunk.

Most people who participate in the challenge usually have their own ball and keep it with them through completion. But Calipari either picked up a random ball in the driveway or just he lost the handle with his own ball and had a turnover.

The next time Calipari goes hard on one of his point guards for losing control and playing too fast, remember this moment.

Creighton’s Khyri Thomas posterizes defender

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Creighton rising junior wing Khyri Thomas, like several of his teammates, are taking part in the Omaha Summer League this offseason.

On Thursday night, the 6-foot-3, 205-lb. Thomas eviscerated a defender with a one-handed posterization.

Thomas is coming off a breakout sophomore campaign for the Bluejays. He started all 35 games, averaging 12.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Aside from the increase in offensive production, Thomas served as one of the top defenders in the Big East. He shared the Big East Defensive Player of the Year Award with Villanova’s Josh Hart and Mikal Bridges.

Zion Williamson throws down 360 windmill dunk

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Zion Williamson added another jaw-dropping dunk in the layup lines on the first night of the second live evaluation period.

Williamson and his SC Supreme team took on Each 1 Teach 1 at the Hoopseen Best of the South at the LakePoint Sporting Community in greater Atlanta.

The 6-foot-7 power forward threw down a 360 windmill dunk during his pregame routines.

Each 1 Teach 1 would pick up a 70-67 victory over SC Supreme. Williamson would end with a monster stat line of 37 points and seven rebounds.