The turnaround isn’t yet complete, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone that isn’t going to be raving about the job that Ed Cooley has done in his first two-plus years at Providence.
For the first time since 2009, Cooley got Providence into the NIT, where the Friars advanced to the quarterfinals. That’s not necessarily an impressive achievement until you consider that, just twice since Providence’s last NCAA tournament in 2004, have the Friars even made the NIT, and in neither of those appearances did they win a game.
So yes, Cooley’s winning more than Providence fans have become accustomed to winning.
The better news?
Cooley’s team is only going to get better. In addition to finally getting a healthy Kris Dunn, the best point guard and a five-star recruit in the Class of 2012, back next season — Dunn missed much of the preseason at the start of the season with a shoulder injury — Cooley will be bringing in four-star recruit Brandon Austin and will get transfers Carson Derosiers (Wake Forest) and Tyler Harris (NC State) eligible after sitting out last season. Losing Vincent Council will hurt, but when the only player graduating off your roster is the guy playing in front of a McDonald’s All-American, things could be worse.
And the good news isn’t done yet, as Cooley went out and landed another top 50 recruit on Monday night, as Jalen Lindsay, who is ranked 48th in the Class of 2014 by Rivals, committed to the program. An athletic, 6-foot-7 wing, Lindsay should fit right into the uptempo style that Cooley’s team has played the last two seasons. More impressive still, Lindsey is from Nashville and picked the Friars over the likes of Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and NC State, all whom had offered the wing.
And don’t think that’ll be the last time that Cooley lands an impressive recruit.
At this rate, it would be surprising if the Friars didn’t reach an NCAA tournament by the time Lindsey’s freshman season is over.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.