During Providence’s late-season run that featured a Big East tournament title, sophomore guard Josh Fortune became a player more comfortable in his role and was a more assertive offensive player as a result. After reaching double figures in just six of Providence’s first 22 games, the Hampton, Va. native scored ten points or more in nine of the Friars’ final 13 games.
With Bryce Cotton and Kadeem Batts both out of eligibility, this offseason looked to be an important one for Fortune with the hope being that he could develop into a more consistent offensive option.
However it will be important for other reasons, as it was reported by Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal that Fortune has decided to transfer in hopes of playing at a school closer to his home. Given the aforementioned personnel losses, this isn’t good news for Ed Cooley and his staff. Fortune averaged 8.4 points and 3.0 rebounds per game as a sophomore, shooting 41.4% from the field and 35.0% from beyond the arc.
Providence was in search of additional depth on the perimeter prior to Fortune’s decision to transfer, so obviously there’s even more work to be done. One recruit the Friars are in the running for is former Washington State commit Tramaine Isabell, who announced via his Twitter account that he’s down to Providence and Missouri.
And could they also make a run at Antoine Mason, the nation’s leading returning scorer who has decided to leave Niagara for his final season?
Providence does return some perimeter talent, with Kris Dunn expected back after missing most of the 2013-14 season due to a shoulder injury and Tyler Harris and LaDontae Henton both being options on the wing. Providence also adds point guard Kyron Cartwright and small forward Jalen Lindsey to the program this summer (along with power forward Ben Bentil and center Paschal Chukwu), and based upon the loss of Fortune the hope for Providence fans is that the staff isn’t done making additions.
When it comes to discussing some of the game of basketball’s best players, specifically those who went directly from high school to the NBA, a question that’s often asked is where said player would have attended college if forced (by rule) to do so. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are among those who have been discussed in this manner, and in the case of LeBron he’s got connections to two programs within his home state of Ohio.
LeBron’s connected with the Ohio State program, which is outfitted by the Nike’s LeBron signature line, but there’s another program with an even closer connection. That would be Akron, which is led by head coach Keith Dambrot, and all he did was serve as LeBron’s high school coach at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s HS in Akron during the player’s freshman and sophomore years at the school. Also on those teams were two future Akron Zips in guard Dru Joyce and forward Romeo Travis.
Thursday the school announced that it would be honoring James, Joyce and Travis with bobble head dolls to be given out before Akron’s home games against Buffalo (February 16; Joyce’s bobble head), Bowling Green (February 26; Travis) and Ohio (March 1; James).
All three bobble head dolls are wearing Akron uniforms, which in the case of LeBron allows fans to think back and imagine what could have been. Season ticket holders guaranteed one bobble head per account (on each of the three giveaway days), with the first 750 fans in attendance to receive one as well.
The gang is back together again for another episode of the NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk Podcast, with Rob Dauster hosting and Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips joining him. Today’s episode touched on big wins picked up Thursday night by California and Indiana, discussing the performances of those teams and also touching on their prospects down the line.
Also discussed were the recent performances of Iowa State, Providence and Texas A&M (which are you more worried about?), and some of the top games on this weekend’s schedule headlined by Kansas visiting Oklahoma. And if you’re a fan of seafood, you may take umbrage with some of Rob’s comments at the beginning of the podcast.
As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher, and there’s also a link to listen to this podcast below. Thanks for listening.