Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
This interview with Providence Coach Keno Davis at the Reebok All-American Camp is the fourth in a series of interviews with Division 1 head coaches conducted at camps this summer.
PHILLY– Providence just missed out on being the eighth Big East team in the NCAA Tournament last year and ended up falling to Miami in the first round of the NIT.
A year later, the Friars have lost eight seniors to graduation and return only five players from last year’s team.
“I think we’re going to have a very talented team next year,” Providence coach Keno Davis said last month.
“We’ve got a chance to be better in almost all areas of the game but where we are going to have some growing pains is going to be that we’re so young with seven new faces on the team and really nine when you count a couple guys who redshirted last year. Really we have three returning players with experience.”
Those three are senior guards Brian McKenzie and Sharaud Curry and junior guard Marshon Brooks.
Two other players who redshirted could make an impact: 6-9 Brooklyn native Bilal Dixon and6-6 Brooklyn forward Jamine “Greedy” Peterson.
“They both certainly have the bodies and athleticism to compete in our league,” assistant coach Pat Skerry said. “They just need some more game experience.”
Providence adds two JUCO guys in 6-9, 235-pound Russ Parmenter out of Temple (Texas) Junior College and 6-6,215-pound Kyle Wright from Monroe Community College in the Bronx.
Wright is a known as a shooter, while Parmenter is an active body on the glass.
“We need those junior college guys to come in with some experience and maturity and be able to help us out,” Skerry said.
Among the new players to watch is Johnnie Lacy, the No. 18 point guard in the Class of 2009 according to Rivals. Lacy, who played for Ryan Hurd at Notre Dame Prep, chose the Friars over Tennessee, Texas and Pitt.
New York native Vincent Council, who played for Chris Chaney at The Patterson (NC) School,also picked the Friars over Rutgers.
Both figure to complement Curry, who averaged 11.7 points, in the backcourt.
“All three of those players could play the point guard and then there’s also the opportunity that they could play alongside each other,” Davis said. “I’m not opposed to having two point guards on the court at one time.
“I want to keep an open mind with so many new guys coming in,” Davis added. “Just like the fans, I’ll be really interested to see who really works this summer and who has an opportunity to step out and be a go-to guy.”
As for the league, Davis says he thinks Villanova and West Virginia are the teams to beat.
“Villanova and West Virginia have an opportunity to have great years,” Davis said. “But it’s not going to surprise me when even those teams have difficulty with some of the teams that you might not think of right away when you think of the Big East.”
Davis says a couple of teams have a chance to move up from last year.
“I really think Seton Hall and Cincinnati are a couple of the teams that come to mind right away,” he said. “You also think of teams like Notre Dame and Georgetown that had some difficulties last year. They’re probably very excited to get this year started and become one of the top teams in the league.”
PREVIOUS COACH’S CORNERS:Kentucky’s John CalipariArizona’s Sean MillerKansas’ Bill Self
(Photo courtesy Providence Athletics)
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.