Providence coach Ed Cooley

Steven Branscombe/USA Today Sports

Thinking out loud: Can Providence get some respect?

John Rooke
February 07, 2020 - 1:35 pm

Thinking out loud…while wondering how we can survive the long, hot summer without competitive baseball north of New York?

  • Hey, Madam Speaker of the House?  Grow up. 


  • Honestly, when did our politicians become such…such children?  Wait, wut?


  • One more thought:  To get respect, you must give respect.  And it does go both ways.  That is all.


  • Speaking of respect, have the Friars earned any through their wins at nationally ranked Butler and against Creighton? 


  • This team is starting – just starting, mind you – to play like many of us thought they could before the season began.  Better late than never, I suppose.  Isn’t basketball a great sport when outside shots begin to fall?


  • The opportunity is there – with a capital “O” – to make a run here with eight games remaining in league play.  Quadrant 1 games every night, and no other conference in the country can make that claim.  We’ll see if Providence can erase the sins of November and December.


  • And if you’re wondering – like I did – the team CANNOT wear those sharp-looking, mid-‘80’s throwbacks at home, since home teams are required to wear whites.  PC is 3-0 in those throwbacks, all on the road.


  • Joe Hassett told me they should wear them UNDER the home whites, too.  Just sayin’.


  • For all he hasn’t lived up to this season, UMass grad transfer Luwane Pipkins has been near-perfect at the free throw line.  Pip leads the Big East, by a wide margin, in percentage at 98%.  Sonar never even shot 98%.


  • So it begs the question, how does Ed Cooley get him to the line more often?  And why would teams get physical with him, when he’s almost automatic?  Do so at your own peril, I suppose.


  • Senior Alpha Diallo has been one great, big enigma over the past couple of weeks.  That he’s struggled is putting things mildly.  But Cooley is right when he tells me this team can go places when he’s playing hard. 


  • That’s the step to take now for Alpha.  Just play hard.  And play smart.  The rest should, hopefully, come along for the ride.


  • Don’t look now, but there’s a four-way tie for third in the Big East (PC, Creighton, Marquette, Butler), with Seton Hall holding onto the top spot at 9-1.  They’ve exceeded expectations.  But there’s still half a season to play. 


  • And Rookestradamus did say a few weeks back someone is going to come up from behind to make some noise.


  • Marquette’s Markus Howard will become the all-time Big East career scoring leader either this weekend, or by next weekend.  He needs 39 points to surpass one-time Syracuse great Lawrence Moten.  Remember him?


  • And do you remember Syracuse was in the Big East?  Good times.  Depending on your point of view, of course.


  • URI is so very close to Top 25 territory.  They’ve got a run going.  They own VCU.  The Rams have a couple of guards in Jeff Dowtin and Fatts Russell that are simply tough matchups for the rest of the Atlantic-10. 


  • They should have a dance invite, especially at the present nine-game win rate.  But get one against Dayton, at the least.  And avoid the slip-up when it comes to facing GW, St. Joe’s and Fordham. 


  • Three of the next four are on the road, starting with Saturday at George Washington and perhaps peaking with next Tuesday at Dayton.  Don’t get caught looking ahead – or looking behind you, either.


  • I’ve liked the grittiness of these Rams all season long.  It’s a trait more teams should try to adopt…’cuz it works.  They had a little of that on display in the brief broo-ha-ha after the UMass game.


  • Brown’s Bears got on the Ivy scoreboard with a sweep of Cornell and Columbia – and if there is any realistic shot at reaching the Ivy tournament, Dartmouth and Harvard both need to fall this weekend at the Pizzitola Center.


  • Ol’ Bunky himself, the Providence Journal’s Bill Reynolds (Brown Class of 1968) scored more than 900 points in his hoop career at Brown – and he’ll be honored in pregame ceremonies for his induction into the US Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame this weekend.


  • Not for nuthin’, but WEEI continues to chug right along – at least as far as other sports radio stations and consultants in the industry are concerned.  WEEI, and 98.5 The Sports Hub, have both been ranked as National Top 20 Major Market stations. 


  • How lucky are we?  Maybe you think we’re unlucky?


  • Former WEEI personality Pete Sheppard – one of Rhode Island’s own – has re-upped on a new deal with Beasley Media’s ESPN 99.3 in Southwest Florida.  The same Beasley Media that also owns 98.5 in Boston.


  • Mookie’s gone.  So is David Price.  One was an egregious error in judgment, the other just a bad, bad idea. 


  • But what happens if pitcher Brusdar Graterol is deemed damaged goods?  Will we be forced to endure another potential trade with the guillotine hanging over our heads?


  • Never again should the Sox develop a player with multiple talents and abilities as Mookie Betts.  And why not? 


  • He was a simple infield prospect, turned into a HOF-candidate outfielder.  And they won’t keep him.  You think they’ll keep someone else even close to that caliber?


  • Precedent has just been re-set, going back to the days of receiving peanuts in return for storied players like Ruth, Yaz, Fisk, Lynn and Rice.  Part of the 86 years of futility, remember those?


  • One great thought I saw about Mookie this week, came from Chad Finn of the Boston Globe.  It’s worth repeating: “He’s also a low-key gem of a guy who does things like slipping out into darkness to feed the homeless after playoff games. That’s not someone you trade for luxury-tax relief. That’s someone you keep as the beacon of your organization.”


  • The Red Sox are now little more than Kansas City – get lucky once every decade or so, build up the farm system, then obliterate it all when you can’t afford to keep anyone.  Amiright?


  • And not for nuthin’, but on top of this seismic shift in philosophy, orchestrated by John Henry and Company, remember they’ve jacked up ticket prices on you, too. 


  • Yes, they’ve saved money on salaries, and at the same time, they’ll be increasing their bottom line as you shell out more cash from your pocket to visit lovely-but-antiquated Fenway.


  • And should we just pencil in “Dodgers vs. Yankees” for the World Series in October?  There is no drama to the upcoming season.  It is a fait-accompli.  Boring.


  • How many days until kickoff again?  The romance is gone before it gets started.  The Sox have already ruined my summah.


  • Price’s unceremonious departure – if it still goes down – reminds me of a tale my buddy “Big E” once told me about a conceited pitcher who walked the first five batters of the game and got yanked by his manager.  He slammed his glove against the dugout wall and cursed loudly for everyone to hear, “Damn it, the jerk took me out while I had a no-hitter going!”


  • What is up with TB12 today, you ask?  Wherever he is, maybe Manhattan, he is LHAO.  Bravo, Tom.


  • His Hulu spot in the Super Bowl was brilliant.  Maybe you think it was dumb or whatever, but TB12 played us all like Stradivarius played his violin.  Sweetly.  Beautifully.  And Secretly.


  • Yes, I held my breath in the opening seconds when he spoke of retirement.  And “I’m not going anywhere” doesn’t insure his New England return.


  • But…he’s not going anywhere.  As has been said here all along.


  • Besides, who in their right minds believes he wants to battle in the AFC West against Patrick Mahomes for the next two years, running either the Raiders or Chargers? 


  • His best chance to win again, out of all possible destinations, is right here.  Just sayin’.


  • Can the Patriots actually talk Gronk out of retirement?  He would be the biggest acquisition during the upcoming Free Agent frenzy as anyone else, wouldn’t he? 


  • But I’ll ask the obvious question – after all of the partying and horsing around, does he still have gas in the tank for football?  I would presently tend to doubt it.


  • Tweet of the Week I, from @mulvihill79: “148.5 million Americans watched all or part of Super Bowl LIV. 138.8 million Americans voted in the 2016 Presidential election.”


  • Guess I’ve always been more of an AFL/AFC guy, even though I grew up a fan of the Dallas Cowboys…so I’m happy for the Kansas City Chiefs’ win.  50 years between championships is a long time, sure…but we’ve seen longer, haven’t we?


  • And San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan didn’t blow the game as many believe.  Rather, KC simply took it.  Jimmy G. missed a big completion, yes, and struggled statistically in the 4th quarter.


  • But the call of the game was the offensive pass interference on tight end George Kittle, on a GREAT pass from Garoppolo.  A marginal call by the refs, at best.  Didn’t warrant a flag, IMO.  That it’s being discussed at all should be all you need to know.  From there, the Chiefs pounced.


  • But if you really believe Kansas City is the new “alpha dog” in the AFC, fine.  How many division titles does this dog win in a row?  How many AFC title games do they reach, consecutively?  And if the Patriots return to a place of prominence next year, is this dog still barking?


  • Honestly, I thought the much-ballyhooed halftime show was entertaining – especially for a couple of 40-and-50-somethings in Shakira and J-Lo.  I mean, who knew?  They still got it.


  • But I find the fact that the NFL allowed such a show to take place – and I’m no prude, believe me – when they actually ran commercials during the game promoting equality for women.  C’mon now, the objectification of women won that halftime, which makes me question the league’s intent, other than to saddle up and straddle the fence.


  • Love the Latino community.  I grew up in one, lived in others and embrace much of the culture (and food!) to this day.  But if you don’t think we still have trouble with young men learning how to respect women in this country, or young women who need to know they can succeed without wiggling their tails, then we live in separate worlds, don’t we?


  • Speaking of the Super Bowl commercials, I still found the “Smaht Pahk” spot funny, if not a bit overdone.  And I soooo KNOW people who actually talk like that, too. 


  • The odds for next years’ Super Bowl are already out, with – gasp! – the Chiefs as a 7-1 favorite.  The Patriots are 14-1, ranked as the 6th best favorite…but is that with or without TB12 at the helm?


  • And what are the odds for a Patriots @ Chiefs season opener in Kansas City next September?  Unless the Poobahs at NBC overthink this, it’s a no-brainer.  Especially when TB12 is at the helm again. 


  • But the Bruins are kicking ass, right?


  • And Danny didn’t make a trade, but the Celtics are winning, right? 


  • Tweet of the Week II, from @damanr: “The best team Danny Ainge has put together in his career is all the players he’s almost gotten.”


  • Summah might already be over, but we still own the wintah ‘round here. 


  • @mattcraig73 tweeted at me this week on the Friars: “I’ve been a little disappointed with Pip this season but one thing for sure he’s automatic at the free throw line. Reminds me of watching Bryce (Cotton) shooting FT’s.”


  • Matt:  That’s the thing about free throws.  They’re “free.”  No one in your way.  No one defending you.  No one contesting your clear shot at the basket.  I mean, you should make those.  Honestly, if a player can’t hit at least three out of every four they take, they simply aren’t concentrating or trying hard enough.  And if you don’t believe that, ask Joe Hassett about it – he was a career 87% shooter at the line, and hit 94% as a senior.  It ain’t rocket science.


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