A Conversation with Keno Davis - Part 2

The Providence basketball program has experienced it's biggest shakeup in ten years. Reigning National Coach of the Year Keno Davis has brought his brand of basketball to Friartown, and that means changes are on the way as far as how things are done. Coach Davis speaks about his plans for Friar hoops with ScoutFriars.com, as the exclusive interview continues.

FI: What's the latest on Sharaud Curry? There had been some newspaper reports that his injury was more serious than previously thought and that his career might even be in jeopardy now. Is there anything to those reports?

KD: Everything that I've heard from the people who know what they're talking about is that he should be fine. It's just a matter of time for him to heal his body and be ready for the season. I'm of the opinion that you don't want to rush anybody back from an injury, especially in the off season. We start practice in October, and every indication I've been given is that Sharaud should be full go by then.

FI: Beyond Sharaud Curry, you are a little thin at the point guard position right now. Providence played combo guards at best all season at point guard due Curry's absence. Are you still pursuing any 2008 possibilities, maybe to help out at that position?

KD: We do have one scholarship available, and I think we're always open to a player coming in…but we want to make sure that if we fill that scholarship for the upcoming year, it's somebody who's going to be able to come in and play. It's not going to be somebody that we'll see develop three years down the road. It would have to be somebody who's talented and can really complement this team now instead of just a long term situation.

I feel we have some talent on this team, and I'd hate to say that we are doing anything but trying to build things so that we can have a great team each and every year.

FI: What can you tell us about your national recruiting plans? Having Midwest ties, should Friar fans expect you and your staff to recruit more players from outside of the northeast corridor than we've seen in the past here?

KD: I think we'll definitely have some opportunities in the Midwest, including Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio. I don't think the Midwest will be our main focus, but I think you will see us bring in a player or two from those areas at times.

FI: Do you feel it is difficult to get a player from the Midwest to come east and play at Providence?

KD: No, not at all. I really don't. I think the Big East as a conference is big everywhere. So, to get a player from the Midwest to come here shouldn't be any harder than getting a kid to choose Providence over some of the other great Big East schools. I think we're still going to have a big focus on the Northeast, but we'll also recruit nationally without question.

I think the advantage that we've had as a staff coming in here from Drake is that we had already been recruiting nationally. We only had one player from Iowa on our team. We were recruiting in the East, we've been in the prep schools, we been out West, and down in the South and Texas and Georgia. We are going to have a national recruiting base, with the understanding that we are going to have a good focus here in the Northeast, making sure that the players who would like to stay close to home get a good hard look from us to see it they would make a good fit for Providence College.

FI: How important do you feel it is to land the best local player or players in the State from year to year? Different coaches have different takes on the importance of recruiting in your own back yard. What's your take on that? KD: I think that with the players in the state and in the surrounding states within driving distance, we need to make sure that we seem them, that we evaluate them, and evaluate them well. We need to make sure we know them well, spending time with them.

If they are good enough, yes, we'll recruit them. But, I'm not going to have a preference for a player in-state versus out of state. It's just going to be about who are the best players combined with being the best kids for our program. The guys that are both focused on academics and athletics, working to be the best they can become...

That's what we're going to look for, and try and bring them here to Providence College and try and see if we are the right fit for them as well.

FI: When you talk about right fit, I know you've talked about players who not only have talent and work hard, but also have a high basketball IQ. How do you scout for that type of player? Is that player better than recruiting just the best pure athlete?

KD: I think it's important when you watch them, you need to focus in and watch them when they ar interacting in the huddle, in warm ups, when they walk on the court, when they get a bad call, and when they talk to their coach. You do that, and of course you evaluate how they play. Then, the real key to recruiting them is when you talk to them, talk to their coaches, and talk to people who know them. The warning signs are out there on the kids who maybe don't turn out to be as good of a player as they could have been.

It's maybe not that the kid has been in a lot of trouble, but the kids that are really able to achieve at the next level, everybody has great things to say about them. The rave about the kid and how great a person he is and you see that characteristic in a lot of players who make it to the next level and the NBA. They've had people say good things about them their whole life – great kid.

Providence has had some of those kids. These are hard working kids, it's not just natural talent. We will definitely do our due diligence in researching as much as we can find out about the person as well as the player.

Next up: Part 3

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