As the PC program bade farewell to its senior players and managers, the moments to remember were many. The evening bean with a cocktail hour, where fans could mingle and speak with the players and coaching staff, and that was followed by a sit down dinner, emceed by the estimable Voice of the Friars John Rooke, who noted that he and broadcast partner Joe Hassett had just wrapped up their twentieth season together.
Among the memories that will linger…
• In previous years, the banquet was held at the Biltmore Hotel, and the players and coaches sat up on a podium behind a long table, where they ate and spoke from. This year, there was no master table, and the players and coaches sat with family and fans at tables throughout the room. This provided much more access to the staff and players and was an excellent idea.
• John Rooke remarked that "These players have set the foundation for winning for the seven incoming players. The foundation is firmly set."
• Rooke also said, "For the first time in my twenty years of covering PC basketball, I feel that Providence can compete. The new locker rooms at Alumni Hall, the new Hallway, the basketball offices, film room, everything is first rate. I've been to a lot of campuses across the country, and Providence College now has the facilities to compete."
• Jonathan Kale gave an emotional tribute to his teammates. "All the fans have been great. But I'd especially like to thank my teammates, the guys who I went to war with. Without you, there'd be no me, there'd be no us."
• Jeff Xavier also spread the compliments around, and did not want the moment to come to an end. After thanking his teammates, he said, "I want to thank the managers – Brian Wendth, Mike Peters, Jason Prosser, Brendan McCarthy, Steve Jecewiz… I struggled with my shooting this year, and I'd get down, but I could call them at nine, ten o'clock at night, anytime, and they were always there for me. They're going to be great coaches. I can't believe I'm saying goodbye. I love Providence and you guys are in my heart forever."
• Weyinmi Efejuku flashed his sense of humor when he said, "I thought Geoff (McDermott) should have thanked me for talking him into coming here."
• Keno Davis closed the night's program by saying, "It was a year ago, the night of last year's banquet, that I was deciding whether to come here. The great family atmosphere, illustrated by nights like this, was a major factor in my decision. I think when people look back on this season, they'll remember the Syracuse game, when we beat a nationally ranked team, and they'll certainly remember February 24th, the Pittsburgh game. But for me, what's going to make these guys successful, is what they do from this moment on. Their careers at Providence may be over, but we'll follow them for many years."
• Assistant coach Pat Skerry was the only Friar not present, due to a death in his family.
• Alex Kellogg was present and received a nice round of applause from the crowd, as did injured big man Ray Hall.
• Weyinmi remarked that he had an agent who was talking to a number of NBA teams, and that he would play summer league ball for someone, as well as go in for workouts with teams, but he didn't know which ones yet.
• Sharaud Curry showed up with a boot on his right foot. When asked, Sharaud mentioned that he had recently had the pin removed from his foot and that the boot would be off in about a week.
• Marshon Brooks mentioned that the ankle that he turned during the season and may have hampered him down the stretch was still bothering him as late as two weeks ago. "I never really rested it. I kept playing on it and I've had ankle injuries back to high school. But I got treatment for it and its fine now."
• The following team awards were given out:
Ernie D Team Leader Award – Sharaud Curry
Lenny Wilkens Hustle Award – Jeff Xavier
Coca-Cola Most Promising Prospect Award – Marshon Brooks and Brian McKenzie
Ryan Gomes Most Improved Player Award – Jonathan Kale
Marvin Barnes Defensive Player Award – Geoff McDermott
Thomas Ramos Academic Award – Ray Hall
John Zannini Coaches Award – Randall Hanke
Jimmy Walker Most Valuable Player Award – Weyinmi Efejuku
JamFest took place at PC's Alumni Hall this weekend as well. Some notes:
• Carson Desrosiers: All of 6-10, the Mass Rivals big man has a lot of potential. He has very good timing on shot blocks, can run the floor, and shoots very well for abig man out to the three point line. He is a face the basket player. He should be able to add weight at the next level, but he's going to have to add some aggressiveness to his game too, as he's going to have to be more physical in the paint at the next level. His parents toured the PC campus and facilities yesterday, and appear to like the idea of Carson playing college ball within driving distance. Providence continues to have Desroisers very high on their list.
• Will Regan: A 6-8 post player (Albany City Rocks), Regan had a good showing at JamFest. Regan is a worker in the post, and finishes well around the basket. He has good ball skills for a big man, and is extending his range on his jump shot out to the three point line. He needs to add bulk, but flashes a lot of toughness. Providence likes Regan's versatility, and his involvement with the Friars may be heating up.
• Tyler Olander: A 6-8 workhorse in the paint, Olander has a lunch pail approach to his game, working for put backs and grabbing rebounds in traffic. He shows some offensive moves around the basket, but is more of a hard nosed worker than a finesse player. Lately, the Connecticut native has flashed more range on his outside shot. Olander is a mid-major plus prospect.
• Nadir Tharpe: This electric point guard for the New England Playaz showed his ball skills once again as he teamed with Georgetown recruit Nate Lubick. A 2011 prospect, Tharpe was very good with his dribble drive and passing, and was making plays all over the court. His stock continues to remain at the high major level.
• Gerard Coleman: Although BABC had the weekend off, some observers felt that PC was in very good position with Coleman, whose mother likes the idea of his playing close to home. A key with Coleman will be to see what happens with him by July. If he is still uncommitted by July when he appears in numerous national tournaments, landing him will be much more difficult.
• Allan Chaney: Chaney appears to be down to PC and Virginia Tech. With PC having the advantage of being closer to home, he may be PC's to lose, but the Friars have a lot of players in play at this time, and a boatload of options and will need to do their due diligence on Chaney before making a decision.
(Steve Hartnett contributed to this story.)
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