On Monday Ed Cooley appeared as a guest on Jon Rothstein’s (@JonRothstein) College Hoops Today Podcast. If you didn’t know it is the ONLY college hoops podcast that airs 52 weeks out of the calendar year. I actually am not sure if that is technically true but he’s JR, he can do whatever he wants. If you didn’t catch the pod it is here below. (Cooley @ 7:00)
Cooley was an absolute home run in his appearance on the College Hoops Today podcast. I felt he was a little more in his comfort zone in his interview with Rothstein than he was in his appearance on Pardon My Take after the infamous ripped pants game. They talked a lot about race in this country, the pandemic, and of course a good amount of basketball.
Here are some takeaways from the Rothstein Podcast
Modern Events & Coach Cooley’s Personal Story
Cooley went in-depth about what is transpiring in the world right now, and it was refreshing to hear his perspective. Cooley told Jon a story of when he was out to dinner with his wife 3-years prior. Cooley, like the kind person that he is, offered to buy a gentleman at the bar in his own community a beer. The person declined the offer and directed a racial slur to Coach Cooley.
Over the years we have seen what kind of guy Ed is and the type of upstanding program he runs. I’d recommend everybody listen to this portion of the podcast, as his take on the hiring of minorities, police-civilian relations, and the state of the world right exemplifies the kind of logical person Coach Cooley is.
Pandemic Impact on his Team and Him as a Coach
Cooley was spot on when he says that COVID has given us a lot of time of reflection in our profession and personal life.
Cooley did bring up the negative impact it has had on the team, namely he hasn’t been able to see what the incoming freshmen Davis and Breed can bring to the table. Traditionally, Cooley would see workouts and hear about how they are doing in scrimmages, team-led practices, weight room, etc. It will be interesting to see if this pandemic era leads to both Davis and Breed redshirting to preserve a year, with Cooley relying on a shortened rotation of players that have been in his program.
The last nugget I found very interesting regarding the pandemic was that it has given him time to think about retirement or at the very least this has given him a preview of what it could look like. I’m sure Ed has enjoyed the extra time to spend with his family, but you know he has more that he wants to accomplish on the sidelines. Luckily for Friar fans Cooley did mention though he would not know what to do without basketball.
Remaining Scholarship – Always be Recruiting
It was really, really interesting to hear Cooley allude to the 24/7 nature of recruiting and that they still have an open scholarship. I was of the belief that they would simply hold this scholarship for an additional recruit for the next year or give it to a walk-on; however, Cooley may still be looking for an extra big man for the upcoming season.
Watson is absolutely going to start at the 5, but he has had health concerns and can be prone to early foul trouble. We all saw what Khalif Young did for the team last year, so I am a big advocate for getting another big on the roster, even if it is a freshman who only plays 10 minutes per game. If you recall, Wiznitzer was being recruited for this class to slot into that role. Oh well…
Unless a recruit falls into the lap of Cooley, I anticipate the roster to be the same as it is today, with Cooley pivoting to a smaller lineup when Watson isn’t on the floor.
What the Upcoming Team may Look Like
There were a few things said that made me feel really good about the 2020-2021 Friars (if we do in fact have a season).
One of the first things was Cooley speaking to David Duke Jr’s development and work ethic. I get the sneaking suspicion that Cooley thinks Duke is on the verge of stardom in college basketball.
He also mentioned he expects AJ Reeves to make a big leap as having a true point guard like Bynum will open up the offense more. Bynum should have a very positive effect on the rest of the roster, as we discussed here (https://theprovidencecrier.com/2020/07/10/deep-dive-on-jared-bynum-findings-from-the-district-private-pro-open-run/#more-2311).
He sung the praises of Noah Horchler too, citing his athleticism and ability to play inside and outside. Reading the tea leaves here, he may be the front runner for the starting 4 spot.
He also talked about waivers for both transfers Brycen Goodine and Ed Croswell. He said that Goodine is absolutely seeking his, as we all expected. They haven’t made a decision yet regarding LaSalle transfer Ed Croswell. This comes as a bit of a surprise because when he originally transferred to PC it was reported that he would sit out. Cooley said Ed and his family will be the ones who ultimately get to decide, which shows he lets his players take ownership of their careers.
Overall, I am reading between the lines and believe Cooley thinks very highly of this roster. The hope is we can get a season in and see how much this group can actually accomplish.