Cooley: Focus is Big East - not URI - and my team has a long way to go.
Ed Cooley coaching in win over FDU (Photo: Stew Milne)
By KEVIN McNAMARA
After getting by Fairleigh Dickinson, 79-67, Saturday night, Ed Cooley was asked just where his team is with the schedule taking a decided turn uptown.
The Friars normally play four or five guarantee games against mid-to-lower tier programs. Because of schedule restrictions due to the pandemic, PC’s scheduling flexibility was curtailed. It opened against Fairfield and then hosted a FDU team that will contend to win the Northeast Conference.
But that’s it. Now it’s time for straight iron, beginning Wednesday night at TCU and continuing to the Big East opener next Saturday at Alumni Hall versus Xavier. For the next 21 games there will be no breathers.
“It’s a lot of areas we need to improve on and unfortunately we don’t have any more developmental games for our program,” Cooley said. “Normally we’d have five or six games where we could get enough continuity and game experience for our group.”
After five games (3-2) the Friars have shown promise but little consistency. Those lapses in play will be exposed going forward and Cooley identified a few items of focus.
He mentioned his team’s approach, attention to detail, being able to guard the ball, offensive efficiency and defensive rebounding.
The Friars will have to work those issues out under the gun, starting with a visit to Jamie Dixon’s undefeated (4-0) TCU team. While not excited about making the trio to Ft. Worth, PC is choosing to take part in the Big East/Big 12 Battle. Other matchups in the series have been cancelled due to the pandemic, most notably St. John’s at Texas Tech.
Cooley was asked if he was happy he decided to play a ‘developmental game’ against FDU rather than add another high-level contest against state rival the Rhode Island Rams. That’s been a beaten-up point of contention among fans of both PC and URI for months now and the coach chose to reiterate his reasoning for drawing up his schedule the way he did.
So that’s it folks. No more asking about the decision not to play the Rams this season.
See you all next year Friar and Ram fans – at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
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