In what seems like ages ago, the Providence College Friars basketball team was on it’s way up. They had one of the best players in the country in Ryan Gomes, and the Friars climbed to number 12 in the college basketball rankings. Unfortunately, that team floundered in the NCAA tournament and lost on the first round.
Shortly after that, the Friars program was highlighted in a story by Sports Illustrated about how the program was recruiting and becoming a force to be reckoned with. That was in 2004-2005 and since then, the Friars have had their share of embarrassment.
One of those embarrassing situations came to a close yesterday as former player James Still was sentenced to 15 years in prison, but only ordered to serve four years for felony assault in 2010. According to the Providence Journal, Still and another former Friar Johnnie Lacy, beat fellow student Yerkin Abdrakhmanov so bad that Abdrakhmanov suffered 16 facial fractures and underwent extensive plastic surgery. Lacy has already begun serving his time.
This wasn’t the only issue with the Friars basketball team from 2006-2010, but it was one of the worst situations imaginable. Two highly-recruited athletes beating up on a student for no reason make the team look foolish. It was also the last straw for the Providence College basketball team, and they needed to clean up their program.
In 2011 the Friars hired local product Ed Cooley as coach to bring the focus back for the school to do things the right way. So far, the results have been good for Providence College. The players have stayed out of trouble and Cooley has the Friars headed in the right direction.
The imprisonment of Still hopefully slams the door on an unfortunate time in Providence College’s long and storied basketball program.
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