Elmhurst Pub Roundtable

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Friar Hoops Issues

About a week ago now, Tim Welsh had to make a phonecall that has become all too common in his tenure with the Friars. Welsh needed to contact a recruit who has been charged and implicated in the assault and attempted murder of one of his high school classmates. Brian Rudolph was charged with attempted murder after a party in his hometown of New Bedford, MA. The kid who only emerged on the radar screen of division one coaches following a performance in the Massachusetts division 1 state finals against two future NCAA D-1 ballplayers (including Friars recruit Corey Lowe) had just jeopardized his entire future, forget basketball at all. Coaches say that Rudolph is a good kid, that he used basketball to stay away from the gang violence that has started to plague that area and had never even had a detention. He was looking forward to the Dunk and all that Big East basketball would have to offer. Given the current state of affairs in the guard rotation, he expected to play early and often. Now all that has changed. Providence had not yet accepted his application for admission when this news broke and it now does not seem anywhere near as likely that they will. If this had been the first incident of such behavior among a Welsh recruit, the administration may look the other way. But AD Driscoll and the new president will not likely be as forgiving.

I've given the rundown before of how many players have left the program. We were all witnesses to the issues during our freshman year at the college that left a bouncer in the hospital and players in handcuffs. Add to that, outgoing player Donnie McGrath had his share of problems with both campus and Providence police after an alleged assault on his girlfriend. Welsh had even made the mistake of releasing Corey Lowe from his scholarship, leaving this class shorthanded in the backcourt. This is yet another mistake that this coach has made in evaluating players. Maybe he didn't see this one coming and got blindsided, but the fact that this isn't the first time, that there is a pattern of behavior amongst the players he recruits, does not bode well for a coach who is already on rocky ground according to every high-level official there. Kirchh even let me in on how at a fundraising event in CT, Driscoll praised the work of Phil Seymour (new women's coach), Bob Deraney and the women's hockey team, and the immediate impact Tim Army was having on the Friar hockey program. Nowhere was there mention of the men's basketball team. And there shouldn't have been.

I still maintain that this program will not turn around until a new coach is brought in. There are plenty of candidates available right now and after this season (when a likely buyout has a realistic monetary shot of happening). Look at this quick list - Steve Lavin, Fran Fraschila, Rick Majerus, PJ Carlesimo, Louis Orr, Jim O'Brien, Quinn Snyder (admittedly with baggage), current Nova assistant Ed Pinckney. Plenty of talent out there, someone just has to be willing to go out and get it. And most of these people saw success at one level or another. Not the same can be said for our current fearless leader. But I've made my decision. I won't continue to support Welsh. They can keep my season tickets.


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