PROVIDENCE – Like thousands of college freshmen across the country, Gerard Coleman and Brice Kofane are adjusting to being away from home for the first time in their young lives.
While settling into the dorms and registering and selecting classes only mark the beginning of this new and eye-opening chapter, there’s also the basketball-related education that Coleman and Kofane, two of Providence College newest men’s basketball players, have been privy to.
Both players know that growing up quickly is a necessity, especially since the Friars figure to be one of the youngest teams in the Big East this season.
“We know we have to grow up fast and pick up things,” notes Coleman. “The coaches, they’ve stayed on top us, telling what we can and can not do. I think that’s pretty good.”
Added Kofane, “In college you learn how to do things and you’re probably going to make some mistakes along the way. The coaches have put an emphasis on distinguishing the two.”
Along with classmates Bryce Cotton, Dre Evans, Ron Giplaye, Lee Goldsbrough, Coleman and Kofane have gone from being on top-of-the-world, basketball-wise, to understanding how the other half lives. At this time last year, all of them were indispensible cogs, leaders and playmakers at their respective schools, sifting through prospective college offers.
Now, they are starting essentially from scratch, which can sometimes lead to confusion when they are no longer the go-to guy.
When it comes to managing freshmen, PC coach Keno Davis has discovered that being honest and upfront is the best policy.
“We tell them the moment they set foot on campus of where we see them fit right now,” said Davis. “If a player believes he’s something he’s not, then he has to do this in order to become a better player. You’ve got to work on your rebounding or head to the gym early to work on your ballhandling to get more minutes. Those are items you need to mention in order to help them in their drive to become great players.”
By clearing the air now, Davis feels it avoids confusion and softens the blow in terms of what develops down the road. “What hurts is sitting on the bench and not knowing why you’re not starting. By saying what needs to be done in practice, then they either do it or they don’t. At least they know where they stand then. We can’t keep 13 scholarship players happy, but we’re trying to drive them to become excellent players on an excellent team. In order to do that, they need excellent work ethic.”
Part of the reason that Coleman, a native of West Roxbury, Mass., chose Providence from among other potential suitors was that he could contribute immediately. Kofane, hailing from Yaounde, Cameroon, was also intrigued with the possibility of becoming a player Davis can count on right from the get-go.
“I met Brice in a tournament in Virginia, and I told him I committed to Providence even before he started to think about going there,” shared Coleman when asked if being part of a large recruiting class can be a good thing in terms of striking friendships. “I told him he should come Providence and he was like, ‘What’s Providence?’
All kidding aside, there is also the reason why Coleman and Kofane plan to keep plugging away this season, working towards a chance to break into the Providence lineup for good, and a chance to make as much of an impact in college as they did in high school.
“We know that it’s going to be tough, but that’s what makes it interesting,” said Kofane.
RIM RATTLERS: Davis said on Thursday that sophomore guard Duke Mondy is “likely” to be on the floor Sunday for the annual Mal Brown intrasquad scrimmage. Mondy suffered a hamstring strain during practice last weekend. … The Mal Brown scrimmage, slated to get underway at 1:30 p.m., will be preceded by PC’s “Friar Fanfest” at Alumni Hall. The event gets underway at noon and is free to the public.