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With a double-overtime home win over Creighton tucked into Providence College’s back pocket, Ed Cooley felt the time was right to strike concerning the Friar player who does a little bit of everything for this year’s team.
Sitting at the podium inside the Amica Mutual Pavilion’s press conference room Tuesday night, Cooley went full-campaign mode on Devin Carter’s behalf with TV cameras and recorders rolling. The sophomore guard had just torched Creighton on both ends of the court, yet it was Carter’s defense that Cooley sought to extol the virtues of, hoping that through the art of articulation, someone will remember the No. 22 player in a Providence jersey when the time comes to cast votes for individual awards.
The “PC Friars: BDTM” series (Show #1 above) features Friar fanatic reporter Brendan McGair and Warrior Friar Superfan Daniel James examining the tough end of season schedule the team has, the Big East Tournament and potential Friar involvement in the Big Dance.
Below is Ed Cooley’s full soliloquy on Devin Carter:
“Everyone talks about these different players around the country defensively. Please make sure you write this. I wouldn’t take one player in America defensively, not one,” said Cooley. “I hear all these [national] writers talk about this defensive player, that defensive player. Not to take anything away from those young men because they may deserve the credit, but some of you have to open your eyes and see what’s to my right defensively.”
By right, Cooley was referring to the Providence player sitting next to him as the coach continued to shed light on Carter’s behalf.
“We put him on everyone. We may put him on [NBA legend] Julius Erving when he comes out of retirement,” said Cooley. “This young man here is a stud defensively. I hope everyone wakes up and understands that.”
It should be noted that Cooley spoke up about Carter the same night that the reigning Big East Defensive Player of the Year was also in the building. The 7-foot-1 shot-blocking phenom known as Creighton junior Ryan Kalkbrenner was selected over a Friar player who Cooley believed is cut from the same defensive cloth as Carter.
Providence’s Devin Carter had one of the best defensive games I’ve seen all year vs Creighton while also scoring 25.
6-3 guard recorded 30th block. Chased 6-7 Scheierman around all game. Recovered to contest 7-0 Kalkbrenner at rim multiple times. Incredible court coverage/motor. pic.twitter.com/567iNFce5M
— Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass) February 15, 2023
A year ago, Cooley sought to correct an injustice regarding Justin Minaya, someone who often guarded the opponent’s top offensive player – sometimes regardless of position. At 6-foot-7, Minaya represented the defensive glue on a 2021-22 PC squad that punched its ticket to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in a quarter century.
Minaya did things that didn’t show up on the stat sheet. To Cooley, that counts for something, hence why he didn’t beat around the bush after the first game the Friars played after the revealing of the final 15 nominees for last year’s Naismith Defensive Player of the Year with Minaya’s name nowhere to be found.
“Defensively, for him not to be in the top 15 or the top five, is an absolute joke,” said Cooley after PC beat Marquette on Jan. 30, 2022. “For those of you who are listening to this — because I’m pretty sure it will be broadcast — open your eyes.”
— Morey Hershgordon (@MHershgordon) February 16, 2023
A year removed from Minaya’s perceived snub, Cooley once again believes he’s well within his rights to whip out the no-respect card and raise awareness of the defensive energy supplied by one of his players. Recently, the list of 15 finalists for this year’s Naismith DPOY was unveiled. Creighton’s Kalkbrenner made the cut. PC’s Carter did not.
It might be too late to make any additions and/or subtractions to the list of Naismith DPOY candidates. Yet it’s never too late to stage a great awakening with Tuesday’s game against Creighton representing Exhibit A as far as the myriad of defensive tricks that Carter has brought game-in, game-out for this year’s band of Friars.
Listed at 6-foot-3, Carter checked Creighton’s 6-foot-7 guard Baylor Scheierman for a good portion of the 50 minutes needed to decide a winner. Scheierman finished 4-of-15 from the field, 2-of-12 from three. On the final play of regulation, Carter stuck to Scheierman like glue, resulting in a pass attempt from the right wing that was sped up due to Carter’s aggressiveness.
It was again Carter to the rescue as the first overtime drew to a close. Remembering how Creighton guard Ryan Nemdhard was attacking earlier in the game, Carter stood his ground on the baseline before recording a rejection with one second on the game clock.
“Devin affects the game in so many different ways,” said Cooley.
— Taylor Rocha (@TaylorRochaTV) February 15, 2023
There was a slice of irony concerning the race for this year’s Big East Defensive Player of the Year, as Carter fought his way around a screen set by Kalkbrenner on behalf of his teammate Nemdhard. By staying with his original assignment, Carter helped keep the bid for a Friar win alive.
“(Nemdhard) was coming off a lot of screens and getting downhill. I felt if he took that first bump, he would bounce back. I took note of that whenever they put me on him,” said Carter when asked about the block that prompted the need for a second overtime period. “I knew he was going to pump fake so I stayed down. Obviously, he has to shoot it with two seconds left. I jumped and ended up blocking it.”
The second of the two blocks recorded by Carter at Creighton’s expense was a fitting capper on a night when Cooley saw an opportunity to stage college basketball’s version of the Great Awakening. Sleeping on Devin Carter? In the eyes of the coach, how dare you.
Brendan McGair is a sportswriter and columnist with the Pawtucket Times and the Woonsocket Call. A graduate of Providence College, McGair is a five-time recipient of the R.I. Sports Writer of the Year Award as voted by the National Sports Media Association (NSMA).
Follow McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair03 and on Instagram @bwmcgair.