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Ed Cooley to Georgetown: Quick Thoughts

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Round Greensboro Practice Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

I finally figured out how to get a new account on here - my rambling thoughts:

He can help repair a lot that is broken. He is leaving Providence in a better place than he found it (this is important). He can get fans to games again, he can be seen on campus, he can be more transparent than any coach we’ve had, he can reconnect DMV grassroots issues. The overarching big picture stuff, he nails. He’s always nailed it - Fairfield or Providence. Providence fans don’t want to lose him not so much because of his winning %, it’s as much as everything else that has gone into it. If you believe that all turned out to be a lie, I guess? But welcome to the world of college coaching.

On the court/basketball related matters: I do think he has evolved and it’s not a coincidence two of his best three seasons coaching offense came in the last three seasons. This is important for his continued growth and to break through. I’d like to see him continue to value shooting, increase 3PA rate, get further away from the ground and pound. What he always does well - his team’s offensive rebound, they get to the FT line – on defense, they defend..wait for it…the 3PT line. Year over year his teams defend the 3 very well - both in % and volume of attempts. Although sometimes at the expense of 2PT defense (an area that needs to be fixed to hit another level - you’re at Georgetown now - get some length and rim protection. Names attached to PC in the last week in the portal - Jamile Reynolds and Temple and Eddie Lampkin of TCU are not that - he needs to pivot to more athleticism, but just my opinion. More Kris Dunn’s less than Jared Bynum’s (obviously). He has to recruit better talent. The tweeners/ground bound bigs aren’t going to cut it. More athleticism, more talent. He has to get and work with better players, in the end this will determine how far he can take this. Hopefully the powers that be are in fact equipping him with sufficient resources to do so (NIL).

Some other things I believe he has to do to break through and what Georgetown needs to break through: Schedule better - we need to be in Maui, in MSG in November/December, wherever the big dogs are - not in Uncasville, CT playing an A10 program. Hopefully a bigger name puts us in these places. Can’t load up on the NEC and MAAC schools anymore either. It also has to be *his* staff. Whatever he brings and whatever he wants to fill out is fine - but there are names (which we all know) hanging around this program that can’t be pushed onto him by Georgetown. Fresh start in that regard.

Is it possible to get a bump at Georgetown? His 45th KenPom finish needs to turn into 25th. His 8/10 year run into the NCAA Tournament is great - time to be a consistent 3,4,5 seed instead of an 8/9/10. His best year at Providence was a Sweet 16 and a 32nd KP finish. His best year at Georgetown needs to be an Elite 8/Final 4 and a Top 10 finish if this money is well spent. Time will tell. What he has proven time and time again however - the guy competes in the Big East. His in-conference record is very strong - he’s won the 3rd highest % of Big East games behind only Villanova and Creighton since the formation of the new league - a lot of talk about what a home court advantage he has - but he’s also 3rd in % of road games won behind only Villanova and Xavier. He has a 57.1% ATS record inside the league since then - best in the league - value that metric however you want - but he is a tough out and speaks well to his ability to coach inside a league where everyone knows everyone. Providence has 14 winning conference seasons in 44 years of the Big East, Cooley provided 8 of them.

He hasn’t won in March, yeah..well..get in line. Shaka Smart just completed his eight consecutive year at a high major and has one NCAA-T win to show for it. A lot of people don’t win the crapshoot coin flips. He’s had four coin flips in the first round, lost three of them. He had 5 mins vs Kansas to make an Elite 8 and came up short last year. Again, this starts well before March - elevate your program, schedule better and be a consistent higher seed - not in coin flip territory to begin with. You can’t remove context when judging coaches and we are not without examples of guys improving after making a move. Kevin Willard (who Cooley was objectively better than in the same conference) is on his way to doing it, Mick Cronin did it. Anyone look at Greg McDermott’s time at Iowa State? Shaka just did it. Coaches can reflect, improve, get better resources, find a better fit and a better talent pool.

Even if he has created both his floor and ceiling, it does at least put you on solid footing. I personally would like to have a competitive Georgetown program for the next 5, 10, 20 years of my life. He is a bridge to respectability and possibly more. Again, it is important that Providence as a program feels they are in a better place than they ever have been. He put it there. If Cooley falls short of really making a breakthrough - in 6, 7 years - the program should be in a good spot, removed from the presidency of JDG to make the next move.

The usual Georgetown dynamics - who knows. I don’t love the optics with the shared Thompson lawyer, and you can put on your tin foil hat - and I have many times and will call it out the first time I see something that does not pass the smell test. But, I believe Ed can and will run his own program on his own terms, I’ll give him and Lee Reed the benefit of the doubt in that regard. As for the Big East? I don’t care. Do I think Val Ackerman is upset about this? She probably is not too broken up about having what she thought would be the flagship program get back to stability – and a fierce rivalry for a few years is not a bad bonus. Would I be pissed as a PC fan? Undoubtedly.

Did I want Pitino? Yep. Thought he could win a national title by year three and deal with whatever comes after that. Happy with this? At worst, content. I don’t have a national established name that I could say was/is a sure thing or would take the job. But when a guy is willing to leave a conference rival, knowing he’ll turn from hero to villain - because his love for Georgetown from when he was a teen-ager never went away? Yeah, I can get on board with that guy. This job meant something to *him*. I have concerns on what his ceiling ultimately is, but it’s time for him to get to work and show he can do it at a higher level than he has. I’m excited to see him try.