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Jeff Eisenberg

Struggling Providence reaches a new offseason low

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A multiple choice question for savvy college basketball readers: What has been the low point of Providence's nightmarish offseason so far?

A. The expulsion of Johnnie Lacy and James Still after they allegedly brutally beat a fellow student in mid-April.

B. Leading scorer and rebounder Jamine Peterson getting dismissed from school only a few weeks later as a result of an on-campus incident with a group of 15-year-old AAU players.

C. Well-respected assistant coach Pat Skerry bolting for Big East rival Pittsburgh last week.

D. Highly touted point guard Naadir Tharpe of Brewster Academy backing out of his commitment this week as a result of Skerry's departure because he doesn't have a strong enough bond with any of the other coaches.

The answer? Amazingly, it's none of the above.

The low point for the Friars actually came Thursday when the school refused to give top recruit Joseph Young permission to abandon this sinking ship. The heavily recruited shooting guard from Houston's Yates High cited the health of an ailing aunt as the reason he'd like to attend college closer to home, but Providence will not release him from his letter of intent.

"Joseph Young signed a national letter-of-intent to attend Providence College and we expect that he'll honor that commitment," Friars coach Keno Davis said in a statement on the matter.

The situation with Young is reminiscent of DePaul's refusal to let recruit Walter Pitchford leave, only Providence comes off as even more desperate. In Pitchford's case, the primary reason for him wanting out was a coaching change. In Young's, it's the health of a relative.

Skeptics may have their doubts over whether Young's aunt is truly the biggest reason why he doesn't want to come to Providence, but in this case it shouldn't matter. Why should Young want to go to a school whose coaching staff can't seem to instill discipline in its players or field a competitive team in the Big East?

Young will appeal Providence's decision. If he wins, he'll be eligible to play elsewhere next season. If not, he'll sit out a year.

Either way, it doesn't sound like he'll be a Friar. And right now that's looking like a wise decision.

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