It will be practically impossible for another program to wrest the worst offseason in college basketball away from Oklahoma, but you've got to hand it to Providence for giving it a solid effort.
Only a month ago, Providence players Johnnie Lacy and James Still were charged with felony assault of another student after an early-morning party. Now comes Tuesday afternoon's announcement that the Friars' best player has been kicked off the team.
"Jamine Peterson has been dismissed from the men's basketball team for a violation of team rules," coach Keno Davis said in a statement released by the school. "Jamine had a productive season in 2009-10. However, regardless of his athletic accomplishments, it is essential to the integrity of the program that every student-athlete meets the high standards and expectations we have at Providence College."
Exactly what Peterson did to violate team rules is unclear at this point, but what's readily apparent is how much the dismissal of a 6-foot-6 forward who averaged 19.6 points and 10.2 rebounds will hurt the Friars next season. Couple that with the graduation of second-leading scorer Sharaud Curry and the likely expulsion of Lacy and Still, and the Friars might be even worse than they were a year ago when they went 4-14 in the Big East.
The timing of Providence's release Tuesday afternoon was not coincidentally minutes after Slam Magazine released a quick online story in which Peterson said he was leaving school to play professionally overseas a la Brandon Jennings. Providence quickly shot that spin down, making it clear that this wasn't the redshirt sophomore's choice.
Regardless, it seems college basketball has seen the last of a kid who likely would have been one of the top scorers in the Big East next season.
Peterson arrived at Providence an under-the-radar recruit, improved his ball-handling, bulked up and extended his shooting range during a redshirt year in 2008-09 and emerged as one of the most improved players in the nation this past season.
He'll have a tough road to transform himself into an NBA prospect overseas. And Providence will have an even more difficult challenge to recover from his dismissal next season in the Big East.