photo from providencejournal.com
After landing what some have labeled a top-10 recruiting class, coach Ed Cooley and Providence have been dealt a cruel hand heading into this season.
The program’s two prized top-25 recruits, Ricky Ledo and Kris Dunn, have yet to suit up for Providence. Ledo will not be able to all season, as he was ruled a partial qualifier by the NCAA. (He can practice but not play.) Dunn, meanwhile, is trying to recover from shoulder surgery over the summer, and may be ready by January, per cbssports.com.
It is certainly a huge blow to the program’s immediate hopes of moving its way back up the Big East standings. However, there is another quality freshman that should have a chance to soften the blow just a bit.
Josh Fortune, a 6’5” guard from Virginia, came to Providence figuring to be behind both Ledo and Dunn—each a guard as well—on the Friars’ depth chart.
Now, with star guard Vincent Council also out (hamstring injury) to start the season, it appears the setbacks have led to some good Fortune, at least from Josh’s standpoint.
In just three games, Fortune has shown pretty solid progress in adjusting to the college game. He appears to have benefited from having junior Bryce Cotton, currently the team’s lone healthy guard with significant experience, playing alongside him.
After a respectable seven-point, six-assist (with no turnovers) effort in his second game against Bryant, Fortune looked even better against a quality UMass team. His 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting (again with no turnovers) helped the Friars nearly pull out a win in the first round of the Puerto Rico Tip Off.
Fortune’s early contributions have been just what the doctor ordered for Providence. If he can continue his solid play, the Friars may be able to tread water until Council, and eventually Dunn, return to the lineup.
Who knows, maybe Fortune will even hold off Dunn for one of those starting spots.