PROVIDENCE – All Brice Kofane has ever yearned for is the opportunity to showcase his abilities on a regular basis. The chance to do just that has apparently arrived, though it won’t take place in a Providence College uniform.
With one year of athletic eligibility remaining, Kofane decided late last week to transfer to New Jersey’s Monmouth University. A 6-foot-8 forward who will graduate from PC next month with a degree in business management, Kofane is taking advantage of an exemption that permits fifth-year players to move on to a new school and play right away.
Generally, such decisions are more in line with players enrolling in a graduate study program that may not be offered at the institution where they completed their undergraduate studies. While Kofane made it quite clear that he plans to pursue a master’s degree at Monmouth, he’s also looking forward to joining forces with a basketball program where he envisions a much bigger role than he was accustomed to during his tenure with the Friars.
“I thought about (staying at Providence), but I felt I needed a change of scenery,” expressed Kofane Saturday night at the end-of-the-season men’s basketball banquet at the Marriott Hotel. “I know I will play right away (at Monmouth). Even if it comes to the point that I’m fighting for a spot, I really don’t mind it. At the end of the day, the chance to play is all I really want.”
A native of Cameroon, Kofane was brought to Providence under former head coach Keno Davis. He sat out the 2010-11 season and opted to remain in the fold after Davis was fired and Ed Cooley came on board. Beginning with the 2011-12 campaign, Kofane saw his playing time rapidly decrease from 15 minutes per game during his first season to 4.4 minutes in 21 games last season.
“The past few years have been pretty tough emotionally,” Kofane admitted.
At the end of February, Cooley mentioned that he would sit down with Kofane after the season and figure out where he fit into PC’s plans moving forward. Kofane was honored on Senior Night, a clear sign that pointed to him following in the footsteps of Bilal Dixon, who opted not to leave the remaining year of eligibility he had on the table upon graduating from Providence in 2012. Dixon finished his college career at Towson under former PC assistant Pat Skerry.
Cooley is set to welcome a strong freshman class that includes seven-footer Paschal Chukwu. His arrival probably would have meant that Kofane would have been guaranteed nothing more than spot duty.
“Unfortunately he wasn’t going to have a role to accomplish what he wants. We’re going to wish him the best and I’m glad he’s graduating from Providence College,” Cooley said. “I want Brice to have success.”
Kofane’s relationship with Monmouth dates back a few years. He first crossed paths with Hawks head coach King Rice – a former Providence assistant under Tim Welsh – while playing pickup games on campus during the summer.
“Once (Rice) heard I was transferring, he reached out,” noted Kofane, who toured Monmouth two weekends ago. “That was the only place I visited, but I knew the area. I just want to be at a spot where I can help right away and show what I can do on the court.”
At the Big East Tournament last month, Cooley mentioned that LaDontae Henton was practically a shoo-in to captain the Friars next season. Standing next to Bryce Cotton in the hallway of the Marriott Saturday night, Henton smiled when asked if he’s ready to wear the mantle and set the tone for his teammates heading into his senior year.
“Cotton and Kadeem (Batts) did a great job leading us last year, so I’ve got some big shoes to fill, noted Henton. “Hopefully I can find my niche and that results in victories every night.”
What makes the decision to empower Henton with all that goes with the captaincy position a natural fit is that he understands that haste makes waste, i.e. the importance of laying the groundwork now for a season that doesn’t take flight for another six months.
“If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. That’s the kind of mindset that I need to have in making sure we go hard in every single thing we do,” said Henton. “I learned from Kadeem how not to get on guys and how to get on them. Some guys can take it, some can’t.”
RIM RATTLERS: Not surprisingly, Cotton was named the Jimmy Walker Most Valuable Player for the second straight year at Saturday’s banquet. Cotton also earned the Thomas Ramos Academic Award after posting the highest grade-point average on the team. Henton received the John Zannini Coaches Award with Batts honored with the Lenny Wilkins Hustle Award. … Other Friars honored include Josh Fortune (Ryan Gomes Most Improved Player Award), Tyler Harris (Coca-Cola Most Promising Prospect Award) and Carson Desrosiers (Marvin Barnes Defensive Player of the Year). … On Wednesday, May 14 at 8 p.m., Cox Sports will air a 30-minute documentary called PC ‘Heart & Soul’ that takes a look back at the Friars’ march to the Big East Tournament championship and NCAA Tournament.
Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair03