University of Rhode Island great Tyson Wheeler was a guest on the College Chalktalk podcast with Chris DiSano, ahead of his alma mater's annual intrastate matchup with the Providence Friars. Wheeler has an interesting perspective into this game on multiple fronts, having played in this rivalry game four times (all at the Providence Civic Center), coaching with Ed Cooley at Fairfield, and sharing a similar path from New London to great college point guard as PC's Kris Dunn.
Wheeler went 2-2 in his time against Providence with Rhody, and interestingly enough, one of his most vivid memories is from a loss in his freshman season.
"It was known as a rivalry, I wanted to go in there and play well being that I didn't really get recruited by Providence, and I thought I was a Big East player coming out of New London." He scored 16 points.
As he tells it, motivation of being overlooked early in his career really shaped his competitiveness.
"Obviously going against Shammgod...it was a big-time thing because he was a McDonald's All-American." said Wheeler. "I wanted to show everybody that I was just as good as him."
Wheeler has been a coach in recent years, serving under Ed Cooley at Fairfield and staying on under Sydney Johnson with the Stags. He also came out of New London High School, and first took note of Kris Dunn back when Dunn was a freshman for the Whalers.
"When I was playing overseas, I'd come back home over break and go to my high school practices," said Wheeler. "I was like 'this kid is really good,' I thought he's probably going to be the best kid ever to come out of New London...and it turned out that way."