Dave Gavitt

Providence College

Marvin Barnes, who rose from the gritty neighborhood of South Providence to the NCAA Final Four on the legendary 1973 Providence College basketball team and later had a promising career in professional basketball that  was cut short by drug addiction and scrapes with the law, has died. He was 62.

Barnes death was first reported by ProJo sports writer Kevin McNamara, who wrote that he got the news from Barnes old friend and teammate, Kevin Stacom. He died at his Providence home.

Since the 1950s, Providence College basketball has been one of the great story lines in all of college sports, a New England version of the cinematic Hoosiers.

This tale flat-lined for too many years. But make no mistake: the Friars are back to the future, playing a marquee game tonight at Madison Square Garden, where the PC hoop legend really began all those years ago, in the early 1960s, with the National Invitational Tournament, when that post-season playoff at the Garden overshadowed the NCAA’s tournament.

In another blow to the Big East Conference, Notre Dame has announced that it will leave the Providence-headquartered college sports conference and join the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The Fighting Irish are the fourth Big East college sports program to leave the conference over the last 14 months, joining Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia. West Virginia went to the Big 12 Conference and Pitt and Syracuse left for the ACC. Traditional New England Providence rival Boston College earlier left the Big East for the ACC.