2020-21 Providence College Hoops: What Happens to a Dream Deferred?

CouchsideSteve

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College basketball is around the corner – we think. And so it’s time to check in on Ed Cooley & company, who have built a consistent winner down in Providence in the refashioned Big East.

Remember last season? You’d be forgiven not to, but I certainly do. We had high-high hopes with a talented roster and the prospect of graduate transfer Luwane Pipkins stabilizing the PG position. It started poorly with a disappointing but forgivable road loss to Northwestern in the first real test, got worse with an inexplicable home loss to Penn, and deteriorated further by losing 3 of the next 4, including losses to Long Beach St (!), Charleston (!!) and in-state rival Rhode Island. The team hardly had a chance to lick their wounds before getting blown out by 30 against Florida at Barclay’s Center. It was the ugliest stretch of basketball in recent memory, and left many wondering whether we might see a wave of transfers out of the program and a complete reset 7 seasons into a very competitive run. (You could practically hear it in bars downtown: It was good while it lasted!) The team was more than written off, it was a laughing stock of the early 2019-20 season.

Then something funny happened: Texas visited in an anticipated rematch of a game the Friars stole down in Austin the season before, and Providence prevailed easily – showing glimpses of the recent vintage Cooley teams that win through athleticism, smothering defense, and taking care of the ball without elite shooting. Then PC edged out Georgetown and DePaul to kick off conference play, before stealing an OT thriller at Marquette. The team wasn’t quite right, though – truthfully, senior forward (and 4-year starter / 2x all-conference) Alpha Diallo never got it going last season. So they sputtered to a 6-6 conference start and hopes to make the NCAA tournament were faint.

Then something incredible happened: A 6-game winning streak to finish out the conference schedule, including a gutty home win over ranked Seton Hall, an amazing road win over Villanova, and a knife fight against Xavier with both teams’ tournament hopes presumably on the line. The run was capped off with a beat-down of DePaul on March 7th – the Friars were riding high, playing the best basketball I’ve seen under Ed Cooley. Leaving the Dunkin’ Donuts Center that Saturday with a nice beer buzz, I thought to myself: This team is going to win the Big East tournament. A few days later, I thought: It sure would be a shame if I don’t get to see it in person. How naïve. The rest, as they say, is history. (Though please let the record show that Providence was in every bracket projection, usually as high as an 8 or 9 seed, when the 2019-20 season was interrupted.)

The Friars bid farewell to the aforementioned Pipkins and Diallo. If you played Diallo’s career in reverse, he would be remembered much more fondly – I can’t explain why he was better as a sophomore than as a senior, other than the talent around him was more complementary when the roster had shooters like Jalen Lindsey and Kyron Cartwright. Also moving on is 6th-year senior Emmitt Holt, who was an integral part of the team that spent much of Kris Dunn’s final year in the top-25 (remember that?), only to battle a life-threatening intestinal issue. His return to the floor was inspirational, after effectively missing two seasons. Rounding out the departures are Kalif Young, a beloved back-up center who was great on the defensive end, and combo-guard Maliek White, who had his moments as a bench scorer all four years.

So what do we have to look forward to? It really depends. It depends primarily on how much basketball we actually get to see. It also depends on how good heralded recruits David Duke and AJ Reeves are in their junior seasons. Further, it depends on how Ed Cooley integrates four transfers expected to play meaningful minutes.

Projected Starting 5: (1) Jared Bynum, So; (2) David Duke, Jr; (3) AJ Reeves, Jr; (4) Jimmy Nichols, So; (5) Nate Watson, Sr
Key Rotation Pieces: (4/5) Noah Horchler, Sr; (2/3) Brycen Goodine, So; (4/5) Ed Croswell, Jr; (3/4) Greg Gantt, So
Rounding Out the Roster: (3/4) Kris Monroe, Jr; (1/2) Andrew Fonts, Sr; (1) Jyare Davis, Fr; (1/2) Allyn Breed

*Note: Goodine (Syracuse) and Croswell (LaSalle) are incoming transfers approved to play this season
**Also note: Due to the depth of this year’s roster, this is one of Cooley’s lightest recruiting classes – I wouldn’t expect to see much from Davis or Breed until 2022-23.


Key Questions for the Season

(1) Will the real AJ Reeves please stand up? Arguably the best pro prospect on the team, Reeves is a knockdown shooter and dynamic playmaker when he’s healthy and right… but he hasn’t been healthy and right very often.

(2) David Duke – a star is born? If you told me David Duke improved his shot-making ability, won Big East POY and jumped to the NBA after this season, I wouldn’t be surprised. He’s a long, athletic guard with great poise and enough of a handle to play in the league. Seems like a great kid, too.

(3) Can the transfers play up? This team is banking on the fact that Jared Bynum’s very good freshman year in the A-10 will translate to above-average PG play in the ferocious Big East (he’s a transfer from St. Joe’s). It’s also banking on one of Horchler (No. Florida) or Crowswell being able to play meaningful minutes at the 4/5 positions.

(4) Wither Nate Watson? It’s hard to look at the stat line and say big Nate has been a disappointment over his first three years, but the fact that a much less talented player in Kalif Young ate into his minutes tells you all you need to know about how Cooley views Watson’s defense (hint: he thinks it’s a liability). Watson was voted preseason all-Big East 2nd team, and deservedly so for his offensive talent. But he needs to stay out of foul trouble and rebound better, or we’ll be seeing Croswell take some crunch time minutes at the 5.

(5) Do either Nichols or Gantt make a leap? Supremely athletic, talented guys who can’t shoot -- we've seen this before in Providence :)

(6) Speaking of shooting… who can? I’m not going to harp on this, because Cooley’s teams have somehow managed to win with below average shooting for years. But Reeves, Duke and Goodine all need to make a high volume of threes from the wing position for these Friars to keep up offensively.

Expectations? I have none… every game that’s played will be a treat. If you ask the AP/Coaches, the Friars are a borderline top-35 team. But if you ask KenPom, they’re #63. I’m a tad pessimistic, but all it would take is a healthy and productive Reeves to change my mind.

Non-Conference Look-Ahead
  • Wed, 11/25 vs. Fairfield
  • Mon, 11/30 vs. Indiana (neutral site – Maui Invitational in Ashville, NC)
  • Tue, 12/1 & Wed, 12/2 TBD
  • Sat, 12/5 vs. Farleigh Dickinson
  • Wed, 12/9 @ TCU
 
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CouchsideSteve

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Easily covered the 20pt spread over Fairfield today. What to make of it?
  • Gantt started, with Nichols apparently injured
  • Shot 49% from the field and 44% from beyond the arc — we’ll take it
  • Our bigs bullied a weaker opponent, as you’d hope to see... Watson, Horchler & Croswell is a stout backcourt
Monday vs. Indiana should be fun!
 

CouchsideSteve

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The Friars are 2-2 over their last 4: Run out if the gym against Indiana, squeaked one out over Davidson, and run out of the gym yet again versus Alabama (the former all in Asheville, NC), before settling in to beat Farleigh Dickinson back in Providence. Where does that leave us? Roughly where they started according to KenPom (#67), and reminiscent of the slow starts we’ve seen the last few seasons.

Encouraging signs so far? Watson has been great offensively, not only in the post but showing a real midrange jumper and improvements at the FT stripe. Alyn Breed, who I had no expectations for as a Freshman, can definitely play and will likely earn minutes the rest of the way.

The bad? Same is it ever was — the shooting is horrendous. 20.7% from beyond the arc (!) is bound to tick up, with Reeves 4-25 and Bynum 0-14 so far. But unless Cooley’s rotation tilts smaller toward Goodine and more Breed, I just don’t see how they claw their was to even below average. Too many guys who are total non-threats from more than 15 feet.

Good opportunity playing at TCU on Wed night to enter Big East play on a high note. Friars likely to be 2-3pt underdogs.
 

NoLastCall125

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The Friars are 2-2 over their last 4: Run out if the gym against Indiana, squeaked one out over Davidson, and run out of the gym yet again versus Alabama (the former all in Asheville, NC), before settling in to beat Farleigh Dickinson back in Providence. Where does that leave us? Roughly where they started according to KenPom (#67), and reminiscent of the slow starts we’ve seen the last few seasons.

Encouraging signs so far? Watson has been great offensively, not only in the post but showing a real midrange jumper and improvements at the FT stripe. Alyn Breed, who I had no expectations for as a Freshman, can definitely play and will likely earn minutes the rest of the way.

The bad? Same is it ever was — the shooting is horrendous. 20.7% from beyond the arc (!) is bound to tick up, with Reeves 4-25 and Bynum 0-14 so far. But unless Cooley’s rotation tilts smaller toward Goodine and more Breed, I just don’t see how they claw their was to even below average. Too many guys who are total non-threats from more than 15 feet.

Good opportunity playing at TCU on Wed night to enter Big East play on a high note. Friars likely to be 2-3pt underdogs.
I think another positive is that this team hasn’t lost to anybody that makes you cringe. Alabama and Illinois are good, NCAA tournament teams. I can accept them getting blown out early in the season. At this point last year they had lost to Northwestern, Long Beach State, Charleston, Penn, URI and squeaked out a win against Pepperdine. I know they haven’t had as many opportunities to lose, but the Davidson win made me feel way better about the start to this year than last. TCU would be a nice win, but even a loss doesn’t really look that bad. Cooley pulls his teams together when the Big East season starts so just by treading water in an abbreviated out of conference schedule, they’re setting themselves up for another tournament selection if they can kick it into that second gear.
 

MICHAELG63

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Another real good win today beating Seton Hall on the road in overtime. come tournament time this one could be real important. Watson showed up bigtime as well as Reeves and Duke
 

CouchsideSteve

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I’ve been slacking a bit on this thread. Admittedly, while I’ve still tuned into all the games, my heart isn’t in it as much as seasons’ past.

Still, it seems like a really good group of kids who play hard, so they deserve my (our) support. Watson has been a revelation, pairing the athletic rim-running abilities he’s shown since he was a Freshman with a legitimate midrange jumper. Duke has also been fantastic on both ends, and I really like what I’ve seen from Sophomores Gantt and Nichols, who each have NBA upside if everything breaks right.

Unfortunately the team is getting very little out of Reeves and Goodine (not to mention Horchler), who were expected to carry the 3-point shooting load. At 25.9% from beyond the arc, they can only play one speed: Slow.

Should be able to take care of business at home today against DePaul, with a winnable rematch vs. Butler to push their conference record to 3-1 as we close out December.
 

CouchsideSteve

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A win’s a win. And Reeves deserves credit, both for the game winner at Seton Hall and for salvaging tonight. Two *very* clutch shots.

But we can’t sit here and pretend a team who was 33-78 from the field and 6-23 from beyond the arc tonight against the worst opponent in the Big East is in good shape — not now, not for next season either. The flaw in roster construction will take multiple recruiting classes to correct. This is a perpetual bubble team in the meantime.
 

CouchsideSteve

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Watson and Duke were killers tonight, as the Friars throttle Butler. Inserting Nichols in the starting lineup certainly helped, too — his length is invaluable on the defensive end.

Creighton visits at noon on Saturday.
 

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HOw do you allow that with 0.5 seconds? After a timeout with 15 seconds. Use some of that time to coach defense in case you score. Wow.
 

CouchsideSteve

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HOw do you allow that with 0.5 seconds? After a timeout with 15 seconds. Use some of that time to coach defense in case you score. Wow.
Just a terrible and demoralizing lapse after crawling all the way back to tie it.

I’m consistent with my praise of Ed Cooley, as I think he’s an outstanding coach and a clear cut above what Providence could otherwise attract. But damn, this team really struggles with end of half and end of game situations. Not fouling up 3 at the end of the Seton Hall game yielded them a wide open look, while yesterday’s sequence to end the first half was astonishing: At the line shooting 2, just 6 seconds left... we miss both, then give up a 3 on the other end to their best shooter. Yikes.

By all appearances this is a bubble team that could be in for a rough go of it in 2021-22 if both Duke and Watson move on.
 

CouchsideSteve

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Hung tough on the road against Xavier today, carrying a 7-point lead with 1:16 left, thanks to some very clutch shots by Duke down the stretch... and they cough it up.

The mental and defensive lapses are very uncharacteristic of an Ed Cooley team. Super disappointing.
 

PC Drunken Friar

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Hung tough on the road against Xavier today, carrying a 7-point lead with 1:16 left, thanks to some very clutch shots by Duke down the stretch... and they cough it up.

The mental and defensive lapses are very uncharacteristic of an Ed Cooley team. Super disappointing.
Absolute killer call killed them. X was GOING for the foul and the ref simply didn't call it and called a travel. 4 point swing.

Also, only took 6 FT (and made only 2 of them). Extremely frustrating and a win that could have done a lot for them going forward.
 

Mloaf71

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Well the pace and the way they played tonight felt a lot like the run last year. Massive win but this team is going to give me heart troubles.
 

CouchsideSteve

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Battled Nova for a half yesterday, but things got out of hand quickly in the second. The team is just brutally thin after Duke and Watson — the latter still being a weak spot on D.

They may flirt with the bubble if they get hot in Feb like they have in years’ past. But if Duke jumps to the NBA, which I think is likely, next season looks awfully bleak. At a school like Providence, it’s tough to spend so much recruiting capital on guys like Ashton-Langford, Reeves and Gantt, only to yield limited production. That’s not Cooley’s fault, but it is what it is. (Maybe unfair to Gantt, who is just Sophomore, but he’s a wing who can’t shoot...)

One silver lining: Alyn Breed can *really* play.
 

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Battled Nova for a half yesterday, but things got out of hand quickly in the second. The team is just brutally thin after Duke and Watson — the latter still being a weak spot on D.

They may flirt with the bubble if they get hot in Feb like they have in years’ past. But if Duke jumps to the NBA, which I think is likely, next season looks awfully bleak. At a school like Providence, it’s tough to spend so much recruiting capital on guys like Ashton-Langford, Reeves and Gantt, only to yield limited production. That’s not Cooley’s fault, but it is what it is. (Maybe unfair to Gantt, who is just Sophomore, but he’s a wing who can’t shoot...)

One silver lining: Alyn Breed can *really* play.
I wonder how seniors having an additional year of eligibility will affect this springs grad transfer market. I’m guessing it could have a huge impact and a sector that someone like Cooley, who likes older players, would attack this offseason.
 

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Since dropping the game at Nova, the Friars handled business against Marquette, only to blow a big first half lead en route to a maddening loss at Georgetown. PC was subsequently uncompetitive in it’s next two against Seton Hall and St. John’s, but for very different reasons: First scoring an abysmal 43 points on offense, next yielding 92 on the other end.

While nice to pick up wins against UConn and DePaul more recently, sitting at 7-8 in the Big East effectively means needing to sweep the remaining 4 against UConn, Xavier, St. John’s and Nova — and KenPom suggests they’ll be slight to moderate underdogs in each.

It’s a strange season, and Ed Cooley teams have a way of defying the odds in the final leg, so who knows? Go Friars.
 

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The lack of consistent 2nd or 3rd scoring options for the Friars has been disappointing. I was all aboard the Reeves bandwagon after his freshman year and I’ve been baffled by his limited growth. Watson, who I thought was almost assuredly jumping to the NBA, has faded and turned into a single-single big.

All that said, PC has the talent to make a run at the end of the year and the BET. I just wish the program would evolve from a team you hope pulls it together to a team you expect to be ranked regularly throughout the year.
 

Mloaf71

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It looks like the Gtown game won't be rescheduled so need a minimum of 3-1 with the only loss being Nova and then a run in the BET.

I keep thinking these guys might have run left in them but then they lose to Gtown, St Js, and that Seton Hall monstrosity so who knows.
 

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The Friars closed out their regular season with a win over a depleted Nova squad, very nearly squandering a 20pt first half lead. They rest at 9-10 in conference (13-12 overall), good enough for the 6th seed in the Big East tournament, where they’ll square off with 11th seeded DePaul on Wed night. The winner gets the streaking 3rd seeded UConn Huskies. NCAA tournament hopes probably rest on cutting down the nets at MSG. Providence is #73 nationally according to KenPom and not on a single bracket tracked by BracketMatrix.com.

While the team’s 3pt shooting actually improved to middle of the pack, poor shot selection and too many long 2s left the team 9th in eFG% during conference play (out of 11). On defense, opposing Big East teams didn’t shoot particularly well on Providence, but the Friars were 10th in generating steals and 9th in blocks, which translated to far too many opponent possessions. By the eye test, this wasn’t one of Cooley’s characteristically stingy defenses.

Individually, the stat sheet says Nate Watson is the Friars best player — it’s tough to argue with 16.8ppg on 60% shooting. His defense just leaves so much to be desired; constantly out of position. David Duke is the Friars lone NBA prospect, and if I had to guess, he’ll be departing after the season. Though his offensive efficiency faded as the season wore on, the scenarios where PC goes on a little run at MSG begin and end with Duke taking over games. Kudos are owed to Noah Horchler, who has played really well of late — he’s a senior transfer, and the team could really use him next year if he so desires to extend his eligibility with the COVID waiver.

Go Friars, let’s beat DePaul and then see what happens.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Tough draw when a win over DePaul earns you a matchup with UConn, who have Final Four aspirations now that Bouknight is back healthy.

We got lucky when Dunn made the bizarre decision to return to school. I can’t imagine we get lucky a second time with Duke who is a lottery pick.
 

Mloaf71

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Tough draw when a win over DePaul earns you a matchup with UConn, who have Final Four aspirations now that Bouknight is back healthy.

We got lucky when Dunn made the bizarre decision to return to school. I can’t imagine we get lucky a second time with Duke who is a lottery pick.
When you put yourself in the position of having to win the conference tourney to get to the Dance you're going to have to beat some good teams so having UConn in the second round or the finals doesn't really matter to me I guess.

As for Duke, HRB, do you really think he is a lottery pick? I was all in on the lottery talk at the halfway point to the season. He has had a great statistical year, but watching him, he is so inconsistent night to night and is missing the alpha dog mentality (even Cooley said as much the other day). Is he a PG or SG in the NBA? I'd love for a PC guy to go on to be a great pro but Duke doesn't have that singular skill that will help him stick (Dunn has his Defense).
 

CouchsideSteve

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Dunn had only played one fully healthy college season, so his decision to return to PC was a (successful) calculation that he could nudge his draft position from mid/late first round to the lottery by dispelling the injury-prone label. While that season didn’t ultimately live up to expectations from a team standpoint, he had PC in the top 10 at one point. There was a lot to dream on with Dunn coming back, particularly before Chukwu announced a late transfer.

Duke strikes me as a likely early second round pick, and it‘s not clear to me what he has left to show — NBA teams are taking a flyer on his size, athleticism and play-making ability as a combo guard. He’s not a great shooter and I don’t think that gets fixed over the summer; there also isn’t much talent returning around him. I’d love to see the kid jump if there is guaranteed money to be had.
 

HomeRunBaker

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When you put yourself in the position of having to win the conference tourney to get to the Dance you're going to have to beat some good teams so having UConn in the second round or the finals doesn't really matter to me I guess.

As for Duke, HRB, do you really think he is a lottery pick? I was all in on the lottery talk at the halfway point to the season. He has had a great statistical year, but watching him, he is so inconsistent night to night and is missing the alpha dog mentality (even Cooley said as much the other day). Is he a PG or SG in the NBA? I'd love for a PC guy to go on to be a great pro but Duke doesn't have that singular skill that will help him stick (Dunn has his Defense).
I don’t disagree with having to win it but there are different level paths to do so......I can think of better options than playing a likely Sweet Sixteen team off a bye with their star healthy. The Marquette/Georgetown winner gets the Gillespie-less Villanova team then the winner of Seton Hall/St John’s. Now that is a viable path to earn a ticket opppsed to Villanova and Creighton.

The only thing I see keeping Duke out of the late lottery is the depth at his position which is ridiculous this year. He is clearly not a primary ball handler at the next level so he’s grouped in with some of the other wings but the NBA loves the versatility and trajectory of a guy like Duke. I like him over Kispert for example at the next level and he’s universally slotted in the lottery which I don’t understand at all.
 

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I don’t disagree with having to win it but there are different level paths to do so......I can think of better options than playing a likely Sweet Sixteen team off a bye with their star healthy. The Marquette/Georgetown winner gets the Gillespie-less Villanova team then the winner of Seton Hall/St John’s. Now that is a viable path to earn a ticket opppsed to Villanova and Creighton.

The only thing I see keeping Duke out of the late lottery is the depth at his position which is ridiculous this year. He is clearly not a primary ball handler at the next level so he’s grouped in with some of the other wings but the NBA loves the versatility and trajectory of a guy like Duke. I like him over Kispert for example at the next level and he’s universally slotted in the lottery which I don’t understand at all.
A 6-5 guy who isn’t a primary ballhandler or a lights-out* shooter is a marginal 1st-round pick at best. And that’s what my quick survey of mock drafts shows — Duke is by no means a consensus 1st-round pick, and I didn’t see any mocks that had him going in the lottery. If he’s got a 6-8 span and a 42-inch vertical, he’ll go in the 20s; if not, he’ll be back at PC next season.

*- He’ll shoot the NBA 3 well enough to keep defenses honest, but he’s not JJ Redick by a long shot.
 

shawnrbu

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Disappointing end to a disappointing season. Can’t say that I will miss any of the guys on this team. Hope Cooley can recruit one player who can actually shoot.
 

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Disappointing end to a disappointing season. Can’t say that I will miss any of the guys on this team. Hope Cooley can recruit one player who can actually shoot.
That's the type of loss that often sinks a program. Leitao has about as much chance of coaching DePaul next year as Jim Christian did coaching BC.
 

CouchsideSteve

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Losing to a DePaul team that has been the conference doormat since re-organization was a fitting end. This season sucked.

For perspective: If you grant that last year's team was destined for a bid, Ed Cooley has put an NCAA tournament team on the floor in 6 of the last 8 seasons. While it's disappointing that we have only one postseason win to show for it, those are impressive results relative to where the program had been before he arrived. I still believe Ed Cooley is the exact right coach for this program, and that we'll miss him when he's gone someday.

The team has two thematic problems in my estimation: (1) Over-reliance on recruiting size and athleticism -- the 2018 class included two true centers (Watson + Dickens) and the more recent vintage of ~6'7" wings (Nichols, Monroe, Gantt, Davis) has yielded zero shooting; and (2) Lack of on-campus development. To expand on the latter, Cooley attracted four top-70 recruits from 2017-19 in Ashton-Langford, Duke, Reeves and Gantt. The net result has been one who hit (Duke), one of who has struggled to find his footing (Reeves), and two who had a pair of underwhelming seasons before transferring (Ashton-Langford + Gantt). A program like Providence just can't squander that much recruiting capital.

Cooley concluded his press conference on Wednesday by vowing there will be changes. I think that very likely includes some turnover on his staff to address the player development issue. We found out yesterday that Gantt will be transferring as well -- seems like a really good kid who lost a parent early in his Freshman season. Hard to imagine a more difficult two years for a college athlete. Beyond Gantt, here are the roster decisions to watch with my speculative odds:
  • Watson extending eligibility (90% he leaves): There is good money to be earned overseas
  • Duke departing early (60% he leaves): Explained my rationale in a post above
  • Horchler extending eligibility (40% he leaves): I don't think Noah's overseas market is quite as robust as Nate's, and it's certainly possible he could put together a 2nd team all-conference type of season if he returned
I won't speculate with percentages, but Nichols and Monroe have played very little in their first three season for different reasons. It would actually surprise me if both are still on campus in the fall. Look for Cooley to be very active in the transfer market to bring in wing shooters and at least one big.
 

CouchsideSteve

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Monroe’s departure is official. With only two incoming Freshman signees (3* wing Legend Geeter & 6’9 big Rafael Castro), Cooley could have between two and four scholarships to fill via transfer.

For the times they are a-changin'.
 

CouchsideSteve

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First surprise of the nascent off-season: Nate Watson is coming back for a fifth year. His defense is terrible, which negates a large part of the offensive efficiency — but he’s at least an above average Big East player overall, which is huge relative to what they would have otherwise returned. If he devotes himself to improving on D, he could be among the top handful of players in the conference next season.
 

CouchsideSteve

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Nichols announced his intention to transfer earlier this week. While he never really put it together at PC, he’s a super talented kid with multiple years of eligibility remaining — hurts a bit to lose him.

No news yet on Horchler coming back, and Duke’s decision will likely stretch out through NBA workouts in Apr & May.
 

Mloaf71

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Noah is back in addition to Watson. A lot of buzz that Epps pops for the Friars tomorrow and reclassifies 21. Jayden Epps

Still in the running for Pettiford and lots of transfers out there.

This is a real opportunity to get this roster back on track and competitive. If Duke comes back there could be a lot of talent on this team. IMHO, need to make a change a change on the bench with an assistant to aid in player development and change the Offensive philosophy.
 

CouchsideSteve

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Epps committed today, and it indeed sounds like he’ll be joining the 2021 class, making him by far the most coveted HS recruit joining the team this fall — a bona fide 4*, top 100 caliber scoring PG.

If Duke stays, next year’s team will feature five returning starters with quality bench guys in Breed and Goodine. It’s not enough depth, but they’d be only a transfer away from being a tournament caliber team again, IMO (ideally a wing with length who can flex to the 4).
 

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Duke has hired an agent, ending his collegiate career. Good for the kid. His time at PC went by in a blink.

Stepping in will be Indiana grad transfer Al Durham, who is a talented scorer and likely starts at the 2 next year. But Cooley needs to keep working the transfer market for shooting and depth at the 4/5.
 

TripleOT

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 4, 2007
3,969
These old PC fans really have no clue about pro basketball. I’ve seen a lot of comments that Duke can improve his draft stock by playing at PC another season.

Maybe these old fossils that make up a majority of the fans at the Dunk would benefit from Duke playing his senior season, but he wouldn’t.

Duke is right sized and athletic enough for his projected position, PG. His 39% from three and 79% from the line are good indicators that he will put in the work to be a good three point shooter in the pros.

Picks at the bottom of the second round are scoring $1m+ per season deals. Playing your senior year is idiotic if you’ve got what it takes to be an NBA player
 

Mloaf71

lurker
Jul 13, 2005
297
These old PC fans really have no clue about pro basketball. I’ve seen a lot of comments that Duke can improve his draft stock by playing at PC another season.

Maybe these old fossils that make up a majority of the fans at the Dunk would benefit from Duke playing his senior season, but he wouldn’t.

Duke is right sized and athletic enough for his projected position, PG. His 39% from three and 79% from the line are good indicators that he will put in the work to be a good three point shooter in the pros.

Picks at the bottom of the second round are scoring $1m+ per season deals. Playing your senior year is idiotic if you’ve got what it takes to be an NBA player
You're right that PC fans are old curmudgeons for the most part. However, I disagree Duke is a PG in the NBA.

Yes, looking at his numbers he shot the 3 fairly well and FTs look decent. He's got the measurables. His handle is terrible and his court vision/awareness isn't great either. If he was a defender like Dunn was at PC than I'd say he could make it to his second contract.

The problem is, I don't know where Duke jumps off the page when compared to other late round guards. If you're picking at the end of the first you likely don't want a project who doesn't have superstar potential, so you take the Payton Pritchards of the world. He doesn't stack up better than an Immanuel Quickley coming out of school. Unfortunately for Duke I don't know that staying his senior year changes that...maybe his decision making and handle improve incrementally?

The other issue he's got is that there just aren't that many PG/SG types that get drafted. They are easy to find in the league so teams spend draft currently on wings and stretch bigs.

Long story short, I would have loved to have him back at PC, I would also love for him to stick in the league, however, I think he will likely be earning his paychecks in the G League and/or overseas.
 

TripleOT

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 4, 2007
3,969
My point, which many PC fans can’t comprehend, is this: If Duke isn’t an NBA player in the fall of 2021, he’s not going to be an NBA player in the fall of 2022, regardless of what he does in college games his senior year.
 

Mloaf71

lurker
Jul 13, 2005
297
You and I agree on that point.

the question is then, enjoy a senior year in front of fans and maybe play in a tourney (which he has never done) or declare for the draft and go in the 2nd round or undrafted (aka the Bentil route)?

Duke made his decision based on what’s important to him. No hard feelings, wish him the best and hope he sticks and is all NBA one day. Only helps future recruiting.
 

HomeRunBaker

bet squelcher
SoSH Member
Jan 15, 2004
20,092
My 2 cents fwiw:

* Durham is a huge get for this coming year. Agreed that with the number of transfers on the market, Cooley needs to snag two more with at least one of those being an impact guy similar to Durham.

* Duke is definitely not a PG at the next level. He’s a combo-2 whose game should thrive in a game with more spacing. I expect him to be a first-rounder. His workouts and combine should elevate him even if he isn’t there yet (which I feel he is). Sure he tailed off this year however this was a direct result of him being forced to play out of position at the 1 once Bynum went down. It may surprise some how his game expands at the next level but it won’t be a surprise to me.