2023-24 Providence College Hoops: Out on a Limb with Kim

CouchsideSteve

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Apr 16, 2013
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Norwalk, CT
Where to begin? Last season was a tale of two cities; it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Pick your parable. What I remember most, is on an unseasonably warm weekend in February, my wife and I were walking around Washington, DC, marveling at the charms of the city. The cherry blossoms were out early. We had plans to attend a basketball game at noon that Sunday. Little did we know, somewhere in our vicinity, Ed Cooley and his wife were having a similar experience – the difference being, it was only a bit of escapism for me.

I’m not mad at Ed Cooley. It would be childish and immature to hold another person’s career ambitions against them. But I did lose a lot of respect for him in the way he handled the defection to Georgetown. Providence had an excellent team into late February (including a 12-4 start to conference play), with designs on a second consecutive Sweet 16 run. Those are rare in these parts and not to be taken lightly. The Georgetown rumors seemed far-fetched initially, but grew louder and louder. By the time we witnessed the Friars getting blown out by Seton Hall on the final day of the Big East regular season, it seemed like something was up. Drawing eventual National Champions UConn in the first round of the Big East tournament, Providence absolutely wilted in the first half – and only by way of a spirited second half comeback (which ultimately fell short) were they able to save their March Madness aspirations, squeaking in as an 11 seed.

After a first round tilt against Kentucky was announced, Cooley pretended like he hadn’t heard the rumors. Huh? All he needed to do on Selection Sunday – all he needed to do in the preceding month – was say “I’m under contract as the head coach of the Providence Friars and plan to be here for the long-term.” Easy. Neutralize the distraction, explain your change of heart later. Coaches do this all the time; but he chose to let the distraction fester. And fester, it did.

I was there in Greensboro, NC as the Friars fell to Kentucky. A talented team, out with a whimper. A few days later, Ed Cooley left. And it sure seemed in the moment that Providence College basketball would be facing a multi-year setback. New athletic director Steve Napolillio, thrust into the most important decision of his career, showed public defiance and galvanized fans. The coaching search quickly honed in on former Mizzou star, (briefly) NBA player, and George Mason coach Kim English.

The immediate aftermath was rough. Recruits decommitted and key players entered the transfer portal. Yikes, we all thought. But then a funny thing happened: English’s charm offensive started working. He challenged the talented rising Sophomore Jayden Pierre to a game of one-on-one, which he streamed on Instagram. The joke was that if Kim won, Jayden would take his name out of the portal. Allegedly, Kim won easily. Then Corey Floyd announced he was staying; Pierre followed suit; national top 40 recruit Garwey Dual re-committed; and finally, the stars of last season – Bryce Hopkins and Devan Carter – announced they’d be back. Whoa!

So here we sit, a week from the new season tipping off, with a team that’s pretty darn good. And a coach who is young, cool, and forward thinking. Let’s go.
  • Projected Starting Five: PG - Jayden Pierre (SO); Wing - Corey Floyd (rSO); Wing - Devan Carter (JR); Forward - Bryce Hopkins (JR); Big - Josh Oduro (GR)
  • Other Key Contributors: G - Garwey Dual (FR); Wing - Ticket Gaines (GR); Big - Rafael Castro (rSO)
  • Rounding Out the Roster: G - Justyn Fernandez (SO); Wing - Rich Barron (FR); Forward - Donovan Santoro (FR); Forward - Luke Fonts (JR); Forward - Kieran O-Haire (JR); Big - Eli DeLaurier (FR)
Notable Departures: G - Alyn Breed (Disciplinary/Transfer); G - Noah Locke (Graduation); Big - Ed Croswell (Graduation); Big - Clif Moore (Graduation)

Key Questions Entering the Season
  1. How good is Kim English at the Xs and Os of the job? Clearly he can relate to players; we’re pretty sure he can recruit. But how good is he really at game-planning and the tactical aspects of the job, with only two seasons in the HC chair under his belt? It’s fair to ask – particularly in a conference with so many outstanding coaches. Rick Pitino, Dan Hurley, Sean Miller, Greg McDermott, Ed Cooley… there aren’t many easy matchups in the Big East.
  2. Do they have enough size? Oduro is listed at 6’9 and 240lbs. While he’s a tough and wily vet, he’s going to be asked to guard very skilled 7-footers in Kalkbrenner of Creighton and Clingan of UConn. Behind Oduro is a talented third-year player, Rafael Castro, whose nickname is “Slim" -- not the most reassuring. Oduro and Castro are going to need to need to spread the floor, or we might be looking at some small-ball lineups featuring Hopkins at the 5, which no one wants to see (least of all, Hopkins).
  3. Aside from Dual, is there an upside surprise from one of the Freshman? The crop of incoming Freshman features one highly coveted recruit (Dual) and three other much less heralded prospects. Typically that means you won’t be seeing much of the latter group in Year 1. However, with the roster looking a bit thin, DeLaurier or even Barron might be pressed into action sooner than expected. Particularly with talented transfer Justyn Fernandez expected to redshirt while rehabbing a knee injury. You don’t need to look back too far to find an example of a lightly recruited player who contributed as a true Freshman (e.g., Alyn Breed in 2020).
  4. Speaking of Garway Dual… what do we have there? The tools and potential are tantalizing, with some mock drafts projecting him to be a one-and-done lottery pick. To me, that feels like a stretch; but if he emerges as the third scoring option (after Hopkins and Carter), that would be a huge development.
  5. Can they defend all five positions? Devan Carter is as good of a perimeter defender as there is in the Big East and Corey Floyd is an excellent on-ball defender. Beyond that? I see a lot of defensive question marks – coming from a team who wasn’t great defensively last year by the metrics. How much more can be expected of Hopkins, while shouldering the load on offense?; Pierre and Oduro are both undersized; Gaines (not to mention, Oduro) is jumping up a level competitively from George Mason; Freshman aren’t often defensive stalwarts. The Friars could be deceptively leaky on D, even with what will surely be a lot of highlight reel plays from Carter. A lot of that comes back to English and his scheming abilities.
So What Can We Expect?
KenPom has the Friars at #54 nationally and #6 in the Big East, which is roughly in line with where the analytics pegged most Cooley teams of recent vintage. Those team generally outperformed due to superior coaching. The media consensus puts the Friars anywhere from #4 to #8 in the conference. All of which is to say... this is a good team. Hopkins is a preseason third team All-American and Carter is an all-conference talent. That’s a strong 1-2 punch, and there are plenty of reasons to dream on Pierre’s development and Dual’s potential, making for a really dynamic drive-and-kick offense. It should be enough to make the NCAA tournament.

It could certainly go wrong. The squad is thin, the coach is unproven, and the defense could be bad. But it’s going to be interesting – and, as ever, I look forward to watching.
 

yeahlunchbox

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Jan 21, 2008
838
As a URI fan here is my take on English after watching him for two years at George Mason. He seemed very good at bringing in talent but falling very short once the players were on campus. Only going 11-7 and 5th in last year's putrid A10 should be a giant red flag. Many people on the URI message board see a lot of similarities between him and David Cox.
 

Deathofthebambino

Drive Carefully
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Apr 12, 2005
42,420
Where to begin? Last season was a tale of two cities; it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Pick your parable. What I remember most, is on an unseasonably warm weekend in February, my wife and I were walking around Washington, DC, marveling at the charms of the city. The cherry blossoms were out early. We had plans to attend a basketball game at noon that Sunday. Little did we know, somewhere in our vicinity, Ed Cooley and his wife were having a similar experience – the difference being, it was only a bit of escapism for me.

I’m not mad at Ed Cooley. It would be childish and immature to hold another person’s career ambitions against them. But I did lose a lot of respect for him in the way he handled the defection to Georgetown. Providence had an excellent team into late February (including a 12-4 start to conference play), with designs on a second consecutive Sweet 16 run. Those are rare in these parts and not to be taken lightly. The Georgetown rumors seemed far-fetched initially, but grew louder and louder. By the time we witnessed the Friars getting blown out by Seton Hall on the final day of the Big East regular season, it seemed like something was up. Drawing eventual National Champions UConn in the first round of the Big East tournament, Providence absolutely wilted in the first half – and only by way of a spirited second half comeback (which ultimately fell short) were they able to save their March Madness aspirations, squeaking in as an 11 seed.

After a first round tilt against Kentucky was announced, Cooley pretended like he hadn’t heard the rumors. Huh? All he needed to do on Selection Sunday – all he needed to do in the preceding month – was say “I’m under contract as the head coach of the Providence Friars and plan to be here for the long-term.” Easy. Neutralize the distraction, explain your change of heart later. Coaches do this all the time; but he chose to let the distraction fester. And fester, it did.

I was there in Greensboro, NC as the Friars fell to Kentucky. A talented team, out with a whimper. A few days later, Ed Cooley left. And it sure seemed in the moment that Providence College basketball would be facing a multi-year setback. New athletic director Steve Napolillio, thrust into the most important decision of his career, showed public defiance and galvanized fans. The coaching search quickly honed in on former Mizzou star, (briefly) NBA player, and George Mason coach Kim English.

The immediate aftermath was rough. Recruits decommitted and key players entered the transfer portal. Yikes, we all thought. But then a funny thing happened: English’s charm offensive started working. He challenged the talented rising Sophomore Jayden Pierre to a game of one-on-one, which he streamed on Instagram. The joke was that if Kim won, Jayden would take his name out of the portal. Allegedly, Kim won easily. Then Corey Floyd announced he was staying; Pierre followed suit; national top 40 recruit Garwey Dual re-committed; and finally, the stars of last season – Bryce Hopkins and Devan Carter – announced they’d be back. Whoa!

So here we sit, a week from the new season tipping off, with a team that’s pretty darn good. And a coach who is young, cool, and forward thinking. Let’s go.
  • Projected Starting Five: PG - Jayden Pierre (SO); Wing - Corey Floyd (rSO); Wing - Devan Carter (JR); Forward - Bryce Hopkins (JR); Big - Josh Oduro (GR)
  • Other Key Contributors: G - Garwey Dual (FR); Wing - Ticket Gaines (GR); Big - Rafael Castro (rSO)
  • Rounding Out the Roster: G - Justyn Fernandez (SO); Wing - Rich Barron (FR); Forward - Donovan Santoro (FR); Forward - Luke Fonts (JR); Forward - Kieran O-Haire (JR); Big - Eli DeLaurier (FR)
Notable Departures: G - Alyn Breed (Disciplinary/Transfer); G - Noah Locke (Graduation); Big - Ed Croswell (Graduation); Big - Clif Moore (Graduation)

Key Questions Entering the Season
  1. How good is Kim English at the Xs and Os of the job? Clearly he can relate to players; we’re pretty sure he can recruit. But how good is he really at game-planning and the tactical aspects of the job, with only two seasons in the HC chair under his belt? It’s fair to ask – particularly in a conference with so many outstanding coaches. Rick Pitino, Dan Hurley, Sean Miller, Greg McDermott, Ed Cooley… there aren’t many easy matchups in the Big East.
  2. Do they have enough size? Oduro is listed at 6’9 and 240lbs. While he’s a tough and wily vet, he’s going to be asked to guard very skilled 7-footers in Kalkbrenner of Creighton and Clingan of UConn. Behind Oduro is a talented third-year player, Rafael Castro, whose nickname is “Slim" -- not the most reassuring. Oduro and Castro are going to need to need to spread the floor, or we might be looking at some small-ball lineups featuring Hopkins at the 5, which no one wants to see (least of all, Hopkins).
  3. Aside from Dual, is there an upside surprise from one of the Freshman? The crop of incoming Freshman features one highly coveted recruit (Dual) and three other much less heralded prospects. Typically that means you won’t be seeing much of the latter group in Year 1. However, with the roster looking a bit thin, DeLaurier or even Barron might be pressed into action sooner than expected. Particularly with talented transfer Justyn Fernandez expected to redshirt while rehabbing a knee injury. You don’t need to look back too far to find an example of a lightly recruited player who contributed as a true Freshman (e.g., Alyn Breed in 2020).
  4. Speaking of Garway Dual… what do we have there? The tools and potential are tantalizing, with some mock drafts projecting him to be a one-and-done lottery pick. To me, that feels like a stretch; but if he emerges as the third scoring option (after Hopkins and Carter), that would be a huge development.
  5. Can they defend all five positions? Devan Carter is as good of a perimeter defender as there is in the Big East and Corey Floyd is an excellent on-ball defender. Beyond that? I see a lot of defensive question marks – coming from a team who wasn’t great defensively last year by the metrics. How much more can be expected of Hopkins, while shouldering the load on offense?; Pierre and Oduro are both undersized; Gaines (not to mention, Oduro) is jumping up a level competitively from George Mason; Freshman aren’t often defensive stalwarts. The Friars could be deceptively leaky on D, even with what will surely be a lot of highlight reel plays from Carter. A lot of that comes back to English and his scheming abilities.
So What Can We Expect?
KenPom has the Friars at #54 nationally and #6 in the Big East, which is roughly in line with where the analytics pegged most Cooley teams of recent vintage. Those team generally outperformed due to superior coaching. The media consensus puts the Friars anywhere from #4 to #8 in the conference. All of which is to say... this is a good team. Hopkins is a preseason third team All-American and Carter is an all-conference talent. That’s a strong 1-2 punch, and there are plenty of reasons to dream on Pierre’s development and Dual’s potential, making for a really dynamic drive-and-kick offense. It should be enough to make the NCAA tournament.

It could certainly go wrong. The squad is thin, the coach is unproven, and the defense could be bad. But it’s going to be interesting – and, as ever, I look forward to watching.
As I say every year, thank you for the work you do in these threads. You're pretty much my news source for my PC basketball season.

Opening tip today against Columbia. Let's go Friars.
 

CouchsideSteve

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My pleasure, guys!

The Friars cruised to victory on Monday night over Columbia 78-59, perfectly capping the 18.5pt spread. Here are a few reactions:

- Ticket Gaines started over Corey Floyd. Gaines played well, and if Floyd logs 30+ mpg then it’s no harm… but Floyd absolutely *has* to be on the floor in crunch time for defensive purposes

- Good minutes/production from Castro, which is very encouraging

- Dual rolled his ankle and played only 5min, which is *not* encouraging, but Kim wasn’t super alarmed — we need him back for Wisconsin next Tue

- Barron was the first Freshman to play, aside from Dual. Interesting skillet but the young man is not in shape. He needs to go on the Ed Croswell training regimen.

- 77 possessions: This team plays with way more pace than we’re accustomed to seeing under Cooley

- Announced attendance of 11k: The atmosphere remains one of the best in college basketball.

Tune-up on Saturday at 6pm against UW Milwaukee, before hosting the real Wisconsin.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Jan 15, 2004
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- 77 possessions: This team plays with way more pace than we’re accustomed to seeing under Cooley
Columbia played above avg pace last year and Milwaukee was one of the faster in the entire country (Top 5%) so the contrast against Wisconsin, who was in the bottom 2% last year will provide a completely different look. Something to watch.
 

Humphrey

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Aug 3, 2010
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For those who hold grudges, Cooley lost yesterday to Holy Cross; first HC win against GU since 1975.

The winning coach, Dave Paulsen, was replaced at GMason by none other than Kim English.
 

Pepper03

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Apr 27, 2007
242
Thanks for this! Very excited about the new season and happy they beat Wisconsin last night!

HC loss did make me chuckle. I don't hate Cooley I don't like how he left though.
 

CouchsideSteve

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A total dismantling of Wisconsin on Tuesday night — much more so than the 72-59 score would suggest. The Friars were at >85% win probability from the first half U8 timeout onward. One of the most encouraging out-of-conference victories in memory.

The Friars travel to the Bahamas now for a coin flip game against a good Kansas State team. Depending on the outcome, they’ll play Georgia or Miami on Sunday afternoon. A weekend sweep would put them into the Top 25 and strongly burnish the NCAA tournament resume before the calendar turns to December.

People saw Garway Dual’s potential in the win over Milwaukee last Saturday. Just to underline the point of how special he is, Sam Veceine of The Athletic has him slotted at #10 in his latest NBA mock draft. Here’s an excerpt:

“I’ve been higher than consensus on Dual throughout these early stages of the draft process due to his size and length at the lead guard spot. He has a creative mindset with real ballhandling shiftiness, which allow him to be a legitimate point guard and passer. On top of that, he has a chance to be one of the best on-ball lead guard defenders in college hoops.”​

Exciting times in Friartown!
 

CouchsideSteve

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Friars earned a split in Baha Mar, Bahamas, dropping a game in overtime to Kansas State on Friday before bouncing back to win short-handed against Georgia. If you had told me preseason they’d take 2 of the last 3, I’d have been happy — but they were damn close to a sweep.

Oduro and Castro played well all weekend, as did Carter. But Hopkins isn’t quite right, and a (hopefully short term) injury to Pierre and losing Dual to an ejection showed the depth issues are real — huge dropoff from the 7th man to the 8th in Rich Barron.

PS: Baha Mar is really fun, and if you have the chance, you should go

IMG_0818.jpgIMG_0819.jpg
 

HomeRunBaker

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Jan 15, 2004
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Any word on how long Dual's suspension is going to be? That haymaker sucker shot is sure to get him multiple games I would suspect.
 

Mloaf71

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Jul 13, 2005
648
Dual was lucky it was out of Conference so BE had no say. NCAA stays out of it beyond the mandatory 1 game. Let the decision to PC.

I think PC decided that it was retaliatory so a game is sufficient.
 

Mloaf71

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Friars 2 - state of Wisconsin 0
That was an impressive effort last night. When this team locks in on D, they are in the opposing teams shirt all night long. Combine that with the threes falling and this is a Top 15 team in the country.

On the flip side, we've seen the jekyll and hyde version where threes don't fall and they turn the ball over.

Continue making progress and this team could be a Problem come March!
 

Pmoose82

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Nov 28, 2003
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Friars 2 - state of Wisconsin 0
Don't forget they also beat Milwaukee. It's actually Friars 3, state of Wisconsin 0.

Great win last night. If they could have hit their free throws at the end, it would have been a 20+ point win. If they can improve their results on the road, this team could be dangerous.
 

Humphrey

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They're the kind of team that every year fucks me over in the NCAAs because I only see their Civic Center/Dunk/Amica games and they look unbelievable at home.
 

CouchsideSteve

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Sorry that I’ve been quiet lately, guys. So what’s happened since we last checked in?

The loss at Oklahoma was disappointing, if not somewhat expected, given that the Sooners are a very good (and currently undefeated) team. The Friars started out ice cold, battled back to take the lead early in the second half… and then collapsed to suffer a 21-point loss. Woof.

Subsequent to that, the team held serve at home against Brown and Sacred Heart – though the latter put up more of a fight than we would have hoped. Those games were mere appetizers to a huge, end to end domination of #6 Marquette at home last night to open Big East play. Providence wasn’t super efficient on offense, but the team is playing tremendous defense (in contrast to my pre-season prediction). They were the tougher, better-coached team – which is saying a lot against Shaka Smart’s Golden Eagles. A few player-level observations:
  • Rich Barron can play: I made light of his conditioning above, and it’s not exactly a combo guard’s ideal body, but he takes – and makes – really good shots. 64% eFG in limited but important utilization so far.
  • Garwey Dual is showing flashes of why he’s projected by some to be a lottery pick, with an impressive drive-and-dish offensive skillset, including 7 assists last night and zero turnovers.
  • Josh Oduro is better than I expected: He’s really crafty with his back to the basket and a decent passer – if he was 6’11” instead of 6’9”, he would probably be playing professionally right now (as opposed to taking a grad year with PC). Remains to be seen how he’ll fare against the bigs at UConn and Creighton but so far, so good.
    • Notably, Hopkins has played 10% of minutes at the 5 spot per KenPom, which I imagine will go up in conference play against smaller, more perimeter oriented teams
Bring on Butler this Saturday @ noon!
 

moretsyndrome

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Jan 24, 2006
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Sorry that I’ve been quiet lately, guys. So what’s happened since we last checked in?

The loss at Oklahoma was disappointing, if not somewhat expected, given that the Sooners are a very good (and currently undefeated) team. The Friars started out ice cold, battled back to take the lead early in the second half… and then collapsed to suffer a 21-point loss. Woof.

Subsequent to that, the team held serve at home against Brown and Sacred Heart – though the latter put up more of a fight than we would have hoped. Those games were mere appetizers to a huge, end to end domination of #6 Marquette at home last night to open Big East play. Providence wasn’t super efficient on offense, but the team is playing tremendous defense (in contrast to my pre-season prediction). They were the tougher, better-coached team – which is saying a lot against Shaka Smart’s Golden Eagles. A few player-level observations:
  • Rich Barron can play: I made light of his conditioning above, and it’s not exactly a combo guard’s ideal body, but he takes – and makes – really good shots. 64% eFG in limited but important utilization so far.
  • Garwey Dual is showing flashes of why he’s projected by some to be a lottery pick, with an impressive drive-and-dish offensive skillset, including 7 assists last night and zero turnovers.
  • Josh Oduro is better than I expected: He’s really crafty with his back to the basket and a decent passer – if he was 6’11” instead of 6’9”, he would probably be playing professionally right now (as opposed to taking a grad year with PC). Remains to be seen how he’ll fare against the bigs at UConn and Creighton but so far, so good.
    • Notably, Hopkins has played 10% of minutes at the 5 spot per KenPom, which I imagine will go up in conference play against smaller, more perimeter oriented teams
Bring on Butler this Saturday @ noon!
In the AMP. I have the only 3 Butler fans in the building right in front of me. Came out on fire but leveling off a bit
 

StuckOnYouk

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Jun 26, 2006
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As a UConn and Big East fan, this sucks. I enjoy seeing good games between each other and I like rooting for Big East teams come March Madness. This one is gonna hurt Providence.
 

Pepper03

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Apr 27, 2007
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I was at the game. You could tell the way everyone on the court was acting it was a serious injury. Poor kid I hope he makes a full recovery.

Friars started out looking good but then the center missed a lot of make-able shots. Overall the team looked out of sorts even before the injury.

A promising season now looks much less so. My daughter is a SHU alum and so I root for the Pirates most of the time but never against PC. It was a nice win for them. I’ve never heard such noise at a PC game especially in the second hit was a great atmosphere.
 

CouchsideSteve

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I was too gutted by the Hopkins injury to post during the week. Awful for Bryce, who by every account is a great kid. He is clearly a potential NBA player, but as a likely second round pick, the margins are very thin -- the injury will no doubt impact his prospects. I'm not going to speculate what his plans might be for next season.

The team that carries on will be competitive, but it's not an NCAA Tournament caliber squad without Hopkins. They'll pull a few upsets, because Devan Carter has elevated his game to be arguably the best player in the conference right now -- you saw what he's capable of against Creighton yesterday. But there isn't nearly enough depth, and Oduro is going to get eaten alive by the best big men in this league. The match-up with Kalbrenner was my pre-season prophesy come true.

I'll be watching and rooting hard. The kids deserve as much, and Devan Carter is a special player who will hear his name called in the NBA draft this June. But it's really about development from here: Jayden Pierre could be an above-average PG in this league; Corey Floyd, Jr. hasn't made the leap we hoped, but he's a very good defensive guard; Rafael Castro has emerged as a quality rotation option; it's hard not to like what Rich Barron has show in a small sample. Garway Dual belongs in a category of his own, and I'd be surprised to see him back, but who knows? Then, of course, there is Kim's development and maturation as a coach. Plenty to stay tuned for -- but ugh, this sucks.
 

Mloaf71

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I was too gutted by the Hopkins injury to post during the week. Awful for Bryce, who by every account is a great kid. He is clearly a potential NBA player, but as a likely second round pick, the margins are very thin -- the injury will no doubt impact his prospects. I'm not going to speculate what his plans might be for next season.

The team that carries on will be competitive, but it's not an NCAA Tournament caliber squad without Hopkins. They'll pull a few upsets, because Devan Carter has elevated his game to be arguably the best player in the conference right now -- you saw what he's capable of against Creighton yesterday. But there isn't nearly enough depth, and Oduro is going to get eaten alive by the best big men in this league. The match-up with Kalbrenner was my pre-season prophesy come true.

I'll be watching and rooting hard. The kids deserve as much, and Devan Carter is a special player who will hear his name called in the NBA draft this June. But it's really about development from here: Jayden Pierre could be an above-average PG in this league; Corey Floyd, Jr. hasn't made the leap we hoped, but he's a very good defensive guard; Rafael Castro has emerged as a quality rotation option; it's hard not to like what Rich Barron has show in a small sample. Garway Dual belongs in a category of his own, and I'd be surprised to see him back, but who knows? Then, of course, there is Kim's development and maturation as a coach. Plenty to stay tuned for -- but ugh, this sucks.
I’m not too far from here, however I think this is still a tourney team. The Wisconsin and Marquette wins aren’t going anywhere neither is the AMP home court advantage. The Georgia win is aging nicely as they are putting together a good season.

They’re going to have to steal a road game or two along the way from the St John’s, X, Nova group while sweeping Gtown/Depaul. That gets to 7 wins.

Can they win 4 of @Butler and the home schedule vs the top 8 of the conference to get to 11-9/20-11 going into the BET?

They will have to scrap and claw and win ugly to do it, but there were a few tourney years where Cooley’s teams won that way with less talent than this team still has.
 

HomeRunBaker

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I was too gutted by the Hopkins injury to post during the week. Awful for Bryce, who by every account is a great kid. He is clearly a potential NBA player, but as a likely second round pick, the margins are very thin -- the injury will no doubt impact his prospects. I'm not going to speculate what his plans might be for next season.

The team that carries on will be competitive, but it's not an NCAA Tournament caliber squad without Hopkins. They'll pull a few upsets, because Devan Carter has elevated his game to be arguably the best player in the conference right now -- you saw what he's capable of against Creighton yesterday. But there isn't nearly enough depth, and Oduro is going to get eaten alive by the best big men in this league. The match-up with Kalbrenner was my pre-season prophesy come true.

I'll be watching and rooting hard. The kids deserve as much, and Devan Carter is a special player who will hear his name called in the NBA draft this June. But it's really about development from here: Jayden Pierre could be an above-average PG in this league; Corey Floyd, Jr. hasn't made the leap we hoped, but he's a very good defensive guard; Rafael Castro has emerged as a quality rotation option; it's hard not to like what Rich Barron has show in a small sample. Garway Dual belongs in a category of his own, and I'd be surprised to see him back, but who knows? Then, of course, there is Kim's development and maturation as a coach. Plenty to stay tuned for -- but ugh, this sucks.
I think this is a tourney team IF Dual makes steady leaps thoughout the seasons. I am not very optimistic in his doing so as the college game doesn't really fit his skillset.
 

PC Drunken Friar

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After a really sucky couple of weeks...some good news.

Oswin Erhunmwunse has committed. I have seen him ranked as high as #17 and as low as #40. 6'9 Center from Connnecticut. Is a '25 but may reclassify and could play next year.
 

Pmoose82

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Nov 28, 2003
137
The big day is finally here with Cooley and Georgetown coming to town. I'm glad that the team has been able to right the ship a little bit after Hopkins tore his ACL, even if the wins were against DePaul and a depleted Seton Hall. Hopefully the crowd tomorrow manages to stay at the proverbial line without crossing it.
 

Humphrey

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 3, 2010
3,270
Hell of a game last night. What a shot by Carter to tie the ballgame. From over 30 feet, I'd say.
 

HomeRunBaker

bet squelcher
SoSH Member
Jan 15, 2004
31,272
Apparently Oduro is now a father and is currently on a flight scheduled to land in Indianapolis at 11:52am as he attempts to make the 2pm tip. What a day for him!!
 

CouchsideSteve

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Apr 16, 2013
442
Norwalk, CT
Regret that I haven’t checked in with more regular updates. I haven’t missed any of the PCBB action–just been a bit busy with work to post. Will drop some observations here, as the team sits squarely on the bubble with a big game @ Xavier upcoming on Wednesday night:
  • The Jan 24 win at Seton Hall is aging really well: What a gutty effort in hindsight, knowing how good the Pirates have turned out to be
  • The Cooley visit on Jan 27: What more can I say that hasn’t already been said? A total spectacle. I’ve been a season ticket holder for 10 seasons and probably attended ~100 games in that span. Most of the weekend conference games have been sellouts. But there are paper sellouts, and then there was the Georgetown game: 20min lines for a beer or to use the bathroom for pretty much the entire afternoon. No seats empty.
  • Very spirited efforts in the loss at UConn on Jan 31, as well as in the OT win hosting Creighton on Feb 7. But the trip to Nova in between may have been the worst of the last several years–an incompehensibly bad offensive performance.
  • A small miracle to have been in position to win on the road against Butler on Feb 10, missing Oduro. The Friars had an 86% win probability with 4:01 to play but coughed it up. The worst gut punch loss of the season.
So what has gone right for the team to be in position to make the tournament, despite missing the player (Bryce Hopkins) widely regarded to be their best for most of conference play?
  1. Devin Carter has elevated his game to a Superman level: He has basically taken his All-American defense and elite slashing ability, and paired it with Trae Young’s OU shooting range. He’s in the conversation for Big East player of the year and to be a June lottery pick.
  2. Contrary to my pre-season prediction, the overall defense has been very good: 18th in the nation per Ken Pom. Carter is obviously elite, but Gaines and Oduro have exceeded expectations. Garway Dual has been a mess offensively, but he has also been a very disruptive perimeter defender.
  3. Offensively, Josh Oduro has been outstanding, essentially matching Carter’s output in terms of utilization and eFG%.
  4. Kim can really coach: This team is impossibly thin when you consider the minutes being played by an unheralded true Freshman (Barron), an undersized back-up big who hardly played in 3 previous collegiate seasons (Castro), and an extremely raw NBA prospect who is afraid to shoot (Dual). The rotations are tricky, yet Kim is making it work.
The season finale against #1 UConn is a tall task, even at home against a team who will have clinched the regular season title by that point. So taking 3 of the next 4 in a stretch that includes @ Xavier, vs. Marquette, vs. Nova, and @ Georgetown feels like a must. From there, Providence will be in position to be in position as the Big East tournament tips off at MSG.

Friartown has plenty to believe in this February.
 

moretsyndrome

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 24, 2006
2,327
Pawtucket
Regret that I haven’t checked in with more regular updates. I haven’t missed any of the PCBB action–just been a bit busy with work to post. Will drop some observations here, as the team sits squarely on the bubble with a big game @ Xavier upcoming on Wednesday night:
  • The Jan 24 win at Seton Hall is aging really well: What a gutty effort in hindsight, knowing how good the Pirates have turned out to be
  • The Cooley visit on Jan 27: What more can I say that hasn’t already been said? A total spectacle. I’ve been a season ticket holder for 10 seasons and probably attended ~100 games in that span. Most of the weekend conference games have been sellouts. But there are paper sellouts, and then there was the Georgetown game: 20min lines for a beer or to use the bathroom for pretty much the entire afternoon. No seats empty.
  • Very spirited efforts in the loss at UConn on Jan 31, as well as in the OT win hosting Creighton on Feb 7. But the trip to Nova in between may have been the worst of the last several years–an incompehensibly bad offensive performance.
  • A small miracle to have been in position to win on the road against Butler on Feb 10, missing Oduro. The Friars had an 86% win probability with 4:01 to play but coughed it up. The worst gut punch loss of the season.
So what has gone right for the team to be in position to make the tournament, despite missing the player (Bryce Hopkins) widely regarded to be their best for most of conference play?
  1. Devin Carter has elevated his game to a Superman level: He has basically taken his All-American defense and elite slashing ability, and paired it with Trae Young’s OU shooting range. He’s in the conversation for Big East player of the year and to be a June lottery pick.
  2. Contrary to my pre-season prediction, the overall defense has been very good: 18th in the nation per Ken Pom. Carter is obviously elite, but Gaines and Oduro have exceeded expectations. Garway Dual has been a mess offensively, but he has also been a very disruptive perimeter defender.
  3. Offensively, Josh Oduro has been outstanding, essentially matching Carter’s output in terms of utilization and eFG%.
  4. Kim can really coach: This team is impossibly thin when you consider the minutes being played by an unheralded true Freshman (Barron), an undersized back-up big who hardly played in 3 previous collegiate seasons (Castro), and an extremely raw NBA prospect who is afraid to shoot (Dual). The rotations are tricky, yet Kim is making it work.
The season finale against #1 UConn is a tall task, even at home against a team who will have clinched the regular season title by that point. So taking 3 of the next 4 in a stretch that includes @ Xavier, vs. Marquette, vs. Nova, and @ Georgetown feels like a must. From there, Providence will be in position to be in position as the Big East tournament tips off at MSG.

Friartown has plenty to believe in this February.
Good recap. They’re all big from here on in. Things have been tough on the road but Xavier can be had. Need this one to avoid the dreaded “need to win a couple in MSG” scenario.
 

Mloaf71

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 13, 2005
648
That second half was no fun. Take care of Cooley and Co on Tuesday and either steal 1 from UConn at the AMP or make a run to the BET Semi's to have a shot.
 

CouchsideSteve

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Apr 16, 2013
442
Norwalk, CT
The Friars need to show well against Georgetown on the road tonight. BracketMatrix has us in just 38 of 104 expert brackets, so a loss would do irreversible damage to the resume. Beating the 8.5 point spread would also help against further erosion to already soft NET (62) and KenPom (59) rankings.
 

CouchsideSteve

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Apr 16, 2013
442
Norwalk, CT
Well, they did enough in the win at Georgetown.

10-point home underdogs against #2 UConn tonight. A win seals the fifth seed (and a first round bye) in the Big East tournament and *probably* seals an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament. But a tall task, of course.
 

Mloaf71

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 13, 2005
648
Can't wait until English get's some shooters on this roster in the coming years. The long scoring droughts are killer, Carter and Oduro did everything they could but can't play 5 on 2 against the best team in the country and expect a positive outcome.
 

CouchsideSteve

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Apr 16, 2013
442
Norwalk, CT
Extremely well-deserved for Devin Carter, who has elevated his draft stock more in a single season than any Friar in recent memory—essentially from late second rounder to the lottery, if current mock drafts are to be believed.

After the predictable butt-kicking at the hands of UConn to close out the regular season, the team bounced back with a comfortable win over Georgetown to open the Big East tournament. Playing Creighton at 7 tonight as 7.5pt an underdog. Winning is the difference between an enjoyable, hardluck NIT team vs. a story of conquering adversity to make the NCAA tournament. Feeling really good about Year 1 of Kim English regardless.