Providence Friars 13-14
Finally moving past the Keno Davis era, the Providence Friars made great progress in their rebuilding effort by making the NIT Elite 8 losing to the eventual champion, Baylor. While Friar fans were certainly pleased with the team’s first post-season appearance since 2008, this team had the potential to be
playing in the NCAA Tournament if it weren’t for a few unlucky events. Kris Dunn started the trend by tearing a labrum in July leaving him without any preseason preparation. His first game action was mid-December and like every freshman it took him a handful of games to adjust. Next Ricardo Ledo was ruled ineligible by the NCAA. This was a huge blow to the team, but the biggest blow was losing star PG Vincent Council for the first half of the season due to a hamstring tear. Even when Council returned in January, he was still hobbled and had lost all of his quickness and explosion. Oh and did I mention Bryce Cotton played the whole season with a torn meniscus? The Friars hope to move past all of the injuries in 13-14 and here is my preseason assessment.
PG Kris Dunn- Dunn spent last year as a do it all glue guy. He had games with double digit rebounds, assists, and points throughout the season and has potential to even record some triple doubles next season. Dunn was excellent getting into the lane and finishing with his right, but struggled significantly with his left which may be due to his shoulder injury. Dunn had a decent 3pt stroke, but his mid range and off the dribble shooting was extremely inconsistent. Dunn’s main impact was on the defensive end where he guarded the opposing teams best player. He shut down the 6’3’’ Ryan Arcidiacono as well as the 6’9’’ Victor Rudd. Dunn had his most impressive defensive performances later in the season totally shutting down Jerian Grant and Cashmere Wright. He also recorded a game saving block on Shabazz Napier. Dunn will breakout in 13-14 and establish himself as the best PG in the Big East. 11pg 5rpg 7apg 3spg
SG Bryce Cotton- No player has improved more in a career than Bryce Cotton so I cannot wait to see his senior season. Cotton lead the Big East in scoring on one knee but faded down the stretch going cold in pivotal games vs UConn and Cincinnati. Cotton is great in pick and roll and can finish over bigger players, but he is most valuable hitting perimeter shots coming off screens. He is also very dangerous spotting up in transition where he always seems to know where to go to get open looks. Due to his size, 6’1’’, Cotton can struggle defensively at times, but he is an overall solid defender. Cotton also has freakish athleticism which is shown through finishing lobs off back screens. His motor is non stop; Cotton has played the whole game every game for the last two years for the most part. Cotton may not lead the Big East in scoring again but he is the most important part of the friar offense and should have a great year. 18ppg 3apg
SF Tyler Harris- Harris is the only different starter from last season and is surrounded with intrigue. Harris has excellent size for a three at 6’9’’ and is a big time outside shooter. He can also use his size to score with his back to the basket which adds versatility to the offense. One concern with Harris is that he may be too slow to guard 3’s and too weak to guard 4’s, but hopefully he used his redshirt year to address that. Harris will have three years of eligibility left, but struggled to find time on the court in his freshman season at NCST. Personally, I think that was attributed to CJ Leslie in front of him. I think Harris should score between 7-9ppg and be an important threat in the offense.
PF LaDontae Henton- Henton struggled to find his stride in 12-13 but hopes to regain it this year. In the
beginning of the season, he tried to do too much and experienced a year long shooting slump. He shot the ball very well his freshman season so we know he is capable of hitting outside shots, but he struggled this season. Henton, even when struggling, is essential to the team due to his workman like approach. Despite being 6’6’’ Henton has been among the Big East leaders in rebounding and fights for every rebound which is invaluable. He also led the BE in free throw percentage in Big East play. I think Henton will regain his shooting stroke and have a more efficient Junior Campaign. I envision 13ppg and 7 rpg.
C Kadeem Batts- Batts won the most improved player award in the Big East by dominating opposing big men. There were games where Kadeem simply could not be stopped as he showed off his array of post moves. Batts has consistent range out to 18 feet and owns an automatic elbow jumper. His low post moves were surprisingly improved from last season as he showed consistency with jump hooks with both hands. Batts often struggled when double teamed, but has shown flashes off being a great post passer. On the defensive end, Batts took many charges but was not a great rebounder for his 6’9’’ size. He also provides little to no shot blocking but plays very hard and runs the floor well. Batts should put up 15ppg and 8rpg and hopefully improve as a post defender.
Bench (In order):
Brandon Austin PG/SG/SF- This versatile freshman should add a scoring punch off the bench from day one. He has drawn comparisons to Will Barton. 7ppg 2rpg 2apg
Carson Desrosiers C- Word on the street is that Desrosiers is soft for a 7’1’’ center but he is extremely skilled. He owns a high bball IQ and is a great passer from the high post. His shooting also extends beyond the three point line. Desrosiers main talent is blocking shots; he was among the ACC leaders in blocked shots as a sophomore. 5ppg 4rpg 1.5bpg
Rodney Bullock SF/PF- High upside freshman with potential to be a Jeff Green style player. Good ball handler and three point shooter, but stands out as a rebounder. Supposedly he had a 30 rebound game in HS and won player of the year in Virginia over Cat Barber and Troy Williams.
Lee Goldsbrough PF/C- Goldsbrough had some great games this season where he made great defensive plays and hit open jump shots. He is a reliable reserve.
Josh Fortune SG/SF- Fortune had a great start to his freshman season before he hit a wall. After a 5/5 3pt effort vs Nova he only hit a handful of threes the rest of the season. Hopefully the sharpshooter can regain his early season form.
Ted Bancroft SF- The former walk-on had a great 12-13 where he provided legitimate minutes as a defender and rebounder. He is a a D1 caliber player with the hustle and work ethic of a walk on.
Brice Kofane PF- Has struggled significantly over the past two years and may be over his head at PC. Very foul prone and useless on offense.
PC is still recruiting to fill one scholarship with a transfer who has to sit out a season. Some names thrown around include: Joe Coleman(Minnesota), Myke Henry(Illinois), Kyle Vinales(CCSU)
Overall, I think PC should make the NCAA tournament as a 7-9 seed and finish third in the Big East.