The new season is just days away, and with that brings a shmorgishborg of previews, predictions, projections, and top 10 lists. Everywhere you look, you can find BIG EAST predictions placing the Providence Friars in the bottom 4, or a snarky comment about the lack of defense. I would be batsh*t insane to try to dispute any of this, because well, it’s all completely deserved. What I will try to do here is inform Friartown that all is not doom and gloom, and there actually are things to get excited about this year. Don’t worry, Friarblog won’t get all FOX News on you and only give you one side. We’ll go over the stuff to worry about in another part. So sit back in your snuggie, and get pumped for the Friars 2010-11 season.
Let’s get to it after the jump!
The New England Crown
Jeff Goodman of FoxSports.com and Andy Glockner of SI were chatting via Twitter before the URI/Pittsburgh game on Monday. Here was an interesting part of the exchange.
The Friars will most likely not have the best record out of the 21 Division I teams in New England, or even remotely close to being the best team. However, PC will get a crack at five out of conference NE teams (CCSU, Northeastern, URI, Brown, and Boston College) in a row in late November / early December. The URI game looms large as always, but this year it is at the DUNK. We all know it doesn’t matter who has the most talented team when those two clash. Throw in a game at Storrs against UConn in mid-February, and PC can see how they stack against the best in the region. Several very tough games for the Friars no doubt, but hey apparently it won’t be saying much if they can win — so why not?
PC4VC (To steal from future Friar Markus Crider (who uses the Twitter hashtag #PC4MC)
When I was a senior at Providence College, I was fortunate enough to see Ryan Gomes play (when I wasn’t sitting in garbage at a slum lord ridden house on Radcliffe Avenue) when he was just a freshman. He wasn’t completely dominant yet — and didn’t quite yet develop the skill to get Jim Calhoun to drop F bombs — but you could just tell there was something there. He always found a way to get a rebound that lead to an easy putback.
Last year I got the same feeling when watching Vincent Council throughout the year. His ability to take his man off the dribble and dish to his teammates was an extremely refreshing thing to see at the point guard position for the Friars. Council’s 10 PPG and 4.5 assists per game were even almost as impressive as Gomes’ 13.8/7.8 RPG when he was a frosh. It might be crazy to think Council can have the kind of career Ryan did in a Friar uniform, but he has the skill and potential to head in the right direction. I will surely enjoy every no-look assist for the next three years.
The returning players should be VERY FRESH
No, not fresh as in The Fresh Prince of Bell-Air (one of the greatest shows of all TIME), but fresh as in not tired as a result of half-assing it on the defensive end — and not taking very many shots. This will be no surprise to anyone who watched any five minute stretch of PC Basketball last year, but Greedy Peterson took 136 more shots than the 2nd most on the team (Sharaud Curry). Peterson’s 500 shot attempts was good for 24th in the entire nation (can you imagine that many players took MORE shots than Greedy?!?), and 5th in the BIG EAST. Basically, when he was out on the court he took a shot slighlty more than 30% of the time.
The #12 Jersey Has Been Resurrected.
Aside from Ryan Gomes, my other All-TIme favorite Friar was John Linehan. Linehan was on the team for all four years that I attended PC (although he missed most of the 1999-00 season with an injury), and was simply the best defender pound for pound that I’ve ever watched on Providence. Every coach around the BIG EAST couldn’t wait for him to graduate, as he was a constant “pest” racking up steals and causing havoc.
Since Linehan graduated in 2002, only two Friars have donned the #12 again — Ray Cross and Luke Burchett, who were both walk-ons that combined for a total of 19 field goals attempted in their career. This season, highly touted freshman Gerard Coleman will suit up as number 12. Coleman is a lanky scorer who has been described as a potential lock down defender. It’s a great omen in my mind that Coleman will take the #12, and hopefully embiggen the noble defensive spirit of John Linehan. The Friars will surely need it in order to begin to turn around their defensive woes.
Oh, and it’s also great because it makes the jersey hanging in my office cube relevant again!
A Chance to Stick it to St. John’s
Woh, what did the Johnnie’s ever do to us? And Friarblog, didn’t you grow up rooting for The Red Men?
Yes, I grew up on the old BIG EAST and idolized Chris Mullin and Mark Jackson. But you know what? Even though I watch the Back the Future Trilogy whenever it is on TV (despite also having the collector’s edition DVDs), it’s not the 80’s anymore. I became a Friar fan for life when I stepped on campus in the fall of ‘98.
Frankly, I’m getting a little sick continually hearing about St. John’s and Steve Lavin. I will admit, there is a definite huge jealousy monster rearing it’s ugly head. St. John’s is in a similar situation that PC was in two years ago when Keno Davis first arrived. However, our experienced and senior laden team happened to play in a year where the BIG EAST was completely stacked. This year, Lavin has a good chance getting the Red Storm back into the NCAA Tournament with the BEAST being considered “down”. So yes, I am bitter and jealous in that regard. It will just make it that much better to beat them at the Dunk on 1/1/11. Do it for Geoff McDermott, Jonathan Kale, Jeff Xavier, Weyinmi Efejuku, and Randall Hanke! And hey, if our season does go to $h*t, we can all laugh come Bubble Talk in March as they are saddled with “BAD LOSS – @ Providence”. Muhahahaha.
“Cox Sports’ newest program is Friars All Access, which debuts in January.. Where Inside Friartown looked at each of the mens and womens sports programs at Providence College, the Friars All Access show will focus strictly on PC’s mens basketball program.
On each show, host Kristina Akra will talk with PC’s Head Basketball Coach Keno Davis about the progress of his team and their standing in the Big East Conference. ”
Here she is pictured below.
Marshon’s 1,000 Points
I’m not sure if 1,000 points really means as much as it did in the past, given how many games are played in a season nowadays. Geoff McDermott, Randall Hanke, Sharaud Curry, Weyinmi Efejuku, and Jeff Xavier were all able to reach the 1,000 point plateau because they got so much playing time from the very start. Marshon Brooks only scored 62 points as a freshman, but totaled 779 over the last two seasons. The senior will need a mere 159 points to become the 43rd Friar to score 1,000. He should be able to accomplish this late in OOC play, barring any more ankle injuries.
It’s been more than 5 years since a European player suited up for the Friars, and to be honest I’ve missed it. After having three players at the same time for most of the first half of the decade (Chris Anrin, Maris Laksa, and Tuuka Kotti), Tuuka was the last one to play after the PC got demolished by West Virginia in the BIG EAST Tournament in March of ‘05. Those guys had their warts and took their fair share of fan criticism, but they had their moments when used as proper role players.
This season freshman Lee Goldsbrough comes from over the pond via Newcastle, England. Goldsbrough is 6”9’ and 220 pounds, likes British Sunday Lunch, the Miami Heat, and Newcastle United from the English Premier League. It’s not clear right now if we will actually get to see Goldsbrough this season, since it is possible that Keno will red shirt him. If we do, he has the potential to be a decent big man shooter (with an awesome accent) off the bench. Plus, there is the added bonus of him potentially playing at the same time as Ray Hall. We MUST come up with a nickname for the combo. Get crackin’ folks.
No More Scottie Reynolds and Lazar Hayward!!!
Unless you are a big D-League supporter (specifically the Springfield Armor (?!) ) or a Minnesota Timberwolves fan, Friar fans will be happy to never see Scottie Reynolds Reynolds or Lazar Hayward on the court. In 20 games spread out over the last 8 years, Reynolds and Hayward combined to average roughly 87 points a game against Providence. It’s pretty easy to score points…when…YOU NEVER MISS ANY THREES.
Ray Hall’s Redemption
Ray Hall’s best game in a Friar uniform came on January 31st, 2008 against Notre Dame when a big home win streak was on the line for the Irish. The big man went up against the big goon Luke Harangody, and scored 10 points and pulled down 7 rebounds. Unfortunately, Big Ray built himself a nice brick house at the foul line (2-10). The Friars couldn’t close out the game, Geoff McDermott had a costly turnover (shocking eh?) that allowed the Irish to tie at the end of regulation, and Notre Dame prevailed in OT.
Hall missed the following season with an injury that was supposed to be career ending. What the average Friar fan does not know was that the only way for him to ever get back on the court was to preserve him for 50 years so that the technology required could be invented. Yes folks, Ray Hall is a sophisticated half robot, sent from the future to change the destiny for a basketball team in need. That game will be Wednesday, February 23rd against Notre Dame. Even Ken Pomeroy projects it. Adjusted offensive efficiency, pace, rebounding percentage, half robot sent from the future. It’s all in his formula.
BONUS REASON #11: MR POTATO HEAD NIGHT!
Mr. Potato Head Night at the Louisville game on Saturday, January 22. The first 2,000 fans will receive an Exclusive Friar Mr. Potato Head. Game time is 5:00 p.m. Doors open at 4:00 p.m. Get there early to make sure you are one of the first 2,000 fans through the turnstiles.
I want this so so bad. I don’t know why exactly, but I do.
ENJOY THE SEASON EVERYONE!