Watson Free Throw Seals Road W vs DePaul
This year when the Friars made their annual trip to DePaul it had a bit of a different feel. This season DePaul (12-3) actually has a great squad and while they couldn’t fully fill Wintrust Arena it certainly wasn’t the graveyard we’ve played at in years previous. DePaul is a well-built team this year led by the inside/outside duo in Paul Reed and former Kansas guard Charlie Moore. Paul Reed was as good as advertised as he was able to hit a flurry of mid-range jumpers and was a terror on the glass en route to a 24 pt 13 rebound performance. Charlie Moore, on the other hand, was not, as he struggled to get into a rhythm offensively and was held to 11 points (4/12, 1/5 3pt) and a game-high 5 turnovers. During the broadcast, they brought up Charlie Moore’s stats in wins vs losses and it was pretty obvious the Friars shutting him down was key to securing the victory.
As I am sure you all know by now this highly contested game was determined in the final moments when the officials called a bogus foul on Kalif Young as Jalen Coleman-Lands was shooting a 3 with DePaul down that margin. The former Fighting Illini calmly knocked down all 3 to knot the game up leaving the Friars with the final possession. After a contested Maliek White drive was off the mark Nate Watson was able to secure the offensive rebound and get fouled with 0.7 seconds left, thankfully he went 1/2 and the Friars won. This was a big victory for the Friars going forward for two reasons. The obvious is starting conference play 2-0 which is great but the Friars were able to win a game where Alpha Diallo didn’t do much of anything. They received massive contributions from the other seniors in White, Holt, and Pipkins which is crucial if this team wants to turn the season around. The win is also big because it marked the first time all season the Friars were able to execute down the stretch in a close game. While it wasn’t pretty I guess they technically coughed it up late allowing DePaul to tie it but to me, that was due to a bull shit call and in reality, I felt the Friars made enough plays needed to get the win.
Friars Finish First Big East Road Trip With Visit to Marquette
Riding a season-high 3-game win streak the Friars (9-6, 2-0) will now focus their attention on the Marquette Golden Eagles. Marquette (11-3, 1-1) are led by the nation’s leading scorer Markus Howard (25.8 ppg) who we are all very familiar with. The senior guard is coming off a 29 point performance in a win against Villanova, so the Friars will hope to catch the Golden Eagles resting on their laurels Tuesday. For me, the key to beating Marquette isn’t shutting Howard down but rather making Howard beat Marquette. The Friars need to get him to settle for 3s and try to do too much on the offensive end, the way they do that is shutting down the pieces around him in Sacar Anim and Kobey McEwan. I watched Marquette play at Creighton last week and there was a sequence when Howard checks in to the game after sitting for a bit in foul trouble with his team down late in the first half. He proceeded to take Marquette’s next 7 shots and granted he was able to make the first 3 shots, he clanged the next 4 and it seemed that no other Golden Eagle touched the ball in those 7 straight possessions. If we can get Howard to try to carry the load himself we could be able to sneak out a victory. Although I will say that playing in Milwaukee has always been a house of horrors for the Friars, so I think they end up dropping this one but if we end up getting this one all I got to say is pray for the Butler Bulldogs. The 6th ranked team in the nation comes to the Dunk Friday night at 9pm and if the Friars return home 3-0 in league play, Butler has zero chance of coming out of the 401 with a win.
Friars Add Jyare Davis (G/F 2020)
If winning on Saturday wasn’t enough for the Friars they were able to score another win on Sunday with the recruiting trail. The Friars were able to secure a commitment for Delaware native Jyare Davis for the Class of 2020. Davis is only currently a 3-star recruit however this is a prospect that many thought to be at the top of his class when he was a sophomore in high school. It appears not being able to showcase his skills during the AAU circuit this summer is the reason for his downfall in the rankings. Davis is said to be a versatile wing in the mold of current and past Friars like Alpha Diallo, LaDontae Henton, Isiah Jackson, and even Tyler Harris. After striking out on the blue-chip recruits, I’m digging Cooley’s alternative strategy here. It in a way reminds me of what Boston Celtics’ Danny Ainge was able to do in 2016, 2017 and potentially the 2019 NBA Draft. At one point both Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum were ranked as the top hoops prospect for their class but for one reason or another (reclassifications, guys breaking out on AAU circuit) they never finished at that spot. Then as their lone collegiate seasons occurred both these two were still regarded at the tops of their class, however other prospects were viewed better. With the third pick in 2016 many thought, the Celtics would go Kris Dunn or Buddy Hield, instead, they took Brown. The following year they even traded out of the number #1 position to take Tatum at #3. The Celtics tried to execute a similar strategy with taking Romeo Langford with the 14th pick, as Romeo finished as the 5th rated prospect in his high school class. My point is if the talent is seen at a young age it most likely is going to be there and for a kid like Davis to be seen as a top-35 prospect as a sophomore but to plummet in the rankings due to injury, you take a chance on that guy because you could end up getting a steal.
Catch Wednesday’s episode of the Providence Crier Podcast, where we will get reactions from the Marquette game and a preview of Friday’s game vs Butler. The PCP can be found on various platforms including anchor.fm, Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Also, follow the Crier on twitter (@ProvidenceCrier) for takes on PC and the rest of CBB all year long.