In the spirit of the New Year, we create a 2021 wishlist/resolutions for the Providence Friar basketball program. May we get the heck out of 2020 and have a prosperous New Year!
A Sweet 16 Run: Cooley has made the NCAA tournament many times at Providence, but has never made it past the first weekend. Exemplified by the Big East turnout by Friar fans, Providence fans would be head over heels if the Friars could make it to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament. Cooley already has a national following in the media, but would become a household name if the Friars can make the jump to the second weekend.
A Reliable Third Scorer: We likely have two first team All Big East players in Duke and Watson. What the Friars are currently missing is a reliable third scorer to put up somewhere around 12 points a game. If they can have somebody emerge and do that, they’ll certainly be NCAA bound. If anybody is going to do that, it is likely going to be Reeves.
Average Three Point Shooting: How depressing is this goal? We aren’t asking for elite shooting. We are asking to average the 50th percentile in three point shooting. Providence, as of this writing, is 300th in the nation in three point shooting percentage at 27.3%. The average is approximately 6 percentage points higher at 33.3%. They are also worst in the Big East in three point shooting percentage, 5 percentage points lower than the next squad. Providence desperately needs to improve this number.
Landing two top 100 recruits in 2022 class: The 2022 class is enormous for the future of the Providence Friars. The rest of the Big East has stepped up their recruiting over the past few years, while Providence has seemingly struck out on their “Plan A” recruits. While the transfer route has treated Providence well, it’d be nice to land two impact recruits in this class like a Karaban and Epps. Duke & Watson are likely both gone after this year, and we are going to need to reload the roster quickly. It is imperative that Cooley lands a top 20 nationally ranked class if he wants Providence to stay in the upper echelon of the Big East.
Play by Play breakdown with Bill Walton and Jonathan Xavier on the infamous court storming incident. I’d like to see them splice it up and really analyze how the play unfolded. One can dream.
The reemergence of Kiwi Translator. If you know, you know.
Better Team Defense: Wednesday against Butler was certainly a step in the right direction as PC put together one of their better defensive performances of the season. The result had PC go up in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency from 88 to 80. There is still work to do however as the defense has not been up to Ed Cooley standards. Since 2014 the Friars have been inside the top 50 in adjusted defensive efficiency every year and most seasons they’re top 40. This team shouldn’t be bad defensively either with guys like Duke and Gantt. What we need to see in 2021 is guys in better defensive positioning, putting their hands up while defending shooters, not leave guys wide open and BOX OUT. With Duke and Watson the Friars are going to be a top offensive team, clean up the defense and they can be a top 25 team.
Sustained Free Throw Shooting: At the end of 2020 the Friars rank 84th in free throw percentage hitting 73.2%. That’s a solid number and I will take it but can we clean up the front ends of 1-and-1s??? I don’t have a stat on this but the Friars have seemed to be brutal on the first shot of a 1-and-1, that has got to change. Also it’s important that they sustain the overall FT success because it becomes critical in close games, 2 of PC’s 3 Big East wins have come in OT.
Land ONE 2022 Top-100 Recruit: I won’t be greedy like BOC and ask for two guys but one would be nice. The last Top-100 guy the Friars landed was Greg Gantt so it’s been two seasons without one. Rankings aren’t the most important thing, fit is but getting highly rated prospects tends to pay off, just look at David Duke.
Bench Mob: BOC mentioned a lack of bench production in the prior game against Butler. I’m not here to talk about the points they score. PC’s bench only seems to get into it when things are going really really well. Look at DePaul, led by bench mob king Pantelis Xidias, they were down double digits yet their bench was still going nuts as they made their comeback and almost stole one. This may sound a bit corny but with no crowds think a bench mob can really bring energy. So Fonts I’m looking at you buddy. Get these guys going!