Before we get into the game, the Crier would be remiss if he didn’t bring up how great it was to be back at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center to watch the Friars basketball team. For an exhibition game, against a division II opponent on a Thursday night, the Friars had a solid turnout (north of 3k attendees) to see them live in action for the first time since the COVID pandemic. Based on what I saw tonight, the Friars should play their opener against Fairfield to close to a sellout crowd of fans ready to watch live hoops again. But lets dive into the takeaway’s to PC’s 95-71 win over Stonehill.
At the end, we have a guest appearance from season ticket holder and loyal fan Joey N, who provides his unique perspective on all facets of the game.
Facing a division II opponent may not be the best barometer but this Friar team seems to be more physical than the teams of the past few years. Nate Watson, Noah Horchler, and Ed Croswell defended the rim with force against an albeit undersized Skyhawk roster. The bigs were also active on the glass. Croswell seems improved from last year and throw in the physical Justin Minaya into the mix PC’s frontcourt looks great. Despite giving up 71 points to a division II opponent the Friars should be improved defensively.
Al Durham is a Perfect Fit in Friartown
One of the reasons why I decided to take the drive down to Providence was to see the newest members of the team play. Al Durham made the trip more than worth it. He was excellent in this game scoring 12 points, grabbing 8 rebounds and dishing out 5 assists. He showed his on ball skills that he wasn’t able to show at Indiana for whatever reason. The biggest thing that stood out to me was his feel for the game. He is great at picking his spots on when to dish to teammates or attack to the rim himself. Durham was a three year captain at IU and it shows.
Every Friar saw the court last night including a lineup of two of the Fonts brothers. Granted about only 10 of those guys played significant minutes but it makes you wonder what the rotation may look like. Against Stonehill its ok to try different lineup combinations but once they get to the Legends Classic they wont have that luxury. Based on observation you would have to think Watson, Horchler, Durham, Reeves, Bynum (the starting 5 FYI) all have prominent minutes in the rotation. Alyn Breed continued to impress tonight with 15 points, including a nice floater to close out the buzzer. Breed continues to show he is ready for the moment and should see an increase in minutes. Ed Croswell also seems much improved, as he has trimmed down and shown better footwork. He is looking like a great 3rd big man to have, especially when you consider Minaya is included in that front court. Brycen Goodine showed his ability to score the ball with 12 points on the night. I’m very intrigued on how Coolety & staff will shake out the rotation.
“Send It In Nate!!”
You all know the famous clip of the guy breaking a backboard in a college basketball and the legendary Bill Raftery proclaims “Send it in Jerome!!”.
If you didn’t already you now realize that happened against the Friars. Jerome Lane shattered a backboard right on our heads. Well I have great news Friar fans. I honestly think Nate Watson will put the Friars on the right side of a “send it in Jerome” moment. It only took Lane one hand to break the rim, Nate Watson throws down rim rattling dunks with two hands. The way he abuses the rack I’m quite confident Watson will break a backboard this season. That may be this year’s Crier Prophecy.
- Ed Croswell has significantly leaned out and looks to be much more explosive and athletic than last year. This is vital as it seemed he was solely a below the basket type big. There were so many times last year where he was blocked at the rim because he couldn’t elevate. It is still early, but hopefully those same issues will disappear with a better conditioned Croswell.
- It is apparent we have a lot of new faces on the roster. For the majority of the second half, it seemed to be players who hadn’t officially suited up for the Friars.
- Celebrity sighting in Omar Minaya. Star. Power.
- LaDontae Henton has the look and feel of a college coach. He will be an absolute asset this season and moving forward.
- Being back at Trinity post-game may have been the highlight of my night. Big East basketball is back.