Former Top 50 4 Star recruit Bryce Hopkins from Chicago decided to depart the Kentucky Wildcats and transfer to Providence College. Like Locke and Floyd Jr., Hopkins considered Providence out of high school, but ultimately enrolled elsewhere. After playing spot minutes on a loaded Kentucky squad this past year, the big bodied 3/undersized 4 will now be donning the Black and White.
Below, we analyze the impact of Hopkins enrolling at Providence and what it means for the immediate and long term.
Impact to 2022-2023 Squad
If you missed our initial article on Bryce Hopkins, see here (https://theprovidencecrier.com/2022/04/13/portal-spotlight-bryce-hopkins/#more-4909). It will give you a comprehensive overview of his game.
I’ve said on podcasts and other articles to not expect a Johnny Juzang – UCLA type jump from Hopkins. Juzang went from averaging 3 points his freshman year to 16 points his sophomore year at UCLA. Would I be thrilled with this? Yes, absolutely, but I don’t think it is necessarily realistic.
I think the Hopkins fit at Providence is a fantastic one because he can get out of the shadows of the expectations that come with being a highly ranked freshman at Kentucky. In many instances, Kentucky fans will label you a bust if you aren’t an immediate impact freshman. That just isn’t fair. Now, he can develop his game at his own pace at Providence without additional scrutiny.
With all that said, Hopkins is absolutely a player. You don’t become a consensus Top 50 recruit pursued by all of the blue bloods unless you can play at a high level. Hopkins is transferring into Providence to get more playing time. Horchler and Watson graduating means there are ample minutes to go around in the frontcourt. Hopkins can slide into that stretch 4/athletic big spot that Horchler leaves vacated while Croswell and Moore share time at the 5. Additionally, he can play spot minutes at the 3. His versatility as a 6’6-6’7 big bodied wing will be a huge asset to a Cooley squad that likes to be incredibly versatile.
Hopkins will bring a toughness to the court that has become a must for players at Providence under Cooley. He can attack the glass and use his big frame to finish around the rim. He also has a developing 3 point shot. If that becomes more consistent, he can truly become a diversified threat with the ability to knock down shots and create off the dribble. As much as we loved Horchler, he really couldn’t create on his own. Hopkins lacks the height and explosiveness of Horchler, but can compensate with that by beating his man to the hoop off the bounce.
While it is nice to discuss new additions to the program and easy to forget about past additions, don’t overlook the battle he is facing to earn that starting spot. Rafael Castro, who redshirted this year, has received rave reviews in practice this offseason and likely expects to land that starting 4 spot. Hopkins and Castro battling each other is good for the team and the program.
Impact Long Term
All Providence fans knew how important this offseason was to continue the momentum and performance from this past season. Gone are Horchler, Watson, Reeves, Minaya, and Durham. Cooley absolutely needed to hit a home run in the transfer portal or the Friars were facing a serious rebuild. Well, not only did he hit a home-run, he hit a grand slam.
Cooley did a fantastic job of blending instant impact talent with transfers that will be part of the program for the next 3-4 years. Hopkins must be salivating at the thought of holding a starting spot at Providence for the next 3 years. He has a chance at a fresh start after a volatile season at Kentucky, and he can leave his mark on Providence just like past transfers like Minaya, Durham, and Horchler did this offseason.
Welcome, Bryce. Friartown is ecstatic to have you!