Providence held their annual Mal Brown intra-squad scrimmage in front of a newly minted Amica Mutual Pavilion crowd late Saturday afternoon. The Mal Brown has really come a long way, from an early morning tip at Alumni Hall to now being held downtown. While it wasn’t a fully packed AMP, there were certainly enough Friar fans to check out the new team. With today’s frequently changing college basketball rosters, it’s definitely an event worth attending.
The Friars integrated seven newcomers to the roster and split the two teams with the black squad featuring the four returnees with Louisville grad transfer Noah Locke, while the white team featured the rest of the team. It was the PC vets that took the game 87-84. Here are the takeaways.
Crier’s Four Takeaways from Mal Brown Scrimmage
- Bynum and Locke Lead an Intriguing Backcourt- Jared Bynum played the sixth man role last season and looks poised to be PC’s star bucket getter. Bynum finished with 23 points and dished out 7 assists. He also got to the line for 9 free throw attempts, which is important considering they lost Al Durham and his ability to live at the line. It was a long time coming for Noah Locke to make his Friars debut if you follow the recruiting scene. He definitely lives up to the billing as a great shooter. Locke finished with 19 points on 5/9 from deep, including one from the tip of the logo and another that was well contested. If you couple him with the three guards on the white team and Alyn Bred this may be Ed Cooley’s deepest backcourt.
- Kentucky Transfer Bryce Hopkins is a Problem- It took him a little while to get going but once he did Bryce Hopkins was tough to stop. Hopkins finished with a game-high 29 points and added 9 rebounds. While he did struggle from 3 (2/7) he showed he’s a capable three-point shooter. His face up game and handle for his size makes him a real tough cover for opponents, being able to attack the rim with ease. He definitely looks to be in for a big season in his first in Friartown.
- Rafael Castro Surprises- When we had Kevin McNamara on the podcast, he mentioned that Rafael Castro has improved, and he certainly has. After not seeing a minute on the court last season the 6-11 lengthy forward came out aggressive. Castro was all over the court, skying for rebounds and even had 3 steals. He finished with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. This is certainly a welcome development, as the Friars frontcourt depth isn’t great.
- Jayden Pierre is the Future- We have heard rave reviews out of practice from Jayden Pierre and it is easy to see why. The freshman from Elizabeth, NJ and Long Island Lutherian plays beyond his years. He was constantly talking on the court and was encouraging South Carolina transfer Devin Carter after he was visibly frustrated from missing an easy look. Pierre also plays with great pace and knows how to get his teammates involved, as he finished with 7 assists. While it’s tough to see how much of an impact he will make in his freshman year it is clear that Pierre is the future star of PC’s backcourt.
Want some more intel from the game? Check out the Crier’s game thread and the box score courtesy of Pawtucket Times’ Brendan McGair:
There is only so much you can learn about this season’s squad from the intra-squad scrimmage but there is certainly a lot to like. If the Friars can find some continuity and chemistry, they can be in store for another big season. They kick off their first of two home scrimmages Thursday when they take on AIC at 7pm.