Jayden Pierre Exits the Portal – Analyzing the Impact of his Return to Providence

Jayden Pierre’s foray into the portal concluded when he decided to return and run it back with Kim English and Providence College. For the Providence Friars and English, his return is a win that shouldn’t be overlooked. The athletic, springy point guard will now likely be the leading point man for the Friars for the next three seasons and offers some stability to the backcourt that was sorely needed. We break down what his return means for the Providence Friars for this year and beyond.

Kim English, Ace Recruiter: Pierre’s return is another nod to the recruiting prowess of Kim English. Pierre had the ability to transfer anywhere and play immediately due to having never transferred before. For English to keep him in the fold when English didn’t recruit him originally to Providence is a testament to English’s recruiting chops. Pierre definitely had his fair share of suitors, as he was only a year removed from being a Top 150 recruit. I’m certain the former Friar coach gave him a ring to be the leader of his new Big East squad.

What Pierre’s Return Means for 2023-2024 Friars: As of this writing, Providence doesn’t have another ball handler on the squad. This is why I found Pierre originally entering into the portal so mystifying.

With his return, Pierre is guaranteed (whether he starts or not) to get some portion of Bynum’s 27 minutes a game, and it remains to be seen if Alyn Breed and his 19 minutes returns as well. Even with Bynum and Breed, Pierre still managed to insert himself into the rotation to the tune of 11 minutes a game. I anticipate, at the least, to see Pierre’s minutes double to 22 minutes with 30 minutes probably being more realistic. Pierre has the keys to the car and can cement his starting role for the Friars this year and moving forward.

Pierre’s return made so much sense because of the roster already in place for Providence. Carter and Hopkins are two of the best players in the Big East and are returning. Josh Oduro is an offensive chess piece at the 5 position and brings a scoring punch to the frontcourt. The only missing piece to those three was a point guard to get them the ball. With Pierre’s exit of the portal, he now can sleepwalk into 6 assists/game for the Friars.

Providence returns 50% of its scoring from last year, and that is not taking into account the 16 points/game Oduro averaged last year at George Mason. Let’s say conservatively Oduro matches Croswell’s 13 points a game, and Pierre has a nucleus around him where three starters can easily score 12-15 per game. Compound that with Corey Floyd Jr.’s development and Pierre will have a starting roster of Floyd Jr., Carter, Hopkins, and Oduro by his side.

99% of point guards in college basketball would kill to have that offensive talent around him. Having those weapons will make the transition from role player to lead man much easier for Mr. Pierre. He doesn’t have to shoulder any scoring load and can be a factor simply by being a distributor.

Pierre Raises the Defensive Floor: Let’s be real in that, right now, Pierre isn’t at the same level as Jared Bynum as a scorer; however, he is going to be 10x the defender Bynum was. It was frustrating as a fan to see Cooley continue to stick with Bynum on the defensive end when he would consistently get beat in pick and roll situations. As I’ve said before, I don’t even necessarily fault Bynum. It’s not his fault he is 5’9. I blame Cooley for his stubbornness in not recognizing this.

Pierre is a few inches taller than Bynum, has a long wingspan that has already been shown to be a nuisance for opposing offenses, and possesses superior athleticism to Jared. The team defense fell apart last year for Providence, and Pierre will instantly be a defensive improvement to the starting line-up.

Pierre the Athlete – I think it is safe to say that Providence is going to be a team that runs and lives in transition all season long. Pierre as the starting point guard only further illustrates that that is the expectation, given he will be surrounded by other above average athletes in the starting line-up. Pierre is definitely the best athlete amongst Bynum and Breed, and I think him getting out in the open floor will be a handful for the opposition. He can play above the rim and has the consummate speed and quickness you look for in a point guard.

Pierre the Three Point Shooter? If you had to guess who the best three point shooter on last year’s team was on a percentage basis, I doubt Pierre would be your first (or even second) choice. However, statistically he was the best. Pierre shot 55% from deep on 12-22 from the floor. Not a large sample size, I admit, but it shows he has the ability to knock down the deep shot. If he can even be a 35-40% deep ball shooter, it will open up the drives to the rack and not allow the opposition to sag off him.

What Pierre’s Return Means for 2024 & Beyond – While Hopkins and Carter are vitally important for this upcoming year’s version of the Providence Friars, Pierre is equally as important because he will, in theory, be the starting point guard for the next 3 seasons. Kim English has done an incredible job of putting together the best version of the 2023-2024 Friars by landing Oduro and retaining Carter and Hopkins. Those are immediate impact players that make the Friars a contender for the Big East crown next year and should be looked at as the leaders of this team.

What shouldn’t be overlooked is the retaining of Pierre, Floyd Jr., Santoro, and Castro, along with the transfer add of Fernandez. English may have been facing a complete rebuild after this upcoming year if he didn’t prioritize the long term future of the Friars. I say rebuild because I don’t expect Hopkins and Carter back after this season due to their play warranting NBA considerations.

PC essentially has its starting 1-3 for 2024 and beyond in Pierre, Floyd Jr., Fernandez/Santoro. The backcourt should be set, and we can expect Castro to contend for a starting 4 or 5 spot in 2024. Rosters change so frequently, but I do think the Providence Friars now have the majority of their starting line-up for the next few years already in place. That’s a great place to be for a new coach in arguably the toughest basketball conference in America.


If you can’t tell, I’m extremely bullish on Jayden Pierre. I don’t think it is often you land point guards of his build, athleticism, and demeanor.

What was most telling to me about Pierre was his attitude throughout the season. He was always the first off the bench cheering his team on and never seemed to sulk, which is a stark contrast to some other guards that played this year. Pierre comes across as a good teammate and natural leader, which we needed more of this past year. I think Cooley did himself a disservice by not playing Pierre more, but English is going to reap the benefits of that this year.

My expectations for Pierre are to put up something like 10 points and 6 assists this season. I anticipate his turnover numbers will be a bit high, but that is to be expected for a first time starting point guard. He will cement himself as the next great PC point guard, and I believe a few All-Conference honors will be awarded to him before his time is done in Friartown.

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