The hunt for a big man to spell Josh Oduro is finally over. After a few swing and misses at the plate for Kim English and Staff for a variety of reasons, the Friars were able to cement the back-up 5 spot for the 2023-2024 year. McNair Jr. is a rugged big man that will be expected to provide quality minutes in the frontcourt off the bench. He has one year of eligibility remaining after playing 3 years at New Mexico State and one year at Mississippi State.
Below, we break down what McNair Jr. will bring to the Friars.
McNair Jr.’s career high in minutes was his junior year at New Mexico State, where he started 27 of 34 games and played an average of 23 minutes/game. In his one year in the SEC, he played sparingly at 13 minutes/game. I would think his minutes at Mississippi State are reflective of the type of minutes he’ll be expected to play at Providence.
I would anticipate the minutes played and stat line to be almost identical to Clifton Moore last year. Moore averaged 13.2 minutes with 5 points and 3 rebounds. The Friar fanbase isn’t expecting McNair Jr. to come in and play 20-25 minutes/game. The roster composition doesn’t require that, which is a good thing. This is English filling the remaining gap on the roster.
The Friar roster has two “bigs” right now in two time First Team All-A10 Center Josh Oduro, who we should expect to log 25-30 minutes/game. He’ll receive the bulk of the minutes at the 5 barring foul trouble. The other “big” is the slim Rafael Castro, who is entering into a make or break year at Providence. Castro is entering his third year, but hasn’t flashed enough to think he could play serious minutes behind Oduro. This is primarily the reason why McNair Jr. was brought in.
McNair Jr. is a big body at 6’11 and 265 pounds that will play rugged defense and prevent opponents from having a free lane to the hoop. He will grind on the glass and do a lot of the dirty work that Friar fans will grow to love. I don’t see him as having the athleticism of Moore, but he should be more physical and imposing in the paint than Moore ever was. Moore’s leaping ability and athleticism didn’t necessarily translate, which I always found perplexing. His year in the SEC should do wonders for him in the Big East, as it appeared the jump for Clifton Moore last year from the A-10 to Big East was too much of a leap for him at times.
McNair Jr. will never lead the team in scoring or be the focal point on offense, but he will be an able frontcourt body who will be encouraged to use his five fouls to set a tone. With the bigger line-ups of the Big East (Soriano, Clingan, Kalkbrenner), English will have to lean on McNair Jr. to provide size in the frontcourt.
With McNair Jr. in the fold, the Friar roster for 2023-2024 is more or less complete (pending the Breed legal situation). In my opinion, the Friars are incredibly deep at the guard and wing spots, with the only potential concern being the 5 spot. Providence needs to hope for good fortune with health at the 5 spot.
Even with the lack of quality depth at the 5, I do see this Friar roster as a second weekend type NCAA team. This is arguably the most talented and deep roster I’ve experienced as an avid Friar follower since 2007. While some other teams may have had higher end stars (Dunn, Duke Jr., Cotton), I haven’t seen a team like this one that has legitimate star power in Bryce Hopkins that is also deep. PC’s 6-8 on this roster (Dual, Floyd Jr., Gaines) would start on 95% of other Friar teams in the past. Suffice to say, I’m very bullish on this team.
Post 2023-2024, English will have his hands full restocking the cupboard at the 5 position. Oduro and McNair Jr. will both be gone, so I’d anticipate PC to target 3 frontcourt players in the 2024 class and in the transfer portal.
That’s a concern for a different day, however. Friar fans can breathe easy now with another big in the fold. All is well that ends well.
Now, we can look towards the 2023-2024 season!
Crier Recruiting Articles
Crier Recruiting Corner – Del Jones – https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/06/03/crier-recruiting-corner-del-jones/
Crier Recruiting Corner – Patrick Ngonba II – https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/05/06/crier-recruiting-corner-introducing-2024-center-patrick-ngonba-ii/#more-6900
Crier Recruiting Corner – Guard Daquan Davis –https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/05/06/24-recruiting-spotlight-daquan-davis/#more-6898
2025 Recruiting Primer, Version 1.0 – https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/04/30/2025-providence-college-high-school-recruiting-primer-version-1-0/
Crier Recruiting Corner: 2024 Big Man Somto Cyril: https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/04/24/crier-recruiting-corner-introducing-2024-big-man-somto-cyril/
2024 Recruiting Primer, Version 4.0:https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/03/27/providence-college-basketball-recruiting-class-of-2024/
Transfer Portal Primer, Version 3.0: https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/03/28/tracking-the-transfers-pc-targets-in-the-2023-portal-providence-crier-transfer-portal-primer/
Garwey Dual Commitment Article: https://theprovidencecrier.com/2022/09/01/deep-dive-analysis-of-2023-providence-commit-garwey-dual/
Transfer Portal Spotlight: Davonte “Ticket” Gaines: https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/04/08/davonte-ticket-gaines-following-kim-english-to-friartown/
Rich Barron Commitment Article: https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/04/10/richard-barron-commits-to-providence-analyzing-the-impact/
Transfer Portal Spotlight: Josh Oduro: https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/03/25/transfer-portal-spotlight-george-mason-forward-josh-oduro/
Transfer Portal Spotlight: Justyn Fernandez: https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/03/26/transfer-portal-spotlight-george-mason-wing-justyn-fernandez/
Crier Recruiting Corner: Kany Tchanda: https://theprovidencecrier.com/2022/12/29/crier-recruiting-corner-introducing-kany-tchanda/