Providence Crier Player Preview Series: Jayden Pierre Drawing Comparisons to McKinley Wright IV

On the August 30th episode of the Providence Crier Podcast BOC & The Crier drafted PC’s roster for our player preview series. We take a look at each player and what fans may expect this upcoming season.

One of the best storylines of the Friar offseason was when Kim English challenged Jayden Pierre to a game of 1-on-1. The stakes were simple. If Jayden Pierre won he could remain in the portal; however, if Coach English won JP would have to take his name out. Kim would walk away with the victory and keep a key member of the team in the process.

You can understand why Pierre might have been looking for a fresh start. The previous head coach had left the program, and it wasn’t like he was given a huge opportunity his first year at Providence. Pierre averaged 2.5 ppg and 1.9 apg in only 11 minutes per contest. However, when Pierre was in the game, he always seemed to have the makings of a Big East starting point guard. His communication on the court was that of a veteran in his freshman season, and he showed flashes of being a scorer and facilitator in limited minutes. Pierre shot 42.7% from the floor and 54.5% from three, albeit on not a ton of shots, but he should have been a guy last year’s staff trusted more. I think that will become very obvious this year, along with Corey Floyd Jr.

As a point guard himself, Kim English knows what it takes to be successful at the lead guard spot. English believes Pierre has a lot of qualities he loves to see in guards, thus he was a priority for Kim to keep. English went as far to compare Pierre’s game to a guard he had coached as an assistant at Colorado, 3x first team All-Pac12 guard McKinley Wright IV.

Some of you know the Crier considers himself a night hawk and enjoys the PAC-12 after dark during the college hoops season. So I’m very familiar with McKinley Wright’s game. Wright had a great feel for the game on offense. He used his speed to put a ton of pressure on college defenses, either scoring himself in transition or dishing to an open shooter off penetration. Even though he’s quick he picked his spots really well knowing when and how to use pace. He’s really good off the dribble and gets into his pull up game nicely. Watch the tape below and tell me you didn’t see some of that in JP.

Drawing comparisons to Wright is high praise. He’s one of the greatest to put on a Colorado uniform. I’m not claiming Jayden puts up Wright’s numbers but based on some of what we saw last season and the belief English has in him, there’s a good possibility Pierre breaks out in his second season at PC. I get the outside media questioning PC’s backcourt but the combo of him and Garwey Dual in English’s pace and space offense and the weapons they have around them is exciting. If Pierre can somewhat replicate the play of McKinley Wright IV, PC’s ceiling as to what they can accomplish this year certainly gets lifted.

BOC Take: It wouldn’t surprise me to see Pierre average 7 points and 6 assists a game this season as the starting point guard. We will look back and wonder if Cooley should have given him more burn as a true freshman because of how effective he will be running the show this year.

Cooley’s offenses were predicated on having a veteran point guard. It was very point guard centric, and I think at times too reliant on having an all conference player at that position. If he didn’t, the offense sputtered. This is often why he required an elder statesman at the position because he put so much on the plate of the lead guard.

Under English, I hope Pierre can get out and run. The nice thing Pierre has going for him is the stable of talent around him. He will be distributing to two all conference players in Hopkins and Carter and a big man in Oduro known for his offensive moves in the post. He was given keys to a Ferrari and won’t be asked to do too much. My bold take is Pierre challenges Kolek for Big East lead in assists/game.

There will be instances where his inexperience shows, but I personally believe the good will outweigh the bad, and Friartown will have their point guard of the future.

My last comment on Pierre is his leadership. He was always first off the bench last year encouraging his teammates and seemed to bring a good energy in the way the person in front of him at guard never did. I thought that alone was potentially worthy of him getting more minutes, as it could have been easy for him to pout and be sullen on the bench. Pierre will be a fan favorite for his positivity and leadership traits. He’s got the right make-up.

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