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.
This past season probably didn’t have the ending Bryce Hopkins was hoping for. After transferring from Kentucky to Providence last year and earning first team All-Big East honors, the season came to an end with a disappointing 53-61 defeat at the hands of the same Wildcats. Bryce himself didn’t have his best game, scoring only 7 points (2/9), grabbing 8 rebounds, and committing 4 turnovers. However, one game doesn’t define the special season Hopkins had in his first year at PC.
After not getting many opportunities to prove himself at Kentucky, Bryce Hopkins arrived at PC with plenty of promise and hype. He fully lived up to the expectations, averaging an impressive 15.8 ppg, 8.5 rpg, and 2.4 apg. The 6-7 forward was physically imposing and a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. On December 20th, he had a remarkable performance with 29 points and 23 rebounds in a double-overtime win against #24 Marquette. On January 4th, Hopkins put up 27 points in a victory over #4 UConn. He scored in double figures in 27 of the 32 games last season, playing a crucial role in leading the Friars back to the NCAA tournament.
So, what can he do for an encore? This off-season, Hopkins focused on trimming down around 15 pounds to improve his agility and bounce. Another aspect he aims to develop is his perimeter game. While he had no problem attacking the rim and drawing fouls last season, he only attempted an average of 2.3 three-pointers per game, despite shooting a respectable 36% from beyond the arc. With Kim English now on the coaching staff, we can expect that to change.
In the upcoming year, I envision Hopkins becoming a more well-rounded scorer and positioning himself as a potential NBA Draft pick in June 2024. Additionally, I anticipate him returning with a chip on his shoulder. Despite his breakout season and the team’s overall success, he can’t be satisfied with the way the season ended, losing five of their last six games and then the departure of the coaching staff.
However, will this be enough for him to secure the Big East Player of the Year honors? Hopkins is one of three returning players in the All-Big East first team, alongside Ryan Kalkbrenner and reigning POY Tyler Kolek. All three are likely to be contenders, along with UConn’s Donovan Clingan, Villanova’s Justin Moore, and St. John’s Joel Soriano, who have also made their mark. Typically, the award goes to the most valuable player on the best team, and the competition within the league will be stiff. Additionally, considering that PC may not have to heavily rely on Hopkins to carry the scoring load compared to last season, his chances may be impacted. Ultimately, I believe Hopkins will secure a spot on the All-Big East first team, and if he were to win the award, it would point to an exciting season ahead in Friartown.
BOC Take: I think Mike covered Hopkins incredibly well. My favorite part of the article was him playing with a chip on his shoulder. Hopkins produced at a marvelous rate last year, but really didn’t carry himself on the court like an alpha. Think about Dunn’s demeanor. He wanted to kill his opposition and wanted to embarrass them.
I want him stepping on the court each game knowing he is the best player on the court and to carry himself accordingly. He should play with a swagger that a potential All-American has, and I anticipate this off-season will help him grow as a basketball player AND person. It is easy to forget last year was his actual first year of college basketball playing time.
The sky is the limit for him. I’m expecting a stat line of 18 and 8 for Mr. Hopkins, earning First Team All Big East and some level of All-American honors.
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