It was an eventful day at Big East Media Day in the World’s Most Famous Arena. Val Ackerman made note this is the largest attendance seen at the Media Day since the realignment. With a Hall of Fame coach returning to the Big East, another program coming off a national championship, and a coach jumping to another school in conference, the storylines almost write themself.
The Crier and I were able to get into the mix and talk with players and coaches throughout the Big East. You learn a lot just by being present.
You’ll be able to listen to the interviews we took part in on the podcast; however, I wanted to provide some additional notes on things that caught my attention throughout the day.
Friar Items of Note
– Josh Oduro did not have a walking boot on and says he is good to play. That’s a sigh of relief for Providence fans.
– Providence is going to go as far as Bryce Hopkins and Carter take them. They received all conference recognition. Most important, they seem to have a bond of lifelong teammates. They were joking around with each other all Media Day. They will be one of the most dynamic duos in the entire nation, in my opinion.
– Devin Carter seems supremely sure of himself and his abilities. He has a swagger about him that every team needs on their roster. In my opinion, he’s the “leader” of this team.
– Carter mentioned he most worked on his three point shot this offseason as an area of improvement.
– I’m struck by how serious Kim English is, and I mean that in the most positive way possible. He has a very business, no nonsense approach and oozes confidence in his and his team’s abilities. The moment of being a Big East coach didn’t seem too big for him, and he carried himself with a very quiet confidence.
– You can also tell that Kim is a player’s coach. He has a good bond with his players. That is readily apparent when seeing his interactions with Carter, Hopkins, and Oduro.
– The hype around Garwey Dual is getting to the point where Friar fans may get frustrated at him not initially meeting the sky high expectations. Everybody I chatted with around the program spoke glowingly of Dual, but were all quick to mention he is still a freshman. There will be some growing pains with Dual alongside flashes of brilliance, and it may be prudent to temper expectations a bit for the blue chip freshman. Thankfully, the Friars don’t need him to be a superhero Day 1.
– Bryce Hopkins mentioned he did trim down and lose some weight, but hasn’t seen any negative effects when it comes to losing strength. He did say his endurance has improved.
– Everybody in unison said the scrimmage last weekend went well, but it was tough to get a lot of information out of them.
Non-Friar Related Items of Note
– Drew Fielder is a big guy. He’s going to be a frontcourt problem for teams facing Georgetown. We made the Horchler comp when he was a committed Friar, but Fielder seems to have 3 or so inches on Horchler. I saw Kim English, who tried to re-recruit Fielder to PC, catch up with Drew towards the tail end of the media day.
– Clingan is every bit the height he is listed at and looks to have slimmed down and lost some of the baby fat. He had on a walking boot, which shows where he is in his recovery.
– Karaban, on the other hand, wasn’t as tall or well built as I expected. I’m just short of 6’3 and he didn’t exactly tower over me. It made Hurley’s decision last year to put him 1:1 against Hopkins that much more confounding. But hey, I guess it worked?
– There is a consistent drumbeat for new point guard Ashworth at Creighton. While the departure of Nembhardt and Kaluma hurts, the additions of Ashworth and Traudt could end up being a better fit for Creighton’s style of play.
– Scheierman was a really impressive interview. He carries himself like a seasoned vet. We joked around about him getting the better of Minaya early in their NCAA tournament game.
– When you saw the coaches take a photo together, it hits you like a ton of bricks just how much coaching talent there is in the Big East. Rick Pitino, Shaka Smart, Ed Cooley, Greg McDermott, Sean Miller…oh, and the guy who just won a national championship, Dan Hurley. Kim English is going up against a gauntlet of historic coaches.
– Seeing Eric Dixon and Justin Moore at Big East Media Day, I couldn’t help but feel like they are in their 8th year of the Big East. They’ve been around for the dynasty under Jay Wright and first year under Neptune. Moore and Dixon look to spearhead a return to prominence for the Villanova Wildcats.
– Butler’s Jalen Thomas is an imposing figure. I see players like him, Clingan, Kalkbrenner, Soriano, etc. and wonder how the heck Providence is going to guard the paint. It is truly a league of giants.
– Best dressed nominees: Kam Jones, Devin Carter, Jalen Thomas. I’m sure I’m missing a few but those guys stood out.
Ed Cooley Items of Note
– The media desk around Georgetown and Ed Cooley was swarmed. Ed couldn’t stop fielding questions about his departure from PC, which is not unexpected.
– I found it particularly interesting he knew the exact date he was returning back up to Providence (Jan 27th). That game is clearly on his mind, and he is well aware of what he will be walking into at the AMP.
– While I’m sure Cooley was getting annoyed with the litany of Providence questions, he went out of his way a multitude of times to praise Providence the city, Providence the school, Providence the basketball program, Providence the fan base, etc. He seems keenly aware that he left a special place where school and basketball were completely aligned. I’m sure Cooley has his own reasons for leaving for Georgetown, but he sounded like a man who has come to realize what he left behind.
– Ed also is aware that this year may be a tough year to take on a program rebuild given the strength of the Big East.