To take a page out of the Game of Thrones book, the offseason is dark and full of terrors.
It was certainly an offseason that got off to a tumultuous start with Ed Cooley leaving PC for Big East foe, Georgetown. Providence would land back on their feet by hiring Kim English and retaining a core of the roster that may have gone elsewhere. Bryce Hopkins and Devin Carter are back, along with Corey Floyd Jr., Jayden Pierre, and Rafael Castro. Kim English would bring over three ex-Patriots in Josh Oduro, Ticket Gaines, and Justyn Fernandez, plus freshman Richard Barron decided to follow. In turn, some other recruits would follow Cooley to Georgetown, but the Friars were able to retain the highly anticipated guard, Garwey Dual.
The Friars would do a foreign tour in Spain this summer, and in the process, they would lose one of their portal additions, Will McNair. They then would find a replacement in the younger brother of Javan DeLaurier, Eli. Now that all the dust has settled, the Friars are ready to get things started in the 2023-2024 campaign.
Nothing like a quiet offseason.
The Kim English Era will get underway on Monday night with a 7pm tip at Amica Mutual Pavilion against Columbia. It’s a familiar foe for the core of Friars returning as PC beat Columbia 78-64 last November. In the frontcourt, the Lions return Josh Odunowo and Zine Bedri, who gave PC a little trouble in last season’s contest. They also return guard Geronimo Rubio De La Rosa, who had a game-high 17 points against the Friars. Having said all that, the Lions were picked last in the coaches’ poll this preseason. In the opener, it’s more about the Friars than it is the opponent, so let’s dive in.
What To Watch For
- New Era – Kim English comes aboard as the 16th head coach in PC basketball history. Unlike his predecessor, Kim English likes to run a more modern offense with pace and space. He looks to create open looks from the perimeter and midrange and will encourage his guys to shoot the basketball. This should be a bit of a breath of fresh air as PC has run a slower, more methodical offense the past 12 seasons. It will be interesting to see how the returning Friars and the new players from George Mason build continuity within Kim’s style of play. There’s a new brand of basketball at PC and we aren’t talking about selling Jordans.
- Carter/Oduro Health- Devin Carter and Josh Oduro have been battling nagging injuries throughout the offseason. Carter missed PC’s foreign tour in Spain due to a hand injury and missed the most recent secret scrimmage. Josh Oduro was able to play in Spain but an ankle injury after had him sidelined for the Mal Brown scrimmage and the scrimmage against St. Joes. He would return amidst reports in the secret scrimmage vs ECU but got limited minutes. Kim English has insisted it’s a minor ankle injury and they’re being overly cautious. It will be interesting to see if and how much these two play on Monday.
- PC’s New Backcourt- To be honest, the backcourt isn’t even that new. Jayden Pierre was probably the player closest to going to the portal, but Coach English convinced him to return. Both players showed flashes in limited minutes last season but now figure to have a much larger role. When the outside looks to preview this year’s Friars squad, the questions they have are in the backcourt. However, both players had supposedly really good summers and are ready to be regular fixtures in the PC rotation.
- Freshman Phenom? I can’t think of another PC freshman that I was more excited to see start his Friar career than Garwey Dual. Ok fine, I was excited to see Kris Dunn play, but he didn’t make his debut until December of his freshman year and battled a shoulder injury the entire year. Garwey Dual is getting a ton of hype as an instant contributor for the Friars and someone who could potentially be a lottery pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. Dual has great size and elite length and athleticism. Defensively, he has his best chance to make an impact; however, if he can put his offensive game together, look out. The way he can get to the basket looks effortless, and if he can continue to develop into a good shooter, he’s going to be a great two-way guard. The expectations are high, and believe it’s deserved, but let’s see what he can do in game action.
While it probably won’t be a key to the game against the Columbia Lions, I’d like to close by giving this fan base a shoutout. There were some dark times this past March, but everyone has since rallied around Kim English and where he can take this basketball program. PC was able to sell out of season tickets in MAY, and that’s a testament to the passion of this fan base. Once again, it’s a new era of Providence College basketball, and we can’t wait to get it started with all of you come Monday night.
Crier: While part of me envisions the team to take some time to gel together on this night they will have it rolling. PC 84 Columbia 62.
BOC: The party is on in Friartown. PC 86, Columbia 70
Providence Crier Preseason Articles
The Optimist and Pessimist’s Outlook on the 2023 Providence Friars – https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/11/05/glass-full-or-glass-empty-the-optimist-and-pessimists-outlook-on-the-2023-2024-providence-friars/
What I’m Most Looking Forward To in Season Opener – https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/11/03/providence-season-preview-what-im-looking-forward-to-seeing-in-the-opener/
Intel from Big East Media Day – https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/10/24/2023-big-east-media-day-insights-and-intel-from-the-friars-the-big-east/
Non-Conference Prediction – https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/08/10/bocs-way-too-early-non-conference-prediction/