There is a reason that one of the first actions of the Kim English era was to fly out and re-recruit Providence commitment Garwey Dual. Garwey has been proclaimed as a sleeper first round pick and potential one and done. I cautioned throwing too many expectations on the true freshman, as the college game is vastly more difficult than prep ball. Expectations can swallow a player whole.
Well, Dual has made tempering expectations impossible after last night’s performance. Dual scored 14 points, had 4 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks. Most important, he seemed in complete control and dictated pace of the game. Dual hit a few timely three’s when Milwaukee was trying to make a run and seemed to be an asset from deep, which was something folks were unsure of about his game. If he can be a 40% three point shooter, I don’t think Dual will be long for college basketball, and Friar fans should enjoy his short stay in Providence.
Beyond Dual’s impressive game, we break down the good and bad from last night’s victory.
Oduro’s Progression from Game 1 a Positive Sign – I was admittedly a bit underwhelmed by Josh against Columbia, but I think that has more to do with him getting back into “game shape” post injury. His performance last night was night and day from the Columbia game. In the first half, he secured multiple second chance opportunities for Providence on the offensive glass and played some stellar interior defense. His give and go on the cut by Garwey Dual in the second half was a thing of beauty, and we talked all offseason about his passing prowess from the post.
I think the foot injury was more serious than we were let on to believe, and Oduro is still getting back into form. With all that said, his performance last night showed we have a more than serviceable five man whose best games as a Friar are still ahead of him.
Free Throwing Shooting Needs to be Fixed – The reason the game was so close was due to Milwaukee’s 87% success rate from the charity stripe, while Providence struggled at 65%. Hopkins particularly had issues, going 6-11. For somebody who creates so much contact and fouls, Providence needs Hop to be 70% or better from the line.
Pierre Quietly Showed Out – I do have to caveat by saying it’s only been two games, but it appears Providence fans can put to rest the concern about lead guard play. While Dual stole the show, Pierre efficiently led the team in scoring with 16 points and added 5 assists. The sophomore will continue to grow into the point guard role, and PC may sneakily have one of the better backcourts in the Big East.
Defense Shows Up Again – Milwaukee was predicted to finish second in the Horizon league and be one of the more high scoring teams in the league. PC did another fantastic job on defense last night, holding them to 69 points on 38% from the floor and 18% from deep. PC had 11 blocks and 10 steals as well.
In two games, PC is holding opponents to 54 points a game. While PC may not have that gargantuan rim protector that we all so desire, I think the team defense has been tremendous thus far. We’ll see how legitimate this team is against Wisconsin.