Everybody who follows The Crier knows my affinity for the Jersey Shore. There is unquestionably nothing more appealing than a Summer “Down at the Shore”. You can pitch going out east to The Hamptons or vacationing at The Cape to me, but I assure you that it will fall completely on deaf ears. I may just walk away from the conversation mid-discussion when the idea of going somewhere else besides Jersey comes up.
Give me a Saturday line-up of being at the beach all day (don’t get triggered UConn fans), stepping off the beach into happy hour at Columns, and then have that cascade into an evening in God’s Basement at The Parker House. That’s an ideal day and night.
I grew up in Jersey, went to school up at Providence, had a sabbatical post college in Manhattan and Hoboken, and inevitably returned home to the Promised Land a few years ago.
This article idea started when somebody tweeted at Big East’s prodigal son, John Fanta, to do a like for like comparison of Jersey Shore bars to Big East programs. John is a Jersey Shore Bar aficionado, often tweeting about Spring Lakers and The Boom Boom Room at The Osprey. Quite simply, he gets it.
I decided to do a comparison of my own. Enjoy. I’m sure fans and alums of these schools will take these comparisons in stride and not overreact.
The Providence Friars have released their non-conference schedule ahead of the 2023-2024 season. I must say that I believe it sets them up quite nicely to be a nationally ranked team ahead of conference play. I may be tipping my hand there on how I foresee the non-conference playing out, but so be it.
There were too many times in the Cooley era where the Friars would stumble out of the gates in non-conference play and have to rely on a Herculean effort in conference play to make the NCAA tournament. Do you know how many Thanksgiving weekends were ruined in the BOC household due to Providence seemingly forgetting how to play basketball in a holiday tournament?
The rub is that Coach Cooley would miraculously find a way to dig them out of their grave and get them into the NCAA tournament with superb conference results. The “cold water in the face” reality, however, is that those late season runs masked the fact that the blemishes of the non-conference put a cap on how high they would be ranked in the NCAA tournament. Too often, Providence would rely on being one of the “hottest” teams heading into March only to realize that a first round win as a 8-11 seed often meant they were facing off against a 1, 2, 3, or 4 seed in the Round of 32. That’s not a recipe for sustained success in the NCAA tournament, exemplified by Cooley’s below average March record at Providence.
I make mention of all of this because I’ll go on record stating that anything less than a Sweet 16 with this year’s roster is falling short of what this team should achieve. Coach Cooley, for all the negative things said about him, had this team and roster primed to make a serious run in 2023-2024. While English is in his first year coaching in arguably the toughest version of the Big East since its realignment, I do think Providence has a chance to be a second weekend type tournament team. Thus, it is imperative that PC comes out of the gates hot in non-conference play and doesn’t have to rely on playing catch-up in conference play.
Tell me if you’ve heard this before: a bunch of college athletic programs chasing the bag and the supposed greener pastures of major college football while simultaneously ignoring the negatives that surround that move for the rest of their athletic programs.
It’s conference realignment season once again. This time the PAC-12 is the conference that is feeling its wrath. The Conference of Champions is no more, and that is a bummer.
On June 24th, Kim English and staff landed their first high school commitment since taking over at PC in Daquan Davis. A month and some change later, English is back at it securing a commitment from Ryan Mela. Mela is a 6-6 wing from Natick, MA and attends The Newman School in Boston. He also plays AAU ball for the Middlesex Magic and is coming off a tournament win in the Under Armour U17 Tournament.
Garrett Sundra, playing for the powerhouse prep DMV program Paul VI, has come onto the scene as a modern big that so many programs seem to covet. Sundra recently released a Final 5 list of college programs, and Providence is in that grouping. As all Friar fans know, Providence is also fighting to win the recruiting battle for his teammates Isaiah Abraham and Patrick Ngonba. Suffice to say, Paul VI will be a nationally ranked high school program this upcoming year with all of the elite talent in the 2024 class.
It is time for Friar fans to become more familiar with Garrett Sundra, as he reminds me of another stretch 4 that helped lead Providence to a Sweet 16 just two years ago.
Kim English has had a heck of a start with his 2024 recruiting class, landing Baltimore point guard Daquan Davis. English is looking to build upon this momentum to get 2024 4 Star wing Isaiah Abraham also in the fold. Abraham hails from the DMV powerhouse Paul VI and is a name that has bubbled up to the top of the recruiting board as English looks to further ingrain Providence into the hotbed that is DMV prep basketball.
Below, we provide an overview of Abraham’s recruitment to date, his game, and how he’d fit within the Friar program.
English has been touting his recruiting chops in the DMV since he was hired at Providence, and his activity on the recruiting trail certainly back up those words. The Friar coaching staff has sent out a bevvy of offers in the DMV area in the 2024 and 2025 class, waiting for the first shoe to drop.
That first shoe has dropped, in a big way. Daquan Davis, a 4 star Top 100 point guard from Maryland, has committed to the Providence Friars. Davis was long considered a heavy lean to the home state Maryland Terrapins, but English’s dogged pursuit of Davis has paid off. There was an early May official visit with a certain teammate of his (which we’ll discuss later in this article) that seems to have flipped the script on Davis staying home. With this commitment, Coach Kim English has thrown down the gauntlet to all DMV schools that Providence is going to be a force to be reckoned with in the geographic area. The commitment of Davis is massive in and of itself, but the importance of a top tier DMV recruit committing to Providence cannot be overstated. This is the first of many dominos to fall, and I believe it will be the start of an incredibly strong DMV – PC pipeline moving forward.
Below, we break down Daquan Davis, what he brings to the court, and what his commitment means for the Providence program.
Michael is off galivanting in Europe, and we each wanted to provide some offseason fodder for the respective fanbases of the Big East. Below, we provide our way too early analysis of how the Big East will shake out and who will be the top individual award getters in the Big East. As it is about 6 months away from conference play, we are sure to be drastically incorrect in our assessment of the conference, but that’s what makes this exercise fun.
The hunt for a big man to spell Josh Oduro is finally over. After a few swing and misses at the plate for Kim English and Staff for a variety of reasons, the Friars were able to cement the back-up 5 spot for the 2023-2024 year. McNair Jr. is a rugged big man that will be expected to provide quality minutes in the frontcourt off the bench. He has one year of eligibility remaining after playing 3 years at New Mexico State and one year at Mississippi State.
Below, we break down what McNair Jr. will bring to the Friars.
On Tuesday 2024 point guard Del Jones released his top-8 schools that he is considering and Providence was one of them. Jones, from Arlington, VA and Compass Prep (AZ), is also considering Ole Miss, Tennessee, Oregon, West Virginia, Texas A&M, Clemson, and Arizona St.