2010-2011 Providence College Friars – Pre-Big East Review

WHAT I SAW: Coming into this season, there were few Friar fans that had high hopes for the 2010-2011 PC men’s basketball team.  The Friars roster consists of two seniors, Marshon Brooks and Ray Hall (I’m excluding Chris Carter), and the remaining 13 players are either sophomores or freshmen.  Even with sophomores Vincent Council, Bilal Dixon, and Duke Mondy seeing significant time the previous season, this team was as green as they come.  In order for the Friars to have any sort of success, they needed Marshon Brooks and Vincent Council to lead the team, and then receive significant contributions from Dixon, Mondy, and members of their freshman recruiting class (particularly Gerard Coleman).  So, what did we get?  Marshon Brooks is tenth in the country in scoring (second in the Big East) averaging 23.1 points per game and accompanies that with nearly nine rebounds and three assists per game.  Vincent Council is eighth in the nation, averaging nearly seven assists per game to go along with sixteen points and five rebounds.  Freshman Gerard Coleman is third on the team in scoring, averaging 10.4 points per game.  Redshirt freshman Kadeem Batts and Bilal Dixon have controlled the paint (when they have stayed out of foul trouble) defensively and have rebounded on both sides of the court.  Duke Mondy continues to improve defensively, and is beginning to find his stroke from beyond the arc.  Contributions from freshmen Bryce Cotton, Ron Giplaye, Dre Evans, and Lee Goldsborough have also been key elements0 to the Friars’ early season success.

It is no secret, the Friars do not play a very tough out-of-conference schedule.  But, when you play in the Big East, there is no need to play a tough out-of-conference schedule when you have anywhere from 6-10 ranked teams in your conference.  The Friars have jumped out to an 11-2 start, which is the best start to a season that I can remember.  Their only two loses came against La Salle and Boston College.  Keno Davis has this team playing very good basketball right now, and the Friars look poised and ready to start Big East play on December 28th at #5 Syracuse.

THE GOOD: What has been good so far this season for the Friars?  To start, the defense needs to be mentioned.  The Friars defensive statistics certainly do not jump out of the page at you because of their brilliance, but from where this team was to where they are now, the transition is pretty astounding.  Last season, the Friars were one of the worst defensive teams in the country, allowing opponents to score an abysmal 82.2 points per game against them.  Although they were also one of the highest scoring teams in the nation, often times when a stop was needed towards the end of the game, nobody from PC could get it done.  This season, the Friars are allowing 68.2 points per game.  That number is still high, but it is 14 points less that last season!  Aside from the statistics, the Friars have shown the ability to clamp-down defensively towards the end of games this entire season.  Late game defensive stops helped the Friars grab wins over Rhode Island, Alabama, Northeastern, and Wyoming.

If there is one person in the world that despises the way that Marshon Brooks plays basketball, it is me.  Ask anyone who attends games with me.  Every time Brooks touches the ball I make it a point to yell, “Marshon don’t pass!”  Brooks has the uncanny ability to pass when he should be shooting and to shoot when he should be passing, but I’ve got to give credit where credit is due.  Brooks has put the team on his back so far this season, and the results have been pretty damn good.  Not only has Marshon been scoring like a mad-man, but he has finally dedicated himself to rebounding, which has the potential to be one of the best parts of his game.

I’ve followed the Friars’ 2010 recruiting class ever since the 2009-2010 season ended.  When I saw that Keno Davis was able to recruit players with the ability level of Gerard Coleman, Dre Evans, and Ron Giplaye, I was very excited for the future of this team.  But, with freshmen comes inexperience and growing pains.  To my amazement, these kids have stepped in and contributed right away.  Coleman looks like a star in the making.  He is 6’4″ and a lean 170 lbs, but has a knack of getting to the rim and finishing amongst the bigs.  Bryce Cotton was a late recruiting addition after the loss of Joe Young, but the 6’0” Cotton has a ton of athleticism and his game is beginning to stretch beyond the arc.

THE BAD: Although the Friars are off to a great start, now that Big East play is upon us, there are certainly areas that need to be improved in order to see success in conference.  First, the bigs need to stay out of foul trouble.  Countless times have I taken my seat in the Dunk, watched the opening tip, and within two minutes Kadeem Batts is getting yanked because he picked up a foul or two.  This forced Brooks to move down to the four (and at 6’5” 190 lbs he is no 4) and puts more pressure on Dixon to block shots and rebound.  In order to compete in the Big East, the Friars need to have their full arsenal of big men available at all times (Dixon, Batts, Giplaye, Goldsborough, and Hall).

In classic Providence College fashion, the Friars have become accustomed to starting off slow and then rallying back in the second half to finish teams off.  Although their offense is capable of putting up points in a hurry, being down 10 points at the half to Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Villanova, Georgetown, etc doesn’t bode well for your chances of winning.  It is important for the Friars to come out of the gate, dictate the game to their pace, tire teams out, and then use their depth and youth to their advantage.

OUTLOOK: The Big East is loaded on a yearly basis, and this season they seem to be as stacked as ever.  Currently, there are 5 Big East teams ranked in the top 10 in the country, 7 total in the top 25 (ESPN poll), and another 2 receiving votes for the top 25.  That makes nine teams either in or considered for the top 25.  Anyways, the Friars are young and small, which are two things that you do not want to be when playing such stiff competition.  That being said, I think that this team is talented enough to at least compete in the games against the top tier teams, and should be able to win their fair share of contests against the rest of the league.  The most important thing for PC is for them to beat the teams that they should.  The Friars need to beat teams like Rutgers, DePaul, South Florida, Seton Hall, and St. John’s.  As usual, the Friars have a tough schedule, and their road games will seriously test this team’s youth.

PREDICTION: 19-12 (8-10 Big East) – 10th in the Big East

NOTABLE GAMES:

December 28th @ #5 Syracuse (9pm)

January 4th vs. #6 Pittsburgh (7pm)

January 13th @ West Virginia (7pm)

January 22nd vs. #25 Louisville (5pm)

January 26th vs. #8 Villanova (7pm)

February 5th @ #9 Georgetown (12 pm)

February 13th @ #4 Connecticut (7pm)

February 19th vs. Cincinnati (7pm)

February 23rd vs. #20 Notre Dame (7pm)

February 27th @ Marquette (4pm)

March 2nd @ #25 Louisville (7pm)

For the remainder of the season, I will be posting a recap of every game that the Friars play.  So, if you are a Friar faithful like I am, make sure to stop by NTCF after all PC’s games.

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3 Responses

  1. […] the Common Fan: 2010-2011 Providence College Friars – Pre-Big East Review If there is one person in the world that despises the way that Marshon Brooks plays basketball, it […]

  2. Def agree here.As a fellow season ticket holder I have seen every home game and As President of the Kadeem “the dreem” Batts fan club he needs to stay away from stupid fouls.

  3. ya i have season tickets and i think that ray hall should be in more, when the other team is dominating the boards. i personaly am not a fan of kadeem batts because he misses layups and tries shooting 3’s. leave that to marshon

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