#94 Providence: 2010-11 Basketball Preview
Overall Rank: #94
Conference Rank: #13 Big East Conference
2009-10: 12-19, 4-14
2009-10 postseason: none
Coach: Keno Davis (31-33 at Providence, 59-38 overall)
This is finally becoming Coach Keno Davis’ team. After failing to meet expectations last season, the Providence roster is littered with freshmen and sophomores, Coach Davis’ recruits. Now it is time to see improvement and figure out if the Coach Davis experiment is going to work or not. With so many young players on the squad, do not expect much from the Friars, but they should be better than last year.
Key Losses: G Sharaud Curry, G Brian McKenzie, F Jamine Peterson
There are a ton of newcomers, but the most important positions to fill right now are at shooting guard and power forward. Gerald Coleman and Joe Young are highly touted shooting guards who should be able to step right in and play some quality minutes and knock down some outside shots. The list of guards continues with Dre Evans, Xavier Davis and walk-on Mike Murray. The power forward spot has a few more issues, but just as many options. The class lacks a great recruit like Coleman or Young to fill in up front. Kadeem Betts may be the best bet, but Lee Goldsbrough, Brice Kofane and Ron Giplaye will look to fill the void as well. If Betts, or anybody else, fail to secure the starting job it may turn into a case of musical chairs at the power forward spot.
Duke Mondy did not have the best freshman campaign, but he will see some time on the perimeter. His inconsistent outside shooting last year could take him out of the race for a starting job, but he can do much better than 26.8 percent from beyond the arc. In any event, he will be in the mix at shooting guard and as a backup point guard and his one year in the system gives him a head start on all of the newcomers. Vincent Council had a much more productive freshman campaign and ended the season averaging 10.3 points, 4.5 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals. The 6-2 point guard only started eight games and was a superb sixth man all of last season. Now it is his time to take over the leadership role and continue his productivity from a starting role.
The frontcourt returns Bilal Dixon who started 30 of the team’s 31 games last season. The 6-9, 245 pound sophomore showed up on campus and was ready to hit the glass hard and block a ton of shots. His 8.2 points per game were a pleasant surprise. If he can develop another post move or two and do a little more scoring on top of his usual solid defense, it will really open up the offense. Considering how well he did as a freshman, there is little reason to doubt that Dixon cannot be the interior scorer that this team lacked last season. The problem with the frontcourt is just about nobody else returns. Ray Hall is a senior who can eat up some fouls, but he has rarely played during his career at Providence and only saw action in 11 games last year. Assuming Hall does not have a breakout season, it will be up to the freshmen to start beside Dixon and give him a break when necessary.
Who to Watch:
Marshon Brooks is the team’s best returning scorer and a very versatile athlete. After averaging 14.2 points and 4.2 rebounds last year, the 6-5 wing will be asked to do a lot during his senior campaign. Brooks spends a lot of time out on the perimeter and is a pretty good three-point shooter, but he could use his size more often and attack the basket with more ferocity. And in a pinch, Brooks could even be asked to play the four spot. That would not be good for Brooks or the team since it would mean the newcomers are not pulling their weight, but if the freshmen in the backcourt turn out to be as good as advertised, that may be the only way Coach Davis can get his best five players on the floor.
This team has scoring options despite the loss of three starters. It is even a group that should fit better into the philosophy brought in by Coach Davis. That will not lead to a Big East title any time soon, or even an NCAA Tournament appearance, but this should be a better Friar team and a postseason berth of some sort should be the goal.
Projected Post-season Tournament: CBI/CIT
Projected Starting Five:
Vincent Council, Sophomore, Guard, 10.3 ppg
Gerald Coleman, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Marshon Brooks, Senior, Guard, 14.2 ppg
Kadeem Betts, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season
Bilal Dixon, Sophomore, Forward, 8.2 ppg
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