Friar Basketball

On Creighton and New England Freshmen Impacting the Big East

Big East Freshmen NE

New England prep schools were strongly represented in Creighton’s 79-68 win over Providence on Monday night. At one point in the second half, five former NEPSAC stars were on the floor at the same time — PC’s Alpha Diallo (Brewster Academy), Makai Ashton-Langford (Brewster Academy), and David Duke (Cushing Academy), and Creighton’s Kaleb Joseph (Cushing Academy) and Marcus Zegarowski (Tilton School).

I’ve been an unabashed Zegarowski fan after watching him star at Tilton the last two years. His first scholarship offer came in 2015 from former Friar assistant, and now Towson head coach, Pat Skerry, and by 2017 the high major offers came flooding in. Zegarowski turned himself into a borderline top 100 recruit (#100 on ESPN, #110 on 247) by the end of his prep career and there’s a fair argument he should have been rated even higher.

Last season Zegarowski was named NEPSAC AA Player of the Year, and led Tilton to the AA title. Tilton defeated a St. Andrew’s team that featured Villanova freshman Cole Swider and Syracuse pledge Brycen Goodine in the championship. Prior to the final, Zegarowski scored an astounding 57 points in the AA semifinals against a talented South Kent squad (St. Andrew’s pulled out a narrow win in the other semifinal over Duke and Cushing).

Yesterday, we saw a little bit of everything that makes Zegarowski so good. He’s blindingly quick with the ball, finished a tough lefty layup, made a pair of contested 3s, and sealed the win for Creighton with a steal at the 3:30 mark. PC had just cut Creighton’s lead to seven on an Ashton-Langford 3, and got a stop on the ensuing possession, but Zegarowski anticipated the play and came flying in for the swipe. His instincts and quickness were on full display on that play.

Between AJ Reeves, Duke, Swider, Zegarowski, and Anthony Nelson (Seton Hall/South Kent), the New England class of 2018 will be well represented in the Big East. And with that these players will have been competing against each other in high school, the summer circuit, and in college.

Kris Dunn spoke last week of how much he disliked Villanova’s Ryan Arcidiacono during their college days (the two are now teammates in Chicago), and it isn’t hard to imagine that these kids from the 2018 New England class will be pretty sick of seeing each other by the end of their college careers. Swider ended Duke’s season last year, Zegarowski ended Swider’s and Nelson’s, and the year prior Duke’s Cushing team beat Tilton and Zegarowski in the championship

We saw a bit more edge from Duke yesterday, who was more aggressive offensively in the second half.

Joseph buried a big second half 3 that must have felt good. PC recruited Joseph heavily before he committed to Syracuse. After Joseph transferred following his sophomore season a source outside of the Providence program told me that Joseph expressed interest in coming to PC, but the feeling was not reciprocated. The hard feelings may have passed over time, but the source insisted they certainly existed at the time.

While Joseph graduates this spring, the freshmen from New England have the makings of foundational players in the Big East. Reeves won three of the first four newcomer of the week awards before injuring his foot, Duke has been a starter from day one, and Zegarowski is averaging more than 10 points per game while shooting over 50% from the field and from 3. Playing time hasn’t been as plentiful for Swider or Nelson, but rest assured the highly-touted Swider will eventually have an impact with his shooting acumen.

Friar fans won’t have to wait long to see another member of New England’s class of 2018. Villanova comes to the Dunk on Saturday and Seton Hall will be at Providence in mid-January.

Tip-ins

After going 4-14 from 3-point range in the first half, Creighton buried nine 3s in the second. That includes a stretch in which they hit nine of ten. As a team, the Bluejays are shooting 52% from the field overall, just under 45% from 3, and make 12 threes a game. Against PC, Creighton hit 13 threes, making them at a shade under 45%…

A troubling sign for Providence was their inability to score against a team that is last in field goal percentage defense in the Big East (.455) by a fairly sizable margin. The Friars are currently shooting a league-worst .447 from the field. Reeves’ absence showed up on Monday…

Ed Cooley thought his team’s 10 day layoff may have played some role in their slow offensive start. Cooley also emphasized the fact that when his teams have been successful against Creighton in the past they’ve defended the arc well. Creighton went 7-27 from 3 in PC’s win at the Dunk last year, and 6-23 in the Big East Quarterfinals. The year prior Providence won in Omaha, as Creighton went 6-16 from deep…

PC isn’t going to win many games giving up nearly 40 points from beyond the arc…

Another day, another step forward for sophomore Makai Ashton-Langford. The Worcester native had 10 points and 3 assists, while making 2-4 from 3 off of the bench. Ashton-Langford and Maliek White (13 points, 6-11) continue to elevate their play in Reeves’ absence. White’s vicious dunk late in the first half woke what had been a sleepy crowd…

Alpha Diallo once against gave Creighton fits with an 18 point, 10 rebound double double, but PC failed to establish Nate Watson (2-3 from the floor), and Isaiah Jackson struggled (1-6) after putting together a pair of great games against the Jays last season.

Twitter: Kevin_Farrahar

3 Comments

  1. Derec Lamendola

    January 2, 2019 at 4:58 am

    Providence College Men’s Baaketball Provdence College Men’s Baaketball Has To Do Something Hear Ugenst Villanova This Saturday And Ed Cooley Beddter Do MY Plerys This Week Tommerrrow Thursday Friday And We Need
    AJ Reeveris TO Come Back This Week And I Won’t AJ Reeveris Coms Back This Friday And Come On Now,And We

    Need Providence College Men’s Baaketball Emmitt Holt Back And We Need Emmitt Holt Come Back And Work On Emmitt Holt And Emmitt Holt Has To Take A Work On Him And Emmitt Holt Has To Get Back In The Wight Room Saying Tommerrrow iS Wedensday All Day I Won’t Emmitt Holt In The Wight Room Saying Tommerrrow Thursday Friday And Becth Press Shower Pres Incline Press And Get BIGER And BIGER And BIGER BIGER Understand Me What Happin To Emmitt Holt We Need Him Back In The Wight Doing Stuff And Lets Do That Wedensday Thursday Friday Emmitt Holt In The Wight And So We Can Get Redey For Saturday And We Need Providence College Men’s Baaketball In The 2 Place And And Becuaee I Won’t Providence College Men’s Baaketball In The 2 Place Now Do,You Undertsan Me And Lets Get Going This Week We Need Emmitt Holt AJ Reeveris Coms Back On Friday Plerys OK

    Makai Ashton Langford Makai Ashton Langford Has To Do Well In The BIG East And Makai Ashton Langfrod IS Doing Much Beddteder In The BIG East Conference And Becuaee Providence College Men’s Baaketball Friar Baaketball Providence College Men’s Bakaetball Derec Lamemdola iS Going Back To Providence When The Plerys GO Back To School And Makai Ashton Langfrod Has To Do Something And Get TO Work This Week And I’m Am Servis Makai Ashton Langfrod Get Your Thing Going And I Won’t Makai Ashton Langfrod TO Stay Next Year Plerys I Won’t Makai Ashton Langfrod TO Stay Next Year For Me Plerys I’m Am Servis I Domt Won’t Makai Ashton Langfrod To Life Me And Bscusee That WIll Hert Me Providence College Men’s Baksetball Providence College Men’s Basketball Has To Win Thery Conferntis BIG East Conference I Don’t Won’t Be In The 9 Th Place Are You Kdding I Won’t Move UP 1 Place

  2. Anonymous

    January 3, 2019 at 12:27 am

    Creighton’s guard play was better than the Friars and our bigs were invisible. Jackson was not himself at all. Creighton played quicker and with purpose. What hurt the Friars most, was their inability to stop Creighton from answering every big play the they made. Frustrating for fans but had to kill any MoJo PC may have had. Alpha, Duke and Makai were steady!! The rest not so much. Really is another learning experience for this very young team!! GO
    FRIARS BABY!!

  3. Derec Lamendola

    January 3, 2019 at 4:15 am

    That’s Righ And Becuaee And I Think That Providence College Men’s Basketball Has To Do Something Tommerrrow,
    In Pertasking And Friday And Becuaee We Have TO Do Something I Chek The BIG East Stanings Tonight And Becusee Providence College Men’s Baskstball Move UP The 8 Place The BIG East Staings Right Now And We Are All Good Now And Becusee And Chek The BIG East Satungs And Becusee This Good I Dear And We Are NOT In The
    9 Th Place And I Don’t Won’t Providence College Men’s Baksetball Be In The 9 Place And I Don’t Won’t Be In The 10 Place And Becusee Becusee That’s A Good Help OUT That Villanova Help US And Becusee Saturday IS Coming And Derec Lamemdola Beddter Get To Work Tonight And Becuaee I’m Doing ALOT Plerys For Ed Cooley Has To Get Redey For Villanova Game On Saturday And Ed Cooley Has To FORKIS Tommerrrow Friday And Get To Work And We Need AJ Reeveris Coms Bask Were IS Emmitt Holt And What Happin TO Emmitt Holt And What’s His Perbum And Becusee Ths IS Redcliks Amd We Need Emmitt Holt Come Back In The BIG East Some One Has To Call,UP,Ed Cooley Find OUT About Emmitt Holt And That’s Hert US And We Need Him Back In Chape And Be Back To Numal And Emmitt Holt Has To Get Back On Wight Room And Do Something And Becuaee He Needs To Come Back You Know I Meen And Makai Ashton Langfrod IS Doing Good Has. A Sophomore This Year You Know I Meen And Makai Ashton Langfrod Has To Get Redey On Saturday Ed Cooley Needs To Purt Makai Ashton Langfrod In The Starting Line UP You Know I Meen And LETSGOOOOOOOOOOOOO Hear And Makai Ashton Langfrod Be Redey Come On

    Providence College Men’s Baksetball Providence College Men’s Baaketball IS Doing ALOT Bender And I Won’t Come To New York And Derec Lamemdla Works To Come To The Madison Sqwere Garding This Year And Becuaee I Won’t GO To The BIG East Tourmment And Becusee I Won’t To And I Won’t Some One Take A Picksher OF Derec Lamemdola,In The Tuniel On Saturday With Ed Cooley Amd Purt On The NBC 10 News And Becusee I Got To Be Back On That NBC 10 News You Know I Meen And I Won’t Makai Ashton Langfrod Don’t Lefving Providence College Men’s Basketball And Becuaee Some One Has To Call UP Ed Cooley And Figer OUT And We Beddter Do Something Saturday You Know I Meen Remeber Last Year The BIG East Championship That’s NOT Good I Was Mad Last Year And New York Jus Like That IS Coming To The Dunk And I Won’t The All Dunk Say This IS Derec Lamemdola Dunk And I’m The Maer And I’m Am Maer AT Dunk And I’m Am Maer AT Madison Sqwere Garding TO Has Well

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