Friar Basketball

Some Offseason Motivation for the Friars

AJ Reeves

It’s early, but it appears as though motivation won’t be hard to find for the 2020-21 Friars.

The Athletic’s Eamonn Brennan does fantastic work covering the entire college basketball landscape, and was a big proponent of the Big East during his ESPN days at a time when the worldwide leader wasn’t particularly kind to the conference.

Brennan penned an early projection of next year’s Big East, ranking Providence seventh in the now 11 team league. He wrote of the Friars, “Call this the Ed Cooley vote of confidence. In other words, on paper it is hard to make the case for Providence as anything other than a rebuilding Big East bottom-feeder in 2020-21. The number of key departures here is staggering: Alpha Diallo, Luwane Pipkins, Maliek White and Khalif Young, all starters, have graduated, alongside reliable reserve big Emmitt Holt. Together, that group formed the core of a team that found a way to resurrect its 2019-20 season in Big East play, and became a surefire NCAA Tournament team by the time the season was called off.”

He continued, “The pieces picked to replace those guys have nothing close to their experience. David Duke is the lone returning starter; fortunately, he was the Friars’ best perimeter shooter, which, given the team’s general shooting struggles already this season, certainly helps. AJ Reeves and Nate Watson both featured off the bench. Jared Bynum and Noah Horchler are both promising players who posted quality numbers at points on their previous stops (Saint Joseph’s, North Florida) but remain essentially unproven at this level. That goes for the rest of the roster too.”

It’s not unfair to note that Providence lost a lot. They rode Alpha Diallo and Luwane Pipkins offensively during the team’s February and March resurgence. Yet, Brennan is underselling PC’s returning experience. AJ Reeves has started 37 games in his first two years on campus. Nate Watson has 42 starts under his belt.

And while it’s true that Noah Horchler and Jared Bynum are stepping up in class, Horchler has started nearly 60 games and put up numbers against the likes of Florida State, Florida and Dayton (going up against Obi Toppin). Bynum logged huge minutes (36.6 per game) and starts (31) as a freshman in the Atlantic 10 at St. Joe’s.

Maybe the phrase “rebuilding bottom feeder” stood out, but this preview seemed particularly down on the Friars.

For the record, Villanova was ranked first (as they should be), Creighton second (the Jays should be very good, despite the loss of Ty-Shon Alexander), Seton Hall third (which seems high considering the losses of Myles Powell and Romaro Gill), UConn fourth, Marquette fifth (dependent on Koby McEwen and Brendan Bailey emerging from the sizable shadow of Markus Howard and superstar freshman Dawson Garcia playing like a superstar), and Xavier sixth (the emergence of KyKy Tandy and Zack Freemantle as sophomores will be essential).


Yurview’s Adam Finkelstein re-ranked New England’s recruiting class of 2018, which featured Duke and Reeves. Finkelstein quite fairly ranks Creighton’s Marcus Zegarowski first and Duke second, while Reeves is slotted eighth. That’s three spots behind Villanova’s Cole Swider who Reeves has averaged more points and rebounds as both a freshman and sophomore. Reeves has shot .362 from deep, while Swider is shooting .331 through the first two seasons of their careers.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login