Top-50 Team Countdown: #37.Providence Friars
The Friars enter into this season with a revamped roster, as three of their top four scorers from last year are gone and the Friars are now going to be reliant on younger players. The Friars will now need players like Alpha Diallo and Emmitt Holt to have big seasons this year. The Friars also should expect players like Isaiah Jackson, Maliek White, Kalif Young, and Makai Ashton-Langford to all take steps forward. The Friars also have two Top-50 recruits in David Duke and AJ Reaves who should both contribute in year one.
The Friars lose a great point guard in Kyron Cartwright from last year, meaning that there will be a competition to see who will be the starting point guard for the Friars this season. Makai Ashton-Langford should start the season as the starting point guard, although he might have a tight leash with David Duke potentially coming up. Duke is a versatile player who can play the point guard and also play off the ball while being a rim-attacker. Senior guard Isaiah Jackson will likely start at one of the guard positions as he brings some experience that the Friars will likely need to be a good team this season. Alpha Diallo will be the go-to scorer this season for the Friars, as he is a scoring guard, who can defend multiple positions. Diallo is very switchable on defense because of his length and size, which will allow Ed Cooley to play him at the four at times this season. AJ Reaves is a lengthy guard, who has an elite shooting ability, which will help the Friars space the floor. Drew Edwards and Maliek White both are junior guards who are both looking to make strides this season and crack the rotation. Overall this is one of the deepest backcourts in the Big East, which will be key if the Friars are going to make it to the NCAA Tournament.
The Friars lost a lot with Jalen Lindsey and Rodney Bullock graduating but they do have Emmitt Holt coming back from injury this season. Holt is an undersized four, who can hit shots and rebound at a good rate, which will be helpful along with his leadership ability. The Friars will likely see junior big man Kalif Young start at Center, his interior presence will be key for the Friars this season. Nate Watson will likely come off the bench to start the season, although his interior scoring ability will get him minutes. One of either Young or Watson will be on the court at all times this season for the Friars, while you could see them potentially playing together at times. Jimmy Nichols and Kris Monroe might get a few minutes this season but they won’t be consistently seeing minutes. Overall this frontcourt has the size to hurt teams down low, which could be helpful in some conference matchups.
The Friars have a few tough non-conference games that will challenge them before heading into Big East play where anything goes. The Friars will play Wichita State in the Veterans Classic while playing South Carolina and either George Washington or Michigan in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off. They’ll play Rhode Island at home this year, while they’ll play at Boston College and at Texas in non-conference play. The Friars start Big East play at home against Creighton on December 31st and will end the season March 9th against Butler at home. The Big East Tournament runs March 13th-16th, with the NCAA Tournament starting on March 19h if the Friars make it there.
What to expect this season
The Friars should start the season off with some struggles as they look to mesh together their talent, although they should start to mesh around Big East play. Once in Big East play the Friars should start to find what works and they will become a top-half Big East team. The Friars should be a top-tier Big East team this season, which will get them into the NCAA Tournament for the sixth year in a row.
PG: Makai Ashton-Langford
SG: Isaiah Jackson
SF: Alpha Diallo
PF: Emmitt Holt
C: Kalif Young
Key Reserves: David Duke, Drew Edwards, Maliek White, AJ Reaves, Nate Watson
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