Monday, October 12, 2009

Preview 2009-10 -- Providence Friars

Too Busy for the Details?
The Class of 2009 made the NIT twice during it's time in Friartown, disappointing when compared to the promise they offered in their debut back in 2006. With their loss in the 1st round of the NIT last March they passed into the record books, lasting a season longer than the coach who recruited them. They leave behind a new coach, and their point guard, a player around whom Keno Davis can begin the rebuilding process. Next season may be a bit tough for the Friar fans to watch, but at least they go in with no illusions. Prognosis -- A 4th quartile finish.

3 Years At a Glance
The Class of 2009 brought Providence most of their starting lineup, scorers in the front court (Geoff McDermott) and the back court (Weymini Efejuku) and rebounders (McDermott & Jon Kale). The Class of 2009 made an impact with their presence. And in 2010 the impact will come from their absence.


Sharaud Curry's red shirt in 2008 may have snuffed Tim Welsh's lasts hopes for a longer coaching tenure, but it may salvage a modicom of Friar self respect in 2010. The high percentage of returning 3s reflects the return of Providence's back court and wing starters. The big vacancies in 2010, and hence the opportunities, will come in the front court (notice the very low percentage of returning rebounds?).

According to Pomeroy...
Overall ORtg110.552110.460112.258
Overall DRtg99.313197.19596.990
Big East ORtg106.29102.711102.27
Big East DRtg108.614108.613100.510
Four Factors -- Overall
All Off. eFG%50.610451.510653.739
All Off. TOv%19.712820.817123.6283
All Off. OReb%36.35936.06241.35
All Off. FTA/FGA39.58732.326734.5208
All Def. eFG%50.523550.318949.2109
All Def. TOv%20.118121.911720.0223
All Def. OReb%36.530236.129633.2152
All Def. FTA/FGA29.12437.118133.4101
Four Factors -- Big East
BE Off. eFG%52.2551.4551.63
BE Off. TOv%19.31120.81123.415
BE Off. OReb%33.61132.21038.24
BE Off. FTA/FGA41.2432.21323.510
BE Def. eFG%51.01249.2848.69
BE Def. TOv%18.21019.8718.212
BE Def. OReb%38.01438.91632.610
BE Def. FTA/FGA28.6340.51132.610
All Gms Cons21.422421.621621.8222
All Gms Luck+.02380-.036248-.033229

Davis' 2009 squad, largely the same squad that took the court for the 2008 season (absent Dwain Williams, an outbound transfer and Greedy Peterson, a red shirt) nevertheless managed to improve their shooting and turnover percentage. The 2010 squad will feature many new faces in the frontcourt -- rebounding trends (largely unchanged over the past 2 seasons) are therefore, not predictive for 2010.

For the Record...
Big East1080.5566120.333880.500
Post Season?NIT/Rnd 1BET/Rnd 1NIT/Rnd 1

Davis was able to improve the Friar's won/loss record, using the same personnel as the Tim Welsh teams of 2007 and 2008 (with the return of Sharaud Curry), should be taken as a good sign. The Friar teams of 2010 and beyond should more closely reflect Coach Davis' style of play and philosophy of the game.

The Friar's Nucleus
With the graduation of the Class of 2009, Coach Davis has a rebuilding job in 2010. He does however, have a few Tim Welsh holdovers to build around...

On Offense

Brooks was a mainstay ("Major Contributor") in the Friar offense in 2009, chances his role will expand are slim; Curry by his numbers however, shows the potential to take on more, and assuming he will be 100% for 2010, will most likely take more shots and possessions. McKenzie took a step back last season but, finding himself at the top of the depth chart on the wing, ought to buy him some long looks from the staff. He has "extended range" on his 3s, a skill valued by Coach Davis.

On Defense
Sharaud Curry79.25.423.419.40.01.8
Marshon Brooks52.510.912.515.03.12.6
Brian McKenzie47.410.49.621.40.51.7

Significant Additions
The Friars may need name tags for the first few team practices. Coach Davis will blend three red shirts, freshman Bilal Dixon, a 6-8, 228 lbs forward out of Queen of Peace HS in New York City, junior Jamine Peterson, a 6-6 225 lbs forward and junior 6-11 265 lbs center Ray Hall, with seven newcomers, that number two JUCOs and five true freshmen. Peterson and Dixon will be crucial, as the Friars have a huge need for front court players. Peterson has a #3's body but a #4's game and mentality. Under the right circumstances Peterson may develop a productive role with the Friars next season.

Front court JUCOs Russ Permenter, a 6-7 225lbs #4 out of Temple College TX and an undersized, (6-5 200 lbs) #4, Kyle Wright out of Monroe CC in New York will see playing time early and often in the season. Of the true freshmen, 6-2 pg Vincent Council, a 5th year prep student out of the Patterson HS in North Carolina is held in the high regard by scouting services, as is 5-11 160 pound point guard Johnnie Lacy, a 5th year prep out of Notre Dame Prep in Massachussetts. Together Lacy and Council will no doubt provide good back up for Curry, and log some minutes in the off guard spot. The cohort's two front court players, Kadeem Batts, a 6-7 215 lbs #4 and James Still, a 6-8 205 lbs #5 seem undersized for the Big East. Given Providence's need and Davis' offensive philosophy and background (Drake out of the Missouri Valley Conference), it would not be surprising to see both used.

Explode If...
1. Ok, maybe not explode, but if Curry, McKenzie and Brooks can improve their outside shooting, they will definitely divert defensive attention from their less experienced under class teammates. Those three took a collective 49.7% of their FGAs from beyond the arc, but managed only a disappointing 33.2% conversion rate. These three also did not get to the line much -- only 18.3% of their points came at the charity stripe. These guys have the talent, and an experienced pg to set the table. Davis has to find some plays to give them good looks.
2. The front court gels. Really, really well.

Implode If...
A head coach (in his third year as a DI head coach no less) heads into his second Big East season with a squad that has 3 players (all new or back from a red shirt) 6-9 or taller, looking to his 4 Big East veteran players (all back court/wings) around which he will build his second team. Not a pretty picture. What defense can the Friars install that will divert attention away from their young low post presence?

Crucial Run/Bellweather Games
Providence will open the season with three games in the World Vision Invitational, hosting DI newbie Bryant University, Patriot League mainstay Bucknell and Mercer out of the The Friars have been faithful keepers of the flame for New England basketball, and will continue their local rivalries with Boston College, Brown and Rhode Island. Look for how the Friars handle those games, as Boston College is rebuilding, the Rams return a veteran squad (about 2/3 of the minutes from their 2009 squad -- Jimmy Baron the big loss) and the Bears, like the Friars, will have a lot of new faces to work into their rotation. 3-0 against the locals would be very good news. Providence will travel to Alabama in late November to face a rebuilding (under new coach Anthony Grant) Crimson Tide squad and down to Washington DC in December to face the A10's George Washington. Both games, against less-than-ready competition should provide road experience the Friars can use as they open the Big East season with two road games.

The Notre Dame stop on their opening road trip should be informative for both the Friars and Fighting Irish. Both teams are replacing important members of their respective squads (though for Notre Dame, the task appears a bit less daunting). The second stop, at St. John's, however, may say more about Johnnies' prospects than the Friars. St. John's points to 2010 as the season they move up in the conference, and a loss to the Friars would throw an early damper on the Storm's expectations. For the Friars however, a win in the Big Apple would be an unexpected lift. The four game run from January 9th to January 23rd -- a pair of home bookends (versus Rutgers and South Florida) that enclose a midwinter Midwestern road trip to Marquette and DePaul -- will tell us quite a bit about the Friar's prospects even as it provides a hint or two on how the conference's 4th quartile will sort out. Should the Friars run the table they will most likely finish with a 12th or 13th seed to the Big East Tournament, as they have another home game in which they should be favored (and a road game at South Florida). And a 6 win conference season, with a squad that has 3 players who measure 6-9 or taller (6-11 junior redshirt Ray Hall), would not be a bad thing. If Davis' squad really gels, late season (home) matchups with a rebuilding Syracuse and an interesting Seton Hall squad offer possibilities.

No comments: