Big East Preview: Providence College Friars

Providence College Friars
Courtesy: Providence College website

The Providence College Friars return to the court soon to defend their Big East regular season title, but there are a whole lot of questions about Ed Cooley’s current squad. The Friars had, arguably, their best season ever under Cooley in the 2021-2022 season. The Friars won the Big East regular season title and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament before falling to North Carolina. But, with all the personnel changes, can the Friars replicate that success? Or is it back behind Villanova for PC?


The Providence College Friars took a hit with the players who recorded the top four minute totals last season leaving. Al Durham, Noah Horchler, Nate Watson and Justin Minaya are all gone. Durham led the team in rebounding in 2021-2022 season. Horchler played the most minutes and logged the most rebounds; and Watson and Minaya each logged major minutes and contributed to the team’s overall success. All four averaged 33 minutes a game. That’s going to be hard to replace. On top of those four, A. J. Reeves, who led the team in three point shooting last season, is also gone. Ed Cooley will have to pull his best coaching job yet to fill those shoes.


While the offseason wasn’t kind to PC, Point Guard Jared Bynum is returning to Providence. He finished last season with 12.2 points per game, good enough for third on the team. He’s going to have to step it up this season if the Friars want to repeat as Big East Regular Season Champs. Five other players are returning, but only Ed Crosswell and Alyn Breed saw significant action last season. PC will need more than those three to compete in the Big East this season.


The Providence College Friars are welcoming seven new players to help bolster the Friars lineup each and every night. Ed Cooley has managed to recruit two Freshmen point guards in Jayden Pierre and Quante Berry. Pierre is a top 200 recruit, but it appears he and Berry are not likely to see a lot of playing time this season. It could be interesting to see what these two do in future seasons, however.

Five transfers are also making their way to Providence. Clifton Moore and Noah Locke are grad transfers with only one year of eligibility left. They will be looking to make the most of their time in the Big East after transferring from La Salle and Louisville, respectively. Three second year transfers are also making their way to Providence; Devin Carter, Bryce Hopkins and Corey Floyd. Floyd presents the most interesting dynamic as he’s transferring from conference rival Connecticut, but didn’t take the floor for them last season.


Another major change for the Friars is the name of their arena. Dunkin’ Donuts gave up sponsorship of the old Rhode Island Convention Center over the summer and Amica Mutual Insurance took over. The Dunkin’ Donuts Center is now the Amica Mutual Pavilion meaning it’s not the Dunk. It’s the Amp. While the name on the arena will have no bearing on how the Friars play, it is a small change PC fans will have to get used to this season.


The honest truth is PC has struggled since Rick Pitino left. They had some bright years here and there, but the Friars struggled until Ed Cooley arrive bringing stability and consistency. Providence has made multiple trips to the NCAA tournament under Cooley; won the Big East regular season title last year; and advanced to the Sweet 16. Providence has been constantly good, but not quite good enough under Cooley. Most years they trail behind bigger basketball powers like Villanova. PC needs to take that next step, but I don’t think this is the year they do it. I’m still predicting the Friars to make the NCAA tournament as an at-large, but I see them losing early this year.

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