#62 Providence Men's Basketball 2016-2017 Preview

Providence Friars
2016-2017 Overall Rank: #62
Conference Rank: #7 Big East
Providence had a very good 2015-2016 campaign, finishing with 24 wins overall and a win in the NCAA Tournament. The Friars were part of a surprisingly strong Big East and they picked up a nice win over USC in the NCAAs. Providence and Coach Ed Cooley hope to build off of that success, but there are some huge losses. Rodney Bullock will need to step up and become the face of the program. The 6-8 junior returned from a couple years of injury and did a great job in the Friars frontcourt. He averaged 11.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and a team high 1.3 blocks. If the offense can work through Bullock, the Friars may not take as big of a step back as some expect.
2015-16 Record: 24-11, 10-8
2015-16 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Ed Cooley
Coach Record: 103-67 at Providence, 195-136 overall
Who’s Out:
But losing Ben Bentil and Kris Dunn is huge. Those two did so much for the program and it will be extremely difficult for the Friars to immediately replace their production and leadership. Bentil, a 6-9 forward, averaged 21.1 points and 7.7 rebounds during his sophomore season and was selected 51st overall in the NBA Draft. Dunn averaged 16.4 points and 6.2 assists and was a very dynamic scorer. He too left early for the NBA and was selected fifth overall. As if losing those two was not enough, Junior Lomomba and Quadree Smith also left the program. Lomomba started 34 games and averaged 5.3 points per game. He was not a consistent offensive threat, but he was one of the few players who could attack the basket effectively. Smith, along with Tyree Chambers, saw fewer minutes, but Smith could have emerged as a force in the paint.
Who’s In:
Coach Cooley will need some production out of his newcomers, especially the two with experience. Isaiah Jackson is a big 6-6 guard who spent some time at George Mason where he averaged 8.7 points per game during his freshman campaign. With his size, Jackson is a very versatile guard who can knock down shots and attack the basket effectively. The other transfer comes from the junior college ranks via Indiana. Emmitt Holt did average 3.6 points and 3.0 rebounds in regular action with the Hoosiers as a freshman before heading to Indian Hill Community College. The 6-7 forward is a tough rebounder and a very efficient scorer around the basket. Holt, like Jackson, will likely step right into the starting five. Four incoming freshmen will compete for minutes too. Bryan Donovan, Maliek White and Alpha Diallo will compete for minutes on the perimeter. White is the highest regarded newcomer and will compete for major minutes right away. The 6-2 point guard can also score enough to spend some time off of the ball and that is important for a team that needs to replace Dunn. Diallo should play a big part on the team too. He is another big guard who can attack the basket. Kalif Young is another talented freshman. The 6-9, 250 pound forward has some talent in front of him, but he also has the skill to make an impact right away.
Who to Watch:
The perimeter lost a superstar with Dunn, but the unit is in pretty good shape. Kyron Cartwright has waited his turn to take over a full-time starting role and the junior point guard is more than ready for it. Last season he averaged 5.9 points and 4.0 assists. He may not emerge as a consistent double digit scorer, but he will definitely help Providence find some new scorers. Jalen Lindsey may not be the scoring answer either if his outside shot does not improve. He connected on just 26.9 percent of his 145 three-point attempts. Lindsey is a big, versatile guard though who can play the two, three or four spots. Drew Edwards was in the regular rotation last season too and averaged 2.4 points per game. His outside shooting was inconsistent, but with a year of experience under his belt, the sophomore could be more productive in 2016-2017.
Final Projection:
Providence always seems to find a surprise new star or two. It has been Dunn and Bentil recently and now they can find some more. There may not be anybody on the roster who is going to average 21.1 or 16.4 points this year, but nobody has to either. There are enough options on this team that the scoring can be much more balanced than it has been over the last couple of years. With plenty of options on the perimeter and in the frontcourt, which includes sophomore Ryan Fazekas who showed flashes as a freshman, Coach Cooley will have trouble working out his regular rotation. And that is a good problem to have. There is a ton of potential depth and versatility and Providence should be able to find a new identity even without Dunn and Bentil. However, that will take some time and by then the NCAA Tournament may be out of reach.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
Kyron Cartwright, Junior, Guard, 5.9 points per game
Isaiah Jackson, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Jalen Lindsey, Junior, Guard, 7.0 points per game
Rodney Bullock, Junior, Forward, 11.4 points per game
Emmitt Holt, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.6 (156th in nation, 8th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 70.1 (129, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.1 (265, 9)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.0 (202, 8)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.1 (163, 6)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.1 (285, 10)
Free-Throw Percentage: 42.1 (265, 9)
Rebound Margin: -0.9 (219, 9)
Assists Per Game: 15.7 (39, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.3 (58, 3)

Madness 2016 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#104 Aipha Diallo
#136 Maliek White