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2007-2008 Providence Friars Preview

by Andrew Force | November 12th, 2007

2006-2007 Record: 18-13 (8-8), 10th
Postseason Games:

3/7/2007 West Virginia Big East Tournament L 79-92
3/14/2007 Bradley NIT 1st round L 78-90 (OT)

Returning Statistical Leaders:
15.3 ppg - Sharaud Curry
9.1 rpg – Geoff McDermott
5.1 apg – Geoff McDermott

Starting Lineup: Key Stat:
PF Jonathan Kale 6-8” Jr. 8 total assists
F Geoff McDermott 6-8“ Jr. 150 assists, 250 rebounds last year
F Jamine Peterson 6-6” Fr. 1 of 3 Spring signings for the Friars
SG Weyinmi Efejuku 6-5” Jr. shot 13% worse in conference play
PG Sharaud Curry 5-10” Jr. 90.1% FT, best in Big East

Key Player Loss: Providence College enjoyed an 8-win conference season. The conference success and 18-12 overall record can be largely attributed to the Most Improved Big East Player, Herbert Hill.

Inspired by recent PC graduate Ryan Gomes’ offseason workouts, Hill transformed his body and re-directed his energies.

HH yanked down 8.6 rebounds and led the entire league in scoring with 18.0 ppg.

By working hard in the weight room and devoting serious time and effort to basketball, PC players can make the legacy of Hill live on.

Impact Newcomer: Jamine Peterson.

Providence hung on in the recruiting battle for Jamine “Greedy” Peterson. The 6’6” forward played in the post throughout high school and prep school. With his explosive hops and impressive frame, Peterson can work either forward position in non-conference play.

Comparisons have been made between Peterson and former Kentucky player Chuck Hayes and former Texas Longhorn P.J. Tucker.

He prepped at Notre Dame Prep, a common source of PC players. Ryan Gomes and Marcus Douthit both spent time on Notre Dame Prep before succeeding in Providence.

Greedy plans on following their career paths to the NBA.

Tough Question: Will Coach Tim Welsh open up his rotation?

Notorious for keeping his stars on the floor, Welsh brought in some good players to add depth. It will be interesting to see if they get the minutes they deserve or languish on the bench. One such player, Jamal Barney, transferred out last year.

It is hard to turn away a talented player in the recruiting process, but team chemistry has long been a strength of the Providence Friars. Keeping players happy begets upbeat players.

Too Much PT: Charles Burch.

Burch is a tough case. Does he not produce because he isn’t playing enough or because he isn’t good enough? Either way, Burch should not be playing for the newest Friar squad. There are at least three forwards better than him, probably four. Even a three guard rotation would work better than a lineup including the oft-injured Burch.

Get Him on the Floor: Brian McKenzie.

Tim Welsh likes to play the best players often. For example, last season four players averaged more than 30 minutes. Should Welsh go to the bench, he has a hidden gem in McKenzie. Brian has been blessed with a quick first step since junior high and gets into the lane with ease.

Point Guards’ Impact: The underrecruited Curry has shown the college basketball world he belongs in top flight competition. Every night he makes a new believer.

The composed guard runs the offense and supplies the team with a quarterback on the floor. When the Friars are under fire, Curry puts his shot-making abilities to good use.

Tim Welsh’s envisions Sharaud as a complete guard, directing the attack and providing some attacks. For a man who dropped 40+ a handful of times in high school, scoring is not a problem.

The first few games will be a blessing in disguise. Providence, who will be without Curry due to a broken foot, can toy with a few other options in the backcourt. Developing a trustworthy backup point guard would be profitable for the ascending Friars.

Expectations: Ray Hall.

A more fair assessment is “currently unfulfilled expectations.” Only a sophomore, Ray Hall has plenty of time to mature. The 6’11” project averaged only 10 mpg last year and hardly made a dent in the scoring or rebounding column.

The word is Ray Hall has dropped 30 pounds and is developing into a more mobile player. On the Friars’ Italian trip, Hall displayed a variety of offensive moves. The rebounding is still an issue.

Final Word: The juniors possess the seniority for the Friars. For two years, PC fans and followers talked about the strength of the current junior class.

Kale, McDermott, Efejku, and Curry have that invaluable intangible on their side: experience. All four student-athletes descended upon campus with 3-star credentials.

The youth of the team was always a safe excuse for mental mistakes or plundering down the stretch. No more.

Every few years, Tim Welsh and Providence College muster an 11-win conference season. The time has come for another monster year. This core has the ability to make it happen.

–Andrew Force

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