Providence College (2-0) kicked off its season last Saturday night with a win vs. Dartmouth (0-2) followed by a nailbiter finish against Yale (0-2) on Monday.
Coming off a dismal season (12-19, 4-12) in Big East play last year, the Friars look to rebound with the emergence of point guard Vincent Council and some fresh faces from the 2014 class. Here are five questions for the 2010-2011 Friars:
Will the loss of Sharaud Curry actually improve the team’s offensive and defensive flow?
Fifth-year senior and point guard Sharaud Curry had been one of the most consistent Friars during his years at Providence College. His absence was obvious, especially during the ’07-’08 and ’08-’09 seasons when the team resorted to inexperienced ball handlers Jeff Xavier ’09 or Geoff McDermott ’09 to back up point guard duties.
However, this all changed with the arrival of Vincent Council ’13. Council proved early on that he was clearly the more talented and better overall point guard who should be leading this team. Not to overlook Curry’s valuable veteran leadership and experience, it became difficult to watch both guards on the floor at the same time.
If Curry was 6’2’’ or 6’3’’ this might have been an advantage for the Friars, since Curry could go do what he did best, shoot, and leave it to Council, with the better court vision, to get him the ball. But Curry is a generous 5’10’’, and this caused major match up problems both offensively and defensively for the team.
Council and Curry both needed to play 30+ minutes a game. Due to Curry's small size, he was unable to defend most Big East point guards, and moving him to shooting guard was an even bigger mismatch for an already undersized team. But playing him at point guard would stunt the growth of the more talented Council.
Entering the ’10-’11 season one thing is for sure. Vincent Council is the point guard of this basketball team. Keno Davis does not have to worry about accommodating a veteran, and can fill his back court with better size and speed match ups needed for Big East play.
Will Keno Davis instill some discipline in his basketball team on and off the court?
Any novice basketball observer could see the sheer lack of discipline on the court last year. From constantly missing defensive assignments, to lackadaisical passing and poor turnovers, the stench from the Tim Welsh area still lingered.
The off-the-court public relations nightmare last spring, however, was something new to Friar fans. With two freshmen, as well as rising star and scoring leader Jamine Peterson getting kicked off the team, questions began to circulate if Coach Davis had control of his kids.
With a new season underway, the bad apples removed, and a promising freshman class, only time will tell if the rumored “frat house” atmosphere of the team has met some resistance by the coaching staff who hope to not repeat mistakes made in prior seasons.
Who will surprise from the 2014 freshman class?
The big hype around campus is Gerard Coleman, the four-star recruit and guard-forward from The Tilton School. Whether Keno is testing him or not, two games into the young season Coleman has started both games, and is averaging just over 10 points per game.
If Coleman is the real deal, the combo of him and point guard Vincent Council could form a dynamic back court for the Friars, with size, speed, and the ability to get to the rim as they gain more experience playing with each other.
Where will the Friars get their offensive scoring now that Jamine Peterson and Sharaud Curry are gone?
Peterson (19.6) and Curry (15.5) combined for over 35 points per game last year as the two leading scorers for the Friars. Senior forward Marshon Brooks (14.1 ppg) and sophomore guard Vincent Council (10.6 ppg) will need to step up in the scoring department to provide some consistency for the Friars going forward.
Coleman will be seen as another option for Providence, as will center Bilal Dixon, especially in the paint.
The bench will be a major factor as well for Coach Davis, as he will look to Duke Mondy, Bryce Cotton, and, potentially, English import Lee Goldsbrough to add a spark by stretching the floor.
Can Bilal Dixon avoid foul trouble?
With a solid first year under his belt, sophomore Bilal Dixon looks ready to take the next step to becoming a legitimate starter in the Big East. He has the heart and emotion, and possesses an excellent intellect for rebounding the basketball; he just needs to stay on the floor.
Averaging 3.4 fouls in just 24 minutes of play last year, the Friars need Dixon more than ever to solidify their front court, especially with the loss of forward Jamine Peterson, who averaged over ten rebounds a game last season.
Keeping Dixon on the floor also allows Keno to substitute freshman Kadeem Batts and Ron Giplaye not out of necessity but more freely during the game to give them more experience, especially in Big East play.