Preseason Preview: Providence

2017 Marquette Madness

Photo by Ryan Messier/ Paint Touches

The first official practices of the 17-18 college basketball season are in the books and Paint Touches is celebrating by counting down every Marquette opponent from worst to first. Each preview will contain a look at how the opponent did last season, who they lose, who they gain, reasonable expectations for their season, and our own prediction of how their matchup(s) with Marquette will go. This series will start with the most under of underdogs and progress all the way up to most unbeatable of opponents. The next team swept Marquette in two very tightly contested games, the Friars of Providence.

Team: Providence Friars
16-17 Record: 20-13 (10-8)
Postseason?: Made the tournament by the skin of their teeth, losing to USC in Dayton
16-17 KenPom: 60
Date: 01/03/18 & 02/03/18
Location: Dunkin Donuts Stadium (Providence, RI) & BMO Harris Bradley Center
Coach: Ed Cooley (7th season)
Projected KenPom Range: 10-35
Projected Conference Finish: 3/10 in the Big East

Departures from 16-17
Ryan Fazekas: 3rd Man off the Bench: 11.8 mpg, 3.0 ppg, 1.1 rpg, 0.3 apg, 0.4 spg, 0.1 bpg, 0.2 tpg, .388 FG%, .373 3P% (Transferred to Valparaiso)
Ricky Council II: Benchwarmer: 3.3 mpg, 0.5 ppg, 0.5 rpg, 0.0 apg, 0.0 spg, 0.0 bpg, 0.5 tpg, .167 FG%, .167 3P% (Only appeared in 6 games) (Transferred to UMBC)
Casey Woodring: Benchwarmer: 1.4 mpg, 0.6 ppg, 0.4 rpg, 0.0 apg, 0.0 spg, 0.0 bpg, 0.0 tpg, .167 FG%, .200 3P% (Only appeared in 5 games) (Graduated)
Bryan Donovan: Did not appear in any games (Transferred to Roger Williams University)
4% of scoring, 4% of rebounding, 2% of assists, 5% of steals, 2% of blocks, 10% of 3PM

Makai Ashton-Langford: 4-star PG, ranked #38 overall by 247Sports
Nate Watson: 4-star C, ranked #93 overall by 247Sports
Dajour Dickens: 3-star C, ranked #140 overall by 247Sports
Andrew Fonts: Walk On

Probable Starters:
PG: Kyron Cartwright: 5-11 185 lb SR: 33.1 mpg, 11.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 6.7 apg, 1.1 spg, 0.0 bpg, 2.9 tpg, .420 FG%, .388 3P%
SG: Makai Ashton-Langford: 6-3 185 lb FR: 4-star PG, ranked #38 overall by 247Sports
SF: Jalen Lindsey: 6-7 227 lb SR: 31.1 mpg, 10.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 0.7 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.2 bpg, 0.7 tpg, .457 FG%, .460 3P%
PF: Rodney Bullock: 6-8 225 lb RSSR: 32.8 mpg, 15.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.2 apg, 0.8 spg, 2.5 tpg, .436 FG%, .317 3P%
C: Emmitt Holt: 6-7 240 lb SR: 27.5 mpg, 12.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.0 apg, 0.7 spg, 0.8 bpg, 1.4 tpg, .523 FG%, .344 3P%

Probable Bench:
Alpha Diallo: 6-7 211 lb SO SF
Isaiah Jackson: 6-6 225 lb RSJR SG
Nate Watson: 6-10 260 lb FR C
Kalif Young: 6-9 255 lb SO PF
Maliek White: 6-3 190 lb SO PG

Probable Benchwarmers:
Dajour Dickens: 7-0 220 lb FR C
Drew Edwards: 6-4 190 lb RSSO SG
Tom Planek: 6-7 210 lb SR SF
Andrew Fonts: 6-2 170 lb FR PG


• Providence looked dead in the water on February 8th of last season. They lost a heartbreaker in overtime to Seton Hall, dropping them to 14-11 overall and 4-8 in the Big East. That record combined with dismal losses to the likes of Boston College and Depaul all but destroyed any chance of the postseason for them. Instead, they channeled their inner Aaron Rodgers and ran the table for the rest of the regular season. That 6-game streak was enough to sneak the Friars into Dayton where they lost in the first four matchup. Other than back of the rotation bench player Ryan Fazekas, the Friars return everyone from last season’s roster, making one of the popular picks for most improved team in the nation. They have the experience, talent, and balance to make a run at Villanova for the top spot in the Big East.
• The Friars are led by one of the best distributors in the game. Kyron Cartwright spent two years as Kris Dunn’s backup and while he’s no NBA first round draft pick, he cleared picked up a few things from the now Chicago Bull. Now that Mo Wastson Jr of Creighton is one, Cartwright is the leading returning assistman for the entire Big East with 6.7 dimes a game. As an underclassman his offense was an area of concern but it improved by leaps and bounds his junior year. Cartwright has the speed to blow by opponents and enough of an outside shot to keep defenders honest. He loves using the pick and roll to get in the lane and then find either an open Jalen Lindsey for 3 or a rolling Emmitt Holt for a dunk. While playmaking is his strength, Cartwright also excels on the defensive end, especially considering his size. He struggled to contain larger guards in isolation but other than that he showed a knack for challenging shots and disrupting passes on the perimeter.
• The top returning scorer for Coach Cooley is Rodney Bullock. Despite the high point totals, Bullock is a very “meh” offensive player in the half court. He’s a prototypical stretch four who struggles when jump shooting. His points per possession on spot up shots is only .739 which ranked in the bottom quarter of all Division 1 players. His other moves aren’t better, he struggled in isolation, coming off screens, and rolling off picks. He had some limited success in the post but only when mismatched with a smaller defender. What sets Bullock apart is what he can do in transition. 139 of his 519 points last season were scored on fast breaks and he did it with efficiency that ranked in the top 10% of all of college basketball. The trailing three pointer was his specialty. The best defense against Bullock is a strong offense that doesn’t give up fast break opportunities.
• Most would point to Bullock or Cartwright as Providence’s most improved player from last season, but that distinction belongs to Jalen Lindsey. The Tennessee native was pegged as an elite shooting prospect coming out of high school but that never materialized in his first two seasons as he hoovered around 30% for his career. The switch finally flipped his junior season as he sunk 74 three pointers with 46% accuracy. Lindsey is a bit of a one trick pony. 247 of his 343 points last season came off spot up jumpshots. But this pony does his one trick very well. Lindsey’s efficiency on spot up jumpers was in the 99th percentile of all D1 players. If he could get his two feet set and shot put up, there was a damn good chance that ball was going in. Stopping him requires a defender to live in his pocket at all times, but with a playmaker like Cartwright that is easier said than done.
• Not only does Providence return almost all of their production from last season, they also add a quietly good recruiting class. The cherry on top of that class is Brewster academy product Makai Ashton-Langford. Originally a UConn commit, Makai opened up his recruitment when former UConn associate head coach Glenn Miller left the program. He comes to Providence with a lot of skills that Providence PGs have become known for. He is a playmaking guard who excels at creating opportunities for his teammates. He can penetrate just about any defense though his shot is need of a little development. He should fit right in and make an intimidating 2 point backcourt along with Cartwright. The other big commit (no pun intended) is center Nate Watson. Watson is an imposing specimen at 6-10 and 260 lbs. He already has the strength necessary to compete with Big East level post players for rebounds. His offense is raw but the potential is evident. His defensive technique is in need of development and he is very foul prone. Watson will compete with former Marquette target Kalif Young for the role of backup center.

Last season Marquette was swept by the Friars in two heartbreaking losses. The first Marquette truly played poorly but managed to keep it close and had two chances at a game winning shot that refused to go in. The second game they played very well but fell apart after the last TV timeout, blowing a late lead. This season Providence is better and Marquette will likely take a half step back, so it is hard to predict a Marquette victory in either game. However, until last season that Friars had never won in Milwaukee, and Marquette truly played terrible and still only lost by one. I think Marquette plays a good game at home and manages a win but gets clobbered on the road as Lindsey goes unconscious from deep.

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Categories: Home, Offseason, Previews

Author:Ryan Jackson

Texas A&M Professional, Marquette Fantatic


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