Providence 2009 NIT Tournament Preview
Providence Friars (19-13, 10-8) - Big East Conference
Big Wins: 12/6 Rhode Island (66-65), 1/28 Syracuse (100-94), 2/24 Pittsburgh (81-73)
Bad Losses: 11/15 Northeastern (66-70), 11/27 vs Baylor (56-72), 2/21 Notre Dame (84-103)
Coach: Keno Davis
Probable Providence Starters:
Sharaud Curry, Junior, Guard, 11.9 ppg, 4.2 apg
Jeff Xavier, Senior, Guard, 9.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg
Weyinmi Efejuku, Senior, Guard, 15.7 ppg, 2.3 apg, 4.0 rpg
Geoff McDermott, Senior, Forward, 8.2 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 1.2 bpg
Jonathan Kale, Senior, Forward, 10.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg
Key Providence Roleplayers:
Marshon Brooks, Sophomore, Guard, 10.7 ppg, 3.5 rpg
Randall Hanke, Senior, Center, 8.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg
Brian McKenzie, Junior, Guard, 4.4 ppg, 1.1 apg
Why The Friars Can Surprise:
Providence is not the best shooting team around, but Coach Keno Davis likes to run and take shots and that is something this group was used to doing under the previous regime. The team has four players who are always threats to hit the long ball and they are not afraid to hoist them up on a consistent basis. Weyinmi Efejuku takes the fewest three-point shots of the group, but he is also the best scorer on the team and the perimeter player that can get to the basket efficiently.
Sharaud Curry is more important to the team as a point guard than a scorer, but he does average 11.9 points per game on top of his 4.2 assists. Jeff Xavier is struggling with his shot this year, but the senior is a proven scorer who can put up 20 or more points when his shot is falling. If Xavier is struggling super sub Marshon Brooks can shoulder the load. The 6-5 sophomore has been a very pleasant surprise for Coach Davis and he has had some great games during this season. Yet, Brooks has also had some games where he has totally disappeared.
Why The Friars Can Disappoint:
Jonathan Kale and Randall Hanke are decent interior scorers, but they do not add much to the defensive side of things. Without a quality shot blocker in the paint, a team that traditionally plays poor defense is even worse. The Friars give up a hearty 76.9 points per game and that ranks among the worst in the nation. It is not Kale and Hanke’s fault, but there is just not an imposing figure in the paint. In order to make up for that the entire team has to play solid defense, but they rarely do such a thing.
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Who To Watch:
Geoff McDermott is the wildcard on the Providence team. The 6-8 senior is not as productive as he was last year, but he is a dynamic player who can change a game. He has the size to bang around under the basket and the shooting touch to step outside and hit the occasional three-pointer. But even when he is not scoring, which has been more often than not this year, he helps out his team. McDermott averages 8.6 rebounds per contest and is always tenacious on the glass. He is also a great passer, a decent ball handler and a versatile defender who will block shots and nab a few steals. Providence would be better off if McDermott scores more, but as long as he doing everything else, the points can come from elsewhere.
Providence By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 79.1 (15th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 76.9 (319, 16)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.4 (92, 7)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.9 (252, 14)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.9 (99, 5)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.2 (228, 11)
Free-Throw Percentage: 67.7 (212, 9)
Rebound Margin: 1.2 (150, 12)
Assists Per Game: 15.1 (57, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.3 (206, 12)
Joel’s Bracket Says: NIT Finals loss to St. Mary’s
By Joel Welser
CollegeSports-fans.com Senior Basketball Writer
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