Thursday, June 12, 2008


June 12, 2008

Head Coach: Keno Davis
2007-2008 Record: 15-16 (6-12 Big East)

Returning Players:
Sharaud Curry, Junior (Point Guard)
Weyinmi Efejuku, Senior (Guard)
Geoff McDermott, Senior (Forward)
Jonathan Kale, Senior (Big Forward)
Randall Hanke, Senior (Center)
Jeff Xaiver, Senior (Shooting Guard)
Brian McKenzie, Junior (Guard)
Ray Hall, Junior (Center)
Jamine Peterson, Sophomore (Forward)
Marshon Brooks, Sophomore (Guard)
Alex Kellogg, Sophomore (Forward)

Incoming Players:
Bilal Dixon (Power Forward)

Charles Burch, Senior (Forward)

Transferred Out:
Dwain Williams, Sophomore (Guard)

Open Items/Issues:
Normally spring time is very busy around the Providence College basketball program. In the past, Tim Welsh had been scrambling to fill holes in the roster as the transfer bug would hit several players. Well, this spring it has been rather quiet, other than the fact that Tim Welsh was fired in March.

Keno Davis parlayed the excellent season Drake had last year into a Big East coaching head job. The son of former Boston College and Iowa coach Tom Davis, Keno was honored with several coach of the year honors for leading Drake to the NCAA Tournament in his first year as head coach. Now, he comes into the Big East and will attempt to revive interest in a Providence program that has not had much momentum in several seasons.

Even with the coaching change, only one player has opted out of the program as Dwain Williams headed back to the West Coast. His departure was rumored often, but he turned in a solid season in relief of Sharaud Curry last season and will be missed.

A new coach often brings new life and energy to a program and in this case, that is exactly what the Providence Friar program desperately needs. Keno Davis is a young head coach that will try to bring some excietment to a program that people have expected more from the last couple years. Last season, an injury to point guard Sharaud Curry threw the season off course and the Friars never recovered, ending the tenure of Tim Welsh as the PC coach. Welsh had been the third longest tenured coach in the conference, trailing only Hall of Famers Jim Calhoun and Jim Boeheim, before being let go right after a season-ending loss to West Virginia in the Big East Tournament.

Much like at Marquette, Davis inherits a team with a lot of experience. The Friars have a roster consisting of five seniors and three juniors, all of which are likely to be in the eight or nine man rotation. The key will by Sharaud Curry, who missed all of last season with a broken foot. As a sophomore, Curry averaged 15 points per game and 4.4 assists, both second on the squad. The absense of their floor general had PC looking dis-organized often offensively as they tried to plug in combo and shooting guards into Curry's place.

The injuries did not end there as forward Geoff McDermott once again played through multiple knee, leg and foot problems, but he still led the team in rebounding at over 8 a game and assists, with nearly 5 a game. A healthy McDermott and Curry makes this team much better right off the bat.

The rest of the experienced players should be able to fall into place around Curry and the versatile McDermott. Jeff Xavier, who transferred in from Manhattan, was the team's leading scorer last season and is a dangerous perimeter shooter on the wing. He would likely be joined at the wing slots by senior Weyinmi Efejuku, an athletic and enigmatic guard who found his way into Welsh's doghouse often last year, and sweet-shooting junior Brian McKenzie. This is a very solid backcourt that can shoot and create, as long as everyone has their heads on straight.

The frontcourt has been an area of concern. McDermott is a warrior who battles underneath, but is limited offensively. Senior Randall Hanke still gets pushed around a lot in the paint in the Big East and is not much of a factor on the boards or defensively, but he can score some points. Jonathan Kale and Ray Hall offer more of a physical presense, but are limited offensively. Tim Welsh never developed any consistency in his front court and that always held the Friars back.

Jamine Peterson is an exciting athlete that loves to attack the rim. If he develops more skills away from the basket, he could give a lift to PC more consistently. Incoming freshman, the lone newcomer, Bilal Dixon is an intriguing big forward that could develop into a solid performer in the Big East.

If your looking for a good possibility to turn things around this season, the Friars are a good candiate. The return of Curry should be able to give the offense a consistent leader. Curry still needs to expand his playmaking abilities, but his experience and talent surpasses anything PC had at their disposal last year at the position. The rest of the team is experienced and even with the new coach, this team knows each other quite well and there is no divide between the new coach's players and the holdovers. Keno Davis has quite a rebuilding job to do after this senior class graduates, but adding some energy to this current group and the return to health of a couple players, this Friar squad could be an interesting team this season. I expect them to start fast and build some excitement, when they get into the Big East, their 3-pt shooting will make them dangerous, but again, the key will be their ability to rebound and defend the paint.


Post a Comment

<< Home