The 2017-18 PC Friars: A Jekyll and Hyde Story

0
222
Cooley, seen here last Spring watching David Duke play prep school basketball, will need his highly touted freshman to play big-time basketball if he wants to get back to the NCAA Tourney, Russ Moore argues.

Let me invoke the great (fictional) 20th Century philosopher, Forrest Gump, to start this off. 

The Providence College Friars are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.

The only real consistency we’ve gotten from the Providence College Men’s basketball team this year is inconsistency. Perhaps that’s what’s been so frustrating about this year’s edition of the squad.

What Gives?

There are games like Saturday’s sleepwalk, at home, leading to an embarrassing blowout by conference habitual cellar dweller, DePaul.  

If this team stunk, that would be understandable. They don’t.

That’s because there are also games like January 6th’s easy 7 point win over Xavier. The Musketeers were a top-five ranked team then, and have been all year long.

They got destroyed when they played Creighton on New Year’s Eve–losing by 19 points. Less than one month later, on January 20th, they easily defeated the Blue Jays–winning by 15.

What gives here?

Consistently Inconsistent

I know that they’ve had some injuries throughout the year. But most good teams across the NCAA struggle with injuries and illness. Remember: excuses are for losers.

All throughout the offseason, I heard about how this team would assuredly be better than last year’s. The reasoning, according to these fans, was that the team didn’t lose anyone important due to graduation.

I never bought that reasoning. That’s outdated thinking. If this were sometime in the 1970s (when most current Friar fans were watching) and great players had 4-year college careers, I might understand the reasoning.

But we’re in an era of basketball where great players seldom stay all four years. And at big time programs rely on great freshman players to anchor their teams, we’re still aiming to become a big-time program, right? Please correct me if I’m wrong.

Fabulous Freshman?

That’s why, given the level of hype he received before he walked on campus, Makai Ashton-Langford has been such a disappointment. He was billed as a top prospect. Reading the tweets and Facebook posts, you would have thought the we could expect some type of transformational player.

Maybe that’s unfair to Ashton-Langford.

Be that as it may, but the statistics are underwhelming. He’s averaging four points a game, and under 2 assists and rebounds.

Returning stars like Kyron Cartwright and Rodney Bullock are having good seasons. Yet for long stretches of some key games, they will seem invisible on the floor. Neither player has showed marked improvement over their performance last year.

Sadly, none of their returning players have–at least not for long stretches.

Not Done Yet

None of this is to say that the Friars are done for the season.

It wouldn’t surprise me, in the least, to see them upset the top ranked Villanova Wildcats at the Dunk on Valentines Day. What could be sweeter than that?

That’s what’s so annoying. They have the talent to win against anyone. The Friars just cannot do it consistently.

Here’s hoping the Friars and Coach Ed Cooley can put a winning streak together over the last 6 Big East games and head into the Big East Tournament with momentum.

They have the talent to do it. Whether they have the will depends on the day.

Russell Moore
Russell J. Moore is the publisher and founder of rirelevant.com. He’s been writing about Rhode Island since 2005. You should definitely follow him on twitter @russmoore713. If you want to send him email, you can send it to russmoore713@gmail.com
SHARE