2008 Providence Friars Basketball Preview
The Providence Friars (15-16 overall, 6-12 Big East) have not been to the Big Dance since 2004 when they played one game and lost. That was also the last time that they notched a winning mark in the Big East, going 11-5. New coach Keno Davis takes the head position with the Friars after leading Drake to a 28-5 record in his first season with that team.
In his freshman season, forward Jamine Peterson (10.5 MPG, 4.7 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 0.2 APG, 47.0 FG%, 59.0 FT%) displayed athleticism, toughness and drive. Now a sophomore, he’ll be battling for more playing time. He could have a breakout season. Forward Geoff McDermott (35.1 MPG, 10.3 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 4.9 APG, 48.9 FG%, 62.5 FT%) stayed healthy in 2007-2008 and proved to be solid under the basket. He’ll be expected to put the ball up more this season. Senior forward/center Randall Hanke (17.9 MPG, 8.7 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 0.1 APG, 63.3 FG%, 77.6 FT%) returned after a year off and put in a decent but unspectacular season. There’s depth coming off the bench.
The backcourt is rich with talent and point producers. Guard Jeff Xavier (31.6 MPG, 12.4 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2.5 APG, 40.4 FG%, 76.8 FT%) led the Big East in steals (2.26 SPG), while putting up a whole lot of points. Xavier replaced starter Sharaud Curry last season after he went down after playing just one game. Curry, a top player, is back, making the backcourt a bit crowded. Senior swing Weyinmi Efejuku (25.1 MPG, 11.6 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 2.4 APG, 41.5 FG%, 70.5 FT%) is a gamer with a consistent outside shot. Junior Brian McKenzie (28.3 MPG, 10.9 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 2.0 APG, 46.9 FG%, 73.0 FT%) hits threes 40.6% of the time.
Davis has inherited a solid team that will put four double-digit
scorers on the court. Providence has a good shot at making it back
into the NCAA Tournament after a four-year drought. Don’t
expect them to go deep, but they should show up and play. If their
hands get hot, then better than one-and-done is a possibility.