When Jalen Lindsey committed to play for Ed Cooley in July of 2013, he was the 32nd ranked prospect in the ESPN 100. Freakishly athletic and long, the Friars had got their man. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as smoothly as they would have hoped.
Programs expect big things from top-100 recruits. Immediate impacts are anticipated and the pressure comes in ample amounts. Lindsey began his collegiate career by playing double digit minutes in 17 out of the Friars’ first 19 games in 2014. In that time however, the critics slowly found their way out of the woodwork and targeted the 6-7 forward.
Posting double digits in just one of those 19 games, it quickly became evident that the transition to the next level wasn’t going to be an easy one. After the first few weeks of conference play, Lindsey saw his playing time decrease, and his role diminish. Sure, this probably gave him a bruised ego, but, as Sam Hinkie would say, you have to trust the process.
With an inconsistent first year under his belt, Lindsey’s sophomore campaign came along with the expectation of a larger role. From the start, it was rather clear that his confidence was higher than it had been in his freshman season. For Lindsey, shooting with confidence is of the utmost importance. Ask any Friar fan, and they’ll tell you that for the Friars to succeed, this year and last, Jalen Lindsey needs to be hitting from beyond the arc. He won’t be seen handling the ball up and down the floor, but his length and athleticism in fast paced play can be deadly.
This was evident in the last month of the season as Lindsey’s play began to improve on both sides of the ball. The final three games of the regular season saw Lindsey play with confidence, quickness, and awareness, all things Ed Cooley needs from the junior forward. After putting up 14 and 13 points against DePaul and Creighton respectively, Lindsey capped off the regular season by posting a 30 point performance at Madison Square Garden against St. John’s. Going 6 for 9 from three, Lindsey gave everyone a glimpse of why he was such a highly touted recruit. Now he just needs to sustain that play.
No one is asking for Lindsey to put up 30 PPG (although I’m sure Friar fans wouldn’t be opposed). Rather, Cooley and his staff are looking for consistency. The same consistency they need from Rodney Bullock, Kyron Cartwright, and Ryan Fazekas. The same consistency they needed out of their role players last year but never received. Guys like Bullock and Lindsey have the potential to be top players in the Big East, but if they can’t find consistency in their game, that’ll never happen.
Lindsey showed us what he can do on the offensive side of the ball. Cooley will take advantage of his length and defensive ability while hoping for more improvement on offense. Averaging just over 26.1 minutes per game last season, Lindsey has plenty of experience to help lead the Friars. With the departures of Ben Bentil and Kris Dunn, Cooley and his staff will be banking on Lindsey to do just that. If he can consistently knock down shots from beyond the arc, count on Lindsey to be one of Providence’s top producers this coming season.