For some Friar fans, the 2017 holiday season arrives with a bit of irrational panic. For others, patience remains their most important virtue. Regardless of which side you fall towards, one thing is for sure, Providence should have quite the lengthy Christmas list, as things haven’t exactly gone as planned thus far in Friartown.
I’ll do my best to narrow it down and avoid turning this into a 10,000 word novel about how Ed Cooley exhibits the same qualities as St. Nicholas.
The injury bug has given Providence all they can handle so far this season. Before the 2017-18 campaign even began, the Friars lost senior leader Emmitt Holt. It was a really tough way to start the season, but not the end of the world.
Sophomore guard Maliek White was embracing his scoring role off the bench through the first nine games. He quickly became an integral part of Providence’s depth chart, and was consistently providing a nice spark off the bench for Ed Cooley. That is, until he injured his left knee against Brown on December 6th. It was initially estimated that he’d miss around 6-8 weeks, but there is still no official timetable for his return.
Similar to White, sophomore starter Alpha Diallo went down with an ankle injury against Brown that had kept him out until Wednesday’s game vs Houston. He was able to play 13 minutes, but was tentative with the ball, and clearly didn’t have his first step. Through the first nine games, he had scored in double figures in all but two.
Point guard Kyron Cartwright joined Diallo with an ankle injury of his own. The senior hasn’t missed a game, but has been dealing with ankle issues since early December. He played 6 minutes against Houston, but like Diallo, just didn’t have it.
Big East play begins on Thursday, and the Friars hope to be at full strength as they open up at St. John’s.
Providence shoots 66.5% from the charity stripe. That’s puts them at 283 in the country as of Friday night.
For a team that’s dealing with ailments left and right, they need all the help they can get. That starts at the free throw line. They’re called free throws for a reason.
In being in attendance at the majority of Providence games, I’ve noticed an undeniable trend that’s been taking charge since the Friars played Minnesota at the Dunk on November 13th. There is little to no chatter on the floor.
Emmitt Holt was tremendous at being a vocal leader on the floor. In college basketball, this is a must. To succeed, you need solid communication on both sides of the ball. Whether it’s calling out screens, or simply picking up teammates, it has to happen.
This really hit me on Wednesday night at Mohegan Sun, as I was sitting at the desk on the baseline next to Houston’s bench. They never stopped talking. Both on the court, and on the bench, there was constant chatter and yelling. Kelvin Sampson continuously emphasized it, and Cooley should do the same. This one starts from the top, which means it’s up to the coaching staff and senior leaders to set the tone.
Jalen Lindsey FG Attempts
With Providence struggling to find offensive rhythm while dealing with their slew of injuries, the Friars need to do a better job of getting Lindsey more three point attempts in the half court offense. They commonly rely on finding him in transition and broken plays, which is fine. But you need alternatives to that as well. When you have a shooter like Lindsey, you need to find him no matter the tempo. Running him off screens could be an easy solution, but either way, he needs to be shooting the ball more.
Merry Christmas Friartown!