Monday Friar Mailbag on a Tuesday

Each Monday I’ll do my best to answer some of your questions. The below are actual e-mails and tweets from readers. In some cases I have cleaned up the questions for grammar and/or clarity.

So, it’s not Monday. My bad. To take you behind the curtain for a second, I’m getting married on Saturday. As a result, things have been a bit busy. Anyway…

We started with recruiting last week and since the 2017-18 season doesn’t officially begin for a few more days let’s tackle more recruiting off the top…

The Noah Locke recruitment continues, but appears to be nearing an end. Locke’s father stated earlier this month that he believes his son will make a commitment announcement pretty quickly after his visits are completed and Locke himself said he’s going to commit right after his last visit during an Instagram live video (p.s. I watch these things so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.)

Locke has visited Ohio State, Providence, Xavier and Michigan and is scheduled to take his 5th and final official visit this weekend to Florida. To give some background to the question regarding Ohio State and Michigan, the Buckeyes nabbed four(!) pledges last week after starting the week with no 2018 commits and Michigan seemingly filled their 2018 quota when they got a pledge from big man Ignas Brazdeikis to make four committed recruits in 2018 for John Beilein. Adam Jardy of the Columbus Dispatch indicated on Monday that Chris Holtmann’s staff still wants to add a point guard with their last open scholarship but failed to mention Locke — maybe because he’s really a SG, or maybe because he isn’t still being heavily pursued after landing top-75 SG Luther Muhammad.

So, what does it all mean for Providence? I still think Locke is unlikely to end up committing to Providence. My guess is that Locke is leaning towards Xavier at this point with Michigan seemingly out of spots, but don’t rule Mike White and Florida out. White reportedly wants to add two guards in the 2018 class and he is chasing the likes of Locke, Devon Dotson, Elijah Weaver, oh and David Duke. Duke just wrapped up an official visit to Gainseville and will trip to Virginia Tech this upcoming weekend. I do expect both Locke and Duke to commit in October.

But…..

Should this worst case scenario occur, there are two ways this will probably go:

  1. Ed Cooley has a plan B type waiting in the wings that hasn’t been a focus for Friar fans because of the microscope on Locke and Duke i.e. Ben Bentil after Abdul-Malik Abu chose NC State.
  2. The recruitment of a guard or guards spills into the Winter, or possibly even the Spring and there will be some new names that Friar fans haven’t heard before

I tend to think that Cooley would reassess the recruiting big board and see if they really should add another guard or if they really just wanted to add Locke/Duke because of how good they are/unique they are as players. With a big class like they have working in 2018 and the talent at guard on the current roster it would seem to be that Cooley and staff should adopt a “best player available” type of approach unless they feel strongly about landing someone specific as a long-term recruit to develop.

Ralph F. asks:

I realize Coach is awaiting decisions on several key players for 2018/2019 but any junior college transfers in the mix for 2018/2019? 

I haven’t heard any specific names of junior college players that Providence is looking at for 2018-19, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t poking around. Having a big class to fill means the staff will likely explore all kinds of different options, including transfers, both sit-out, graduate and junior college.

Allan R. asks:

Are you aware of any actions that were taken to reduce the sweating of the floor at the Dunkin Donuts center going forward? It would be tough to see a repeat of that this year nevermind potential injuries.

I haven’t heard of any specific thing that the Dunkin’ Donuts Center did to mitigate the court sweating incident during last season’s Marquette game. I will say that it was a rare environmental day for the time of year, so that played a big factor and doesn’t seem likely to repeat. I do agree that it would be tough to see a repeat of the slipping and sliding that happened in that Marquette game.

Late Night Madness will be the 2nd weekend of October and everything is pointing to a well-known hip-hop act performing, though things aren’t totally official last time I checked in. As for if anyone can attend the answer is no. This is an event for students and recruiting. With that in mind, the event will first be open to student season ticket holders — of which there are many and I’ll have more on that this week — and then after that the remaining open spots will be opened to the general student population. People who have season tickets are feeling particularly out of the loop this season with the likelihood that many of them will miss the season opener against Houston Baptist at Alumni Hall. Late Night Madness, which ends up being a concert for the students at the end of the night, isn’t the answer to “make it up” them.

I’ll say Houston. Everyone knows about the rivalry game at URI and with PC losing to Boston College and Brown in recent years those two games will also get some special attention. UMass could fit here but that’s a road game. I think Friar fans look at the game being played at Mohegan Sun an think it’s a semi-home game. In reality, the crowd will also include fans there to see the other game that night — a.ka. empty seats while those fans gamble — and Houston has a very solid team for 2017-18 that includes the AAC leading scorer Rob Gray and 6(!) immediately eligible transfers. Nura Zanna is  a graduate transfer from LIU-Brooklyn and Sampson also brought in 5(!) junior college transfers.

And finally…

This one is tough. I’ll go with the February 24th game at Georgetown. The Hoyas will have most of the season to figure out their squad and while I think they will be bad this game is a 12pm tip in Washington DC 3 days after playing Seton Hall and 4 days before playing Xavier.

Thanks to everyone that submitted questions! There were some I didn’t answer this week. I’m holding them for a future mailbag.

Have a question you want answered? Email mhopkins@pcbb1917.com, tweet me @pcbb1917 or leave a comment on the Facebook page.

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