These grades are the opinion of one person (with the assistance of one bear, the Chairman of the New England Ranking committee). Any constructive debate is welcome, but I hope it can remain civil. After going through this process, I am more bullish on the 2017-18 Providence team than ever. #GoFriars
Rodney Bullock – C+
Rodney showed some growth from last year, and extended his shooting range. His defense was suspect early, but got better as the year progressed. Despite criticism, which focused on his perceived potential more than anything, he played a major role in many of their close victories, including non-conference wins against URI and UMass. Fun fact: The Friars were 5-0 in the games that Rodney got a double-double, after going 8-0 in those such games last year.
Next Year: I suspect he will be a slightly improved version of this year’s Rodney Bullock. He will be a major contributor, but a core of fans will complain that he’s not better.
Kyron Cartwright – A-
Kyron showed tremendous improvement from last year, as evidenced by his being named Big East Most Improved Player. Point guard was the biggest question mark going into the season, and it was a strength over the course of the season.
Next Year: If he improves his shooting by a similar level next year as he did this year, and builds up a little more strength to help him finish drives, he will be in the running for best point guard in the country next year.
Jalen Lindsey – B+
Jalen went from a 26% shooter from three to 47% this year. He also showed the beginnings of an ability to drive on the opposition, and shoot off the dribble. He was also the team’s most versatile defender, as he guarded the opposition’s guards, small forwards, and power forwards.
Next Year: Hopefully, Jalen will improve his handle, and develop his ability to take the ball to the basket. I assume he won’t put on another 15-20 lbs. of muscle again, and will focus on developing his game instead. With his work ethic and drive, I expect another jump in production from him next season.
Emmitt Holt – B+
If I was grading for first half and second half of games, I would have given Emmitt and B- or C+ for the first halves, and an A or A+ for second halves. Holt is barely 6’7”, and consistently went up against 6’9’ to 7’ opponents, and played excellent defense in the second half of the season. Over the last eight games, he averaged 11 points per game in the second half of games.
Next Year: I know I’m going out on a limb, but I’m expecting a monster year from Emmitt next year. I saw him play a few times as a freshman as Indiana, and the growth from then to now is amazing. His range at Indiana was roughly the length of his arms, and his offensive repertoire consisted of bulling to the hoop. I don’t know how much growth came from his year in JuCo ball, but I expect another level of progression next year, as the addition of more big bodies will make his life on the court much better. If I had to guess, I’d put him down for 18 points and 8 rebounds per game next year.
Alpha Diallo – C
Alpha is another player who improved as the season progressed. Part of this was more playing time, and part was Alpha getting accustomed to playing at this level. As exciting as it was to watch him on the court, it was more exciting to project him as a sophomore.
Next Year: I expect a big jump in Alpha in his sophomore year, as he will have eight months to work with the staff on developing his game. The big question is will he develop his shot enough to play as a true shooting guard.
Isaiah Jackson – C-
Isaiah struggled early, and with the exception of a handful of games, was considered a disappointment until the last six games of the regular season. His physical size allows him to play multiple positions, and his best value to the Friars may be as a bench player whose role varies according to their opposition.
Maliek White – C-
Maliek showed potential, but also showed how much development is needed in his game. Because he only turned 18 after the start of the school year, and made a major leap in competition, that should be expected. He showed flashes of ability as a scorer and a playmaker, with a potentially above average shot, and ability to drive to the basket. He was also a defensive liability, especially against Big East competition.
Next Year: I think a good benchmark for his growth level will be the growth of Kyron Cartwright from his freshman to sophomore seasons. I think he will be a competent back-up to Kyron at the point, as well as providing minutes at the off-guard.
Kalif Young – C-
The first sentence about Maliek also applies to Kalif. They also were both defensive liabilities, but both clearly have offensive skills, raw as they may be. Kalif is quick for a man his size, but needs to improve his hands.
Next Year: Kalif will also benefit from an off-season working on individual skill development. My hunch is that the incoming freshmen will push him, and he will be up to the challenge.
Ryan Fazekas – D-
This obviously could have been an F grade for the season, as Ryan contributed little this season. He had a true positive contribution in only three games, and two of those were blowouts. But since he came up big in the game at Marquette, which was a key factor in Providence going to the NCAAs, I gave him a reprieve.
Next Year: It is difficult to tell how he will do next season (or where he will do it). I saw him shooting at Alumni a few times, and was the best shooter on the team. Hopefully, he finds out what was missing on the court this year and corrects it before November.
Drew Edwards, Ricky Council II, Tom Planek, Casey Woodring – Incomplete
Drew Edwards is the one player from this group who could have been part of the rotation but his slow recovery from knee surgery made him a non-factor.
Next Year: Hopefully Drew will be fully recovered and will be able to shake off his rust from a year off. The question is what role he fills, and how much time is available for him if the other guards and forwards develop.
Ed Cooley – A
This to me is not debatable. A coach needs to be judged on the sum of his roles with his team, and this includes recruiting, development, game planning, in game coaching, etc. Under Coach Cooley, Providence went from a predicted ninth place finish in the conference to his fourth straight NCAA bid. His point guard has developed from a lightly recruited part-time player to an all-conference player. His teams have adapted their playing styles to the available personnel. While everyone can quibble about an in-game decision here and there, the bottom line is that he made many more good decisions than poor ones. Add up his total score, and his grade is a solid A.
Next Year: The greatest tribute to his coaching is that no one expects this roll to stop anytime soon. I truly believe that next season is the year the Friars break through and are playing during the second weekend of March Madness (at least).