Friar Weekly: January 2

So, what can we say about the direction of this Providence College program heading into the Big East schedule? This year's freshman class may be the most promising of Tim Welsh's era.

Geoff McDermott is a rock and Sharaud Curry has been a big surprise running the offense with such efficiency this early in his career. For all of the positive energy these freshman have brought to PC, players are leaving the program at an alarming rate. Do the freshman provide a glimpse of what the future may hold, or will this program continue to plug holes with inexperienced players?

Experience is everything in college basketball, especially for a school like Providence that will not consistently bring in impact freshman. Welsh's best seasons came in 2001 and 2004, both of those teams had experienced players who were complimented by promising freshman.

In 2001, John Linehan and Erron Maxey were four year players, Karim Shabazz had experience in both the ACC and Big East, while sophomores Rome Augustine and Abdul Mills started and played a lot in their freshman seasons.

The freshmen on that team played specific roles. Marcus Douthit spotted Shabazz at center, Maris Laksa and Chris Anrin were gunners off of the bench, and Sheiku Kabba filled in at both guard spots.

2004 featured much of the same. Of course, Ryan Gomes was the All American, Douthit was no a senior and one of the best shot blockers in the nation, Rob Sanders was a junior, Kabba a senior and Donnie McGrath was a second year starter.

Depth hurt this team, as highly touted freshman Dwight Brewington and Gerald Brown both struggled to find their niche. If they had found a role as the freshman class in 2001 had, that team could have gone to the Sweet Sixteen.

Roles were clearly defined as Providence used the early portion of their schedule to improve, not find out who was going to play.

In early January, we have just found out that Jonathan Kale can rebound, we are wondering if Randall Hanke can defend, we don't know what kind of role DeSean White would even have on this team if he returned.

This is why this year's freshman class is so important and why Friar fans everywhere are living in fear that Welsh will continue to lose players at an alarming rate. If this class sticks together for four years they will have a world of experience. Combine this experience with the flashes they have shown through only ten games and this could be one of the better teams in the Big East in two seasons.

It has been a while since we have seen a game in which two freshman get double doubles, another gets to the line 14 times, and the fourth is making it all happen. Keeping this freshman class on campus for four years may define Tim Welsh's tenure at Providence College.

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