Big East Talk: Expectations Should Be High in Friar Town
After an unexpected trip to the Big Dance last March for Providence, expectations will be at an all-time high once November rolls around. Cooley and Company have made 4 straight tourney appearances and are primed to make a 5th in 2018.
Flash back to around this time last summer where the main question lingering in Friar Fans minds was nothing but “Who will step up this season and replace Batman and Robin?”.
I mean, Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil. Then again, of course, I can recall the summer before that and fans were wondering who would replace 2,000 point scorer Ladontae Henton. Oh, and the summer before that wondering who would replace Bryce Cotton and Kadeem Batts. To answer the original question, the answer was everybody.
Everybody stepped up last season. It was a much more balanced offense and teams couldn’t put all of their focus on one go-to guy.
Well, the 2016-2017 Friars who were preseason picked 9th in the Big East Conference finished with a record of 20-13 and finished 3rd in the Big East with no seniors. No seniors paired up with the 15th ranked incoming recruiting class (according to Rivals) seems like a recipe for success to me.
This incoming class accounts for a plethora of needs. Start with Makai Ashton-Langford, the former Uconn commit who asked out of his letter of intent early in the spring and hoped on board with Cooley shortly after. Ashton-Langford was ranked 44th in the class of ’17 by Rivals and is also a top 50 prospect in ESPN’s rankings. The crafty point guard will give the Friars another player with the ability to create for himself and attack the basket, something they so desperately needed last season.
Big men Nate Watson (ranked 84th by rivals) and Dajour Dickens (ranked 121st by rivals) make what was a relatively thin front court now seem a bit clogged up. Watson and Dickens remind me a lot of the class of ’14 front court. Watson (6’8 250 lbs) built like Ben Bentil, will be expected to compete for minutes from day one. Dickens ( 6’10 205 lbs) could be the rim protector we all hoped current Syracuse center Paschal Chukwu would have been.
Although it’s only July, Friar Fans should start getting excited about the upcoming season.