Men's Basketball Preview - Providence Friars

The Big Picture: Last year, coach Keno Davis had only three scholarship players. History says the BIG EAST wars are often rough on young teams and, not surprisingly, the Friars struggled. They finished 12-19 overall and 4-14 in league play. The 2010-11 team has two seniors, no juniors and plenty of sophomores and freshmen. The promising work of some of last year's freshmen gives Davis some reasons to be optimistic. With a strong incoming freshmen class, PC is ready to move back up in the standings. Who's Back: Senior Marshon Brooks figures to be the Friars' go-to guy. The 6-5 senior can play shooting guard or on the wing. Last season, he averaged 14.2 ppg and shot 35.1 percent from 3-point range. The point guard spot seems set with sophomore Vincent Council. A BIG EAST All-Rookie pick last season, the 6-2 Council averaged 10.3 ppg and a team-leading 4.6 assists. His 1.9 assist-to-turnover ratio was 11th in the BIG EAST. Sophomore guard Duke Mondy came off the bench last season and averaged 3.4 ppg. Center Bilal Dixon was thrust into a starting role last season and performed admirably, averaging 8.2 points and 6.8 rebounds. Senior Ray Hall, a burly 7-0, 285-pound center, will continue in his backup role to Dixon. Kadeem Batts is a frontcourt candidate who could be a factor in the low post. The 6-9 Batts was redshirted last season. Who's Missing: Forward Jamine Peterson, who was fourth in the BIG EAST in scoring (19.6) and second in rebounding (10.2), was dismissed from the team for a violation of school policy. Guard Sharaud Curry was a four-year contributor who finished his career by averaging 15.5 ppg last year. He finished fifth on the BIG EAST career list for free throw percentage in league games, hitting 87.9 percent. Guard Brian McKenzie (5.8) was a solid perimeter shooter. Storylines: The Friars will still be a young squad this season, but Council and Dixon proved themselves last season as freshmen. Brooks has been a productive scorer throughout his career. Some of the freshmen will get long looks to fill in at the other positions. Gerard Coleman could help right away. Like Brooks, Coleman can play the big guard or on the wing. Dre Evans may be slotted this year to back up Council at the point. Forward Ron Giplaye is a strong, physical player who may contribute immediately around the basket. Forwards Brice Kofane and Lee Goldsbrough also will compete to earn a spot in the rotation. Last season, the Friars led the BIG EAST in scoring (82.4), but were last in scoring defense (82.2).