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Providence picked third in Big East preseason poll

John Rooke
October 25, 2018 - 3:01 pm
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The expectations for the upcoming season have increased, considerably.

At his radio coaches’ show earlier this week, Providence’s Ed Cooley mentioned he thought his team would be picked “around 7th or 8th” by his fellow coaches in the Big East, as the coaches do all the preseason prognostication – including the all-league honors for the players.

After the results were revealed at Madison Square Garden in New York Thursday, it’s apparent his fellow coaches must think a LOT of what Coach Cooley has in his young Friar team for this season. 

Minus three senior starters from last season, PC still finds itself as a preseason pick for 3rd in the conference, behind defending national champion Villanova, and Marquette – which returns four starters and is the most experienced team in the Big East as the 2018-19 season tips off.

“We’re young, we’re going to make some mistakes, but we hope to be able to coach ourselves through it,” Cooley said.  “It will be different, I’ll need to coach a little bit more.” 

As for the individual honors, the Friars were also well represented on the preseason all-Big East teams, with 6-7 junior swingman Alpha Diallo named to the all-Big East 1st team.  In addition, there’s now a certain amount of pressure thrust upon the young-but-sturdy shoulders of 6-5 freshman David Duke – a highly-ranked and recruited guard and native of Providence who was named as the co-Freshman of the Year along with Villanova guard Jahvon Quinerly.

Considering Friar point guards have led the Big East in assists for six of the previous seven seasons under Cooley, the expectations are climbing quickly for a young player on a young team, at a position of great importance.  But it’s also that way for several teams in this league this year.

“The league is really young right now and that’s good but we’re only going to get better,” Cooley told the media gathering at the Garden.  “Our guys are exciting and they’re ready to play, but we’re going to make a lot of mistakes.  They’re able to coach themselves through it, so it will be different.”

Providence’s regular season begins Tuesday, November 6th at the Dunkin Donuts Center against Siena, followed by a trip to Annapolis, MD for the Veterans Classic matchup against perennial NCAA contender Wichita State on November 9th.

The Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off at Mohegan Sun will also prove to be an early season challenge, with Providence playing 2017 Final Four participant South Carolina in the opening round, and potentially facing 2018 Final Four runner-up Michigan.

Expectations are high, as expected, for a team that has reached five NCAA Tournaments in a row.  That’s life in the Big East.

PRESEASON COACHES POLL

  1. Villanova
  2. Marquette
  3. Providence
  4. St. John’s
  5. Butler
  6. Xavier
  7. Georgetown
  8. Seton Hall
  9. Creighton
  10. DePaul

PRESEASON ALL-BIG EAST 1st TEAM

Kamar Baldwin, Butler

Jesse Govan, Georgetown

Shamorie Ponds, St. John’s

Alpha Diallo, Providence

Markus Howard, Marquette

Eric Paschall, Villanova

PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Ponds, St. John’s

2nd TEAM

Max Strus, DePaul

Sam Hauser, Marquette

Justin Simon, St. John’s

Myles Powell, Seton Hall

Phil Booth, Villanova

PRESEASON FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR

(tie) David Duke, Providence

(tie) Jahvon Quinerly, Villanova

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