Providence picked 9th in Big East preseason coaches poll

October 11, 2016 - 6:14 am
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Maybe Providence coach Ed Cooley has his bulletin board material? And perhaps the Friars also have a lot of work to do before the season gets started next month. Both thoughts figure prominently into Cooley's sixth team at Providence College for the 2016-17 season. With Big East media day taking place at Madison Square Garden in New York on Tuesday, the Friars were selected ninth out of the 10 league teams in the preseason vote of the coaches. Of course, when you lose two NBA draft picks (Kris Dunn, Ben Bentil) from your roster, a rebuild is to be expected. The Friars do have four players with starting experience returning (Kyron Cartwright, Rodney Bullock, Jalen Lindsey, Ryan Fazekas), but the Big East coaches have favored the teams with league-wide stars, and perhaps that's the smart play for the start. But each year in the first five seasons under Cooley, Providence has finished higher than selected by the coaches in the preseason. Defending national champion Villanova, with preseason Player of the Year Josh Hart, is the overwhelming choice to defend its conference crown, with Xavier receiving the only other first-place vote (coaches can't vote for their own teams). Creighton, Georgetown and Seton Hall round out the top five. The first-team preseason All-Big East squad includes Villanova's Hart and Kris Jenkins -- who hit the shot against North Carolina to win the national title in April -- Xavier guards Trevon Bluiett and Edmond Sumner, Butler forward Kelan Martin and Creighton guard Maurice Watson (a Boston University transfer). The second team includes DePaul guard Billy Garrett Jr., Marquette center Luke Fischer, Seton Hall's Khadeen Carrington and Angel Delgado, and Georgetown forward Isaac Copeland. Honorable mention honors were received by Creighton newcomer Marcus Foster, Georgetown's L.J. Peak and Villanova sophomore guard Jalen Brunson. No Friar made the preseason All-Big East teams. St. John's freshman guard Shamorie Ponds was selected as the preseason Freshman of the Year, coming from Brooklyn's Thomas Jefferson High School where he was a consensus four-star recruit and the New York State Player of the Year in 2015-16. Providence will begin its quest for a school-record fourth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament at the Dunkin' Donuts Center on Nov. 14 against Vermont. All regular-season and postseason games will be broadcast on 103.7 WEEI-FM. PC's only exhibition game also will be held at the Dunk, on Oct. 29 against Carleton University of Canada. BIG EAST MEN'S PRESEASON POLL 2016-17 1. Villanova 2. Xavier 3. Creighton 4. (tie) Georgetown 4. (tie) Seton Hall 6. Butler 7. Marquette 8. St. John's 9. Providence 10. DePaul