In an unexpected turn of events, it looks like LaSalle transfer Ed Croswell will be suiting up for the Providence Friars for the 2020-2021 college basketball season after receiving an NCAA waiver for the upcoming year. It was long speculated that Croswell would sit out one season, work on his game, and then fill the eventual void that would be left by Nate Watson and Noah Horchler graduating in the Spring of 2021.
However, with the NCAA handing out transfer waivers like hot cakes, it looks like the front court depth for the Friars is officially solidified in a very serious way. Here’s a look at who Ed Cooley will have suiting up in the 4 & 5 slots this year:
Nate Watson – The Senior veteran of this year’s squad, has played nearly 100 games for Providence (96) and started 42 of them. With 878 career points scored, Watson will be looking to eclipse the 1,000 point mark this year and is a shoe-in for the starting Center position. However, with Watson regularly finding himself in foul trouble (his average fouls per game actually went up last year, despite his minutes going down by almost 5 mins. per game), this extra depth will be even more important.
Noah Horchler – The transfer from North Florida will fill in nicely beside Nate Watson as the two players’ skill sets seem to complement each other rather than being superfluous. Watson is an offense force down low while Horchler likes to extend the floor, averaging 2.5 three-point attempts per game in his Junior season compared to Watson never having attempted a three-pointer in his collegiate career. Horchler is also an excellent rebounder, leading the ASUN in boards with 9.3 per game, where as Nate has been averaged more than 5.2 rpg or led the team in rebounding for a season.
Jimmy Nichols Jr. – After sitting out last season as a Medical redshirt, Nichols returns to the lineup with a much thicker frame but still looking as athletic and springy as before. It’ll be interesting to see if his game lends itself more to the slasher role that he filled before of if there is some new post-up moves that he has worked into his repertoire. He already had a high-level knack for blocks, but I’m anxious to see what other enhancements he has added to his game.
Greg Gantt – Probably more of a three than a four but with the line-up flexibility that Ed Cooley likes to play around with, there’s a really good chance that he could find himself in some small ball action on the floor. I personally think he is going to make a jump from his Freshman year to his Sophomore year and he already looked completely comfortable at the college level last season.
Kris Monroe – Kris might unluckily be the odd man out of the rotation once again with Croswell joining the mix but from the clips I’ve seen in the off-season, Monroe looks like a different player from the one we saw last season. It’s tough to come into games cold and be expected to just let it fly from deep right away but it appears that Mornoe has slimmed down a bit and looks primed to surprise a lot of people. You’ve been warned.
Jyare Davis – Another guy that might not technically fall into the front court grouping but who might find himself there at points during the season when Cooley likes to tinker with different lineups.
Ed Croswell – I want to call him Big Ed but Cooley is already Big Ed, so I think I’m going to have to try and come up with something a little more clever by the time the season gets going. Croswell is a big body who will fill in perfectly behind Nate Watson or potentially alongside him sometimes. Croswell is an offensive rebounding BEAST, leading the A-10 in offensive rebound percentage, as well as finishing 3rd in the entire Nation with an offensive rebounding percentage of 18.5%…which is crazy good. As a comparison, Xavier’s Tyrique Jones finished 7th in the country with an OR% of 17.0%, and he led the Big East in offensive rebounds, total rebounds, offensive rebounding percentage, defensive rebounding percentage, and averaged 11.1 rpg last year with 21 double-doubles. Just as a nice side note, Nate Watson also finished 15th in the country in offensive rebounding percentage last year.
Croswell is the second Friar to receive a waiver for this upcoming season, joining Syracuse transfer Brycen Goodine.
Also, props to Jon Rothstein on making sure people were informed of the important breaking news stories rather than the Presidential race.