Happenings Around Friartown

I go on vacation for one week without my computer for the first time in I don’t even know how long and obviously, there are roughly 1,000 things happen within that time. I wanted to write some individual articles about some of these happenings because a couple of them were some pretty big news, but I’m just going to knock them out here instead since there is just so much to cover.

1. Garwey Dual (’23) Re-Commits to Providence and Kim English

If you were one of the few hold outs on the Kim English hiring even though he was able to keep all of the major players in Providence (Bryce Hopkins, Devin Carter, Corey Floyd Jr., Jayden Pierre, and more) and bring in his top guys from George Mason (Josh Oduro, Justyn Fernandez, and incoming recruit Richard Barron), then this has to be the news that puts you firmly in the great hire side of the argument. Yes, we haven’t gotten to the actually coaching aspect yet, but he has accomplished literally everything you could ask from a coach taking over a program.

The cherry on the top is getting Top-50 incoming Freshman Garwey Dual to re-commit to Providence College. Dual was the first player to verbally commit to PC from the 2023 class but de-committed once Ed Cooley unceremoniously left for the inter-conference head coaching job at Georgetown. Even after Dual verbally committed to coming to Providence, he never officially signed his National Letter of Intent like his Southern California Academy teammates Drew Fielder (followed Cooley to Georgetown) & Donovan Santoro (reaffirmed that he’s coming to Friartown) did, intending to do so in April when both his parents would be able to be there for his special milestone. Brendan McGair, who has been killing it lately reporting on the Friars, wrote a really great article about the important moment for Garwey and his family.

Ed Cooley recruited Garwey Dual for 2+ years. Kim English recruited him for just 3 weeks and was able to convince him that coming to play for him at Providence was the right move to make. Here is Garwey talking about what went into his decision to re-commit to Providence College and make a commitment to new Coach Kim English.

“I feel like the reason I gravitated towards coach Kim is because for one he’s been in the NBA and had a successful career so therefore he knows exactly what it takes. But we all know just because you play doesn’t mean you’re automatically a good coach so when I saw he had elite feel for both things I just knew then and there he could help get me get to the next level without a doubt and his work ethic is inspiring. Every time we speak he’s either on the way to the gym and or in the gym and that’s just something made gravitate to him even more.”

The Friars haven’t had a commitment from a Top-100 ranked player since Greg Gantt in 2019 and hasn’t locked in a player in the Top-50 since 2018 with David Duke Jr. and AJ Reeves. In the newest ESPN Rankings, Dual checks in at number 41 and would be the 4th highest ranked recruit to head to Providence in the last decade (Kris Dunn – 19, Ricky Ledo – 11, & Makai Ashton-Langford – 40).

2. Davonte Gaines the Latest from George Mason to Head to Providence

Davonte Gaines will officially be the fourth player that will follow Kim English to Providence. Josh Oduro will use his 5th year of eligibility at Providence, Justyn Fernandez will have 3 more years of eligibility remaining, Richard Barron changed his commitment from George Mason to Providence, having all 4 years of eligibility available, and now Gaines rounds out the list of former Patriots turned Friars.

Gaines is a 6’7” wing who truly exemplifies what it is to be a 3-and-D guy. Going by “Ticket” or “Hollywood,” he doesn’t have a preference which one you use, Gaines will be following English for the third time. He started his career at Tennessee for 2 years with English as an Assistant, followed him to George Mason for the next 2 with English’s transition to a head coaching role, and will now take the short trip North to use his extra year of eligibility in Friartown.

Gaines started 52 of 53 games at George Mason, shooting 37.3% from three over the two seasons. Essentially, just imagine what you we thought Jimmy Nichols was going to turn into at Providence and you have a general idea of what to expect from Hollywood. Much in the same vein as Justin Minaya, his impact on the court, specifically defensively, can not be fully measured in pure stats. As he likes to say…

3. Jared Bynum Using His Fifth Year of Eligibility at Stanford

Jared Bynum’s path to a decision for next year was pretty quiet compared to a lot of other player’s in the transfer portal but that tracks to how Bynum handles most things, not being overly boisterous or with a look-at-me mentality that some players do these days.

Bynum missed most of January with an abdominal injury following a great home win against the eventual National Champion UConn Huskies, eventually easing his way back into the rotation. Over the season, Bynum still managed to averaged double-digit points (10.0 ppg) and led the team in assists (4.3 apg), holding a 2.69:1 assist to turnover ratio. His three-point shooting took a big step back this year dropping from 41.3% to 31.9%, coinciding with an uptick in attempts by 0.5 per game. Through the first 16 games through the UConn game, Bynum had struggled with getting into the a shooting rhythm and was shooting just 24.1% from deep (14/58). It could have been playing with so many new players on the team and having everyone adjusting to their new roles, including Bynum’s as a starter, added pressure from being one of the only returnees on the team and trying to fill the big scoring void left from last season, or just a slow start in general. It was probably a combination of a bunch of different things, but either way, once he returned from injury, Bynum shot 24/61 (39.3%) from distance, clearly showing the same marksmanship that made him so lethal at times the previous season.

If Bynum can avoid any continually nagging injuries, he can be a gigantic help to a Stanford team that finished 10th in the Pac-12 last season and with an overall losing record of 14-19.

4. Quante Berry Enters the Transfer Portal

I was really excited to see what Quante Berry could contribute to this year’s team after redshirting last season and it felt like he wanted to be in Friartown as well. His main attribute is his shooting ability and at 6’4”, he had good size for a guard as well. It sucks that he’s not going to get the chance to play in front of Friars fans but I’m going to keep tabs on him wherever he ends up and will absolutely be rooting for him to succeed in a big way.

5. Kris Dunn, Justin Minaya, & David Duke Jr. End the Year on NBA Rosters

Kris Dunn not only ended the season with the Utah Jazz but he made a big enough impact that he was signed to a 2-year deal worth $3.3 million. Dunn, who with his elite defensive skills, should have never not been on an NBA roster, has found a way to vastly improve his most glaring weakness since entering The League…his three-point shooting.

Through his first 6 seasons in the NBA (245 games), Dunn shot 128/428 (29.9%) from three, including just 1/13 in a small sample size of the previous two short stints with the Trail Blazers and Hawks (18 games). After shooting 40.8% from deep with the G-League Capital City Go-Gos, leading the G-League in steals at 2.5 per game while finishing 2nd in assists at 5.5 apg, his continued hard work translated over to the Jazz where Dunn shot 17/36 (47.2%) from three over the last 22 games of the season, including 3 starts. Dunn averaged 13.2 ppg, 5.6 apg, 4.5 rpg, 1.1 spg, and just 1.6 T/O per game, doing the most with his opportunity and earning himself a nice contract in the process.

Justin Minaya got the call up from the Portland Trail Blazers from the Mexico City Capitanes of the G-League, getting some action during 4 games down the stretch for a team that was out of the playoff mix and hampered by injuries. But, before we get into that, I highly suggest reading former Providence Assistant Coach Bob Walsh’s write-up about Minaya in his one-year at Providence. Here’s a little tidbit to wet your pallet.

“Anytime a player you’ve coached makes it to the NBA, you feel great. They’ve achieved a lifelong dream. But I was a little more pumped when Justin Minaya got called up by the Trail Blazers for the last two weeks of the season. He’s not a kid who anyone saw as a potential NBA player based on his skill set, but the more you are around him, the more you get to coach him, the more you realize he’s just got something special. If there was a stat for “Impact on winning that doesn’t show up in the box score, Justin Minaya would be an All-American. He helps his team win every day. Justin Minaya, who averaged 6.5 and 5.5 in his last year in college, is an NBA player.”

Coach Bob Walsh

If you have a basketball team and you want to win, you want Justin Minaya playing for that basketball team. All he does is make winning plays.

David Duke Jr. is quite simply too good to be playing for the Long Island Nets. Duke averaged 22.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg, and 3.8 apg on his way to making the First Team All-G-League.

In fact, a lot of guys on that team should probably be in the NBA. The Long Island Nets won a G-League season-record 16 games in a row this past season

This is the first time that Providence College has had at least three players in the NBA at the same time since the 2016-2017 season when Kris Dunn was drafted to the Minnesota Timberwolves, MarShon Brooks came back to the NBA after 3 years out of The League to play 7 games with the Memphis Grizzlies, and Ben Bentil became the first Ghanian player to play a game in the NBA with the Dallas Mavericks (3 games total). Before that you’d have to go back a decade to the 2006-2007 season when Austin Croshere was on the Dallas Mavericks, Eric Williams split time between the Sacramento Kings and Charlotte Bobcats, and Ryan Gomes was on the Boston Celtics.

And they updated their facility Pro Wall for the occasion as well.

6. Preferred Walk-On Scott Morozov Enters the Transfer Portal

Scott Morozov actually has some good size, standing 6’6” and is continually front and center in any workout videos that the team posts on social media.

The dude is a worker and could probably see some court time at a smaller school. Best of Luck to Scott and remember…Once A Friar, Always A Friar.

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