GREENSBORO, N.C. – If the past two seasons have revealed anything, it’s that Providence College has provided a soft-landing spot for players exiting the transfer portal.
On the heels of one-year rentals Al Durham and Justin Minaya helping Ed Cooley’s Friars reach the Sweet 16 and capture the program’s first Big East regular-season championship, the 2022 portal harvest resulted in the addition of an All-Big East First Team selection (Bryce Hopkins), a two-way threat (Devin Carter), and a 39-percent shooter from three (Noah Locke). A second straight trip to the NCAA Tournament further validates the choices made by the latest round of PC’s portal hoppers.
One of the sporting world’s elite events might be in full swing, yet portal season is in full bloom. For every bracket-breaking moment, players from around the country are racing to enter their names in hopes of kickstarting the transfer process, i.e. hearing from potential suitors. As Locke, Hopkins and Carter demonstrated this season and Durham and Minaya before them, tthe Friars under Cooley’s watch have emerged as a destination worth exploring if you’re a player seeking a new college basketball address.
“Guys coming out of high school, maybe they have a blue blood like Duke or Kentucky recruiting them as well as Providence, but they want to go to those [higher level] schools. They see things within the program [they sign with coming out of high school] that you don’t like. Then you end up going to a school that’s lower but a better fit,” said Locke, who made stops at Florida and Louisville before electing to spend his final season of eligibility with Providence. “Seeing what happened with the guys here last year, it definitely made me put [PC] high up on my list.”
Facts like the inclusion of the Friars in this year’s Field of 68 help validate the choice made by Carter after the guard spending his freshman season at South Carolina. Carter’s decision to enter the transfer portal stemmed from the Gamecocks parting ways with the head coach (Frank Martin) who recruited him to the SEC school.
“Coach Cooley said that he wanted to go back to March Madness and win a national championship, which is every coach’s goal,” said Carter. “I was looking for someone to call home and I found that with Providence.”
Asked if he could harp on one selling point to players currently in the portal regarding why Providence is an option to strongly consider, Carter replied, “The community vibe. Everyone welcomes you with open arms. They love you. In my opinion, they’re the best fans in the country.”
Speaking before Thursday’s practice at the Greensboro Coliseum, Hopkins supplied a checklist that all portal jumpers should keep handy. For the sophomore, the search for a fresh start was the conclusion that was drawn after playing sparingly during his lone season at the same Kentucky program that PC squared off against in the NCAA Tournament Friday night.
“Find the best fit for you. Find the coach who believes in you and is going to give you the opportunity to excel and showcase your talents. That’s what I found with Coach Cooley,” said Hopkins.
Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair03
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