With just one game left of their regular season, Providence is standing tall with a 21-9 overall record, and 13-6 in the conference. This puts them comfortably in third place, but of course, anything can happen in March. Based on their resume, Providence is predicted to be an 8 or 9 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Last year, the Friars won their first Big East Championship and made it to the Sweet 16 of The Dance for the first time in 25 years. Ed Cooley had an amazing coaching season, earning himself Big East Coach of the Year and Naismith National Coach of the Year.
With his experience and skills, Cooley could go anywhere in the country. However, his job at Providence is not finished, and the head coach returned this season to bring the Friars to the next level. That included landing all-star forward Bryce Hopkins, a sophomore transfer from Kentucky.
Bryce Hopkins came to Providence to get more playing time, and from what it seems like, Cooley has been able to deliver. Hopkins has been a dominant force during his first season with Providence basketball averaging 34.8 minutes per game. BH is a consistent shooter, currently 3rd in the conference, and is leading his team with an average of 16.5 points a game. The 6-7 small forward plays bigger than he is listed at, swarming the paint with rebounds, averaging 8.7 boards a game. While he attacks with confidence down low, he also can shoot threes, which makes him a huge threat whenever he is challenged on the court.
Hopkins’s skills have not gone unnoticed as he has been named the Big East Player of the Week twice (12/26/22, 2/20/23) and is a mid-season candidate for the Naismith Men’s Player of the Year Award, the Oscar Robertson Award, and the Karl Malone Award. With all his accolades and recognition, Kentucky should regret letting go of this former four-star forward to the transfer portal.
The Big East is a tough and competitive conference, and Bryce Hopkins is giving his all at helping Providence soar to the top of the standings. During huge games against Creighton and Villanova in one week, Hopkins averaged over 19 points and 10 rebounds with a handful of assists, steals, and blocks as well. He shot 4-7 from three, 9-12 from the free-throw line, and recorded his 10th double-double of the season.
BH knows when his team needs points, he can and will deliver. That is exactly the type of player Ed Cooley and his Friars will need going into the NCAA tournament. Bryce Hopkins left the Cats and never looked back because Providence basketball is exactly where he should be.