Providence's Kim English excited about team's leadership, experience in brutal Big East | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Friday / June 21.
  • Providence’s Kim English excited about team’s leadership, experience in brutal Big East

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. — Providence coach Kim English is new to the Big East, but many of his players are not.

    And that’s a good thing for English as he embarks on his first season coaching in the brutal Big East.

    “We have a really good group, an older group, a lot of guys that have played together so just excited,” English, who succeeded Ed Cooley after Cooley left for Georgetown in March, said in an exclusive interview from the Nike Peach Jam where he was recruiting.

    English, 34, is excited to get some practices in with his new team ahead of the Friars’ trip to Spain Aug. 15-25.

    “We’re fortunate to have a foreign tour, so we’ll get some practice in time to get to know each other,” he said.

    Led by Bryce Hopkins (15.8 ppg) and Devin Carter (13.0 ppg), Providence returns 46.3% of its scoring from last season — fourth in the Big East

    The Friars also return other key rotation pieces like Jayden Pierre, Rafael Castro and Corey Floyd Jr. — all of whom are New Jersey natives.

    “We got experience and leadership with some of our transfers as well,” English said, pointing to the additions of 6-foot-9 George Mason transfer Josh Oduro, who averaged 15.6 points and 7.9 rebounds as a senior under English at George Mason, and 6-7 Davonte Gaines, who averaged 7.3 points and 6.1 rebounds as a sophomore.

    “They’re each going into their fifth seasons of college basketball so it’s exciting.”

    The Friars also added four-star Class of 2023 guard Garwey Dual, who had initially committed to Cooley and then decommitted before re-upping with English.

    “We’ll be very competitive,” English said. “I’m excited to continue to put it all together. We have a lot of veterans on our team that consistently played at the highest level.”

    The new coach knows he’ll need as many weapons as possible in the Big East, which features the defending national champions in UConn as well as projected Top 10 teams Marquette and Creighton along with an experienced Xavier team and a resurgent Villanova. With Naismith Hall of Famer Rick Pitino, a former Providence coach, now at St. John’s and Cooley at Georgetown, the league is absolutely loaded.

    “I think in every league you need experience so whenever you can get old together in college basketball, I think it’s a really good thing,” English said.

    Night in and night out, the Big East will offer the opportunity for Quad-1 and resume-building wins as the league looks to put at least half of its 11 teams in the Big Dance.

    “It’s why the league consistently gets five to six to seven teams into the tournament,” English said. “It starts in the non-league, you’ve got to win the games you play and it’s going to be a battle every game.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

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