The anticipation had been growing for Friar fans in a season that at one time over the summer had high expectations.
A few tough blows to their highly-regarded recruiting class brought Providence back down to earth, but a quick start and the debuts of two anticipated newcomers have increased that potential yet again.
Sidiki Johnson, a transfer from Arizona, came off the bench on Tuesday night, making his debut for the Friars by scoring four points and grabbing eight rebounds in 16 minutes of action. Johnson, who was a former top-100 recruit for the Wildcats, will be looking to settle in for Providence this season and take his collegiate career to the next level in the coming years.
However, while Johnson’s first action shed positive light on the Friars’ front court, it was the highly-anticipated debut of Kris Dunn that Providence fans had been even more excited for.
Dunn, who was considered by many major recruiting outlets as the top point guard from within the class of 2012, had been sidelined since the middle of the summer with a shoulder injury. The recovery process, which was originally scheduled to sideline Dunn until after the New Year, had even sparked a potential redshirt conversation.
Head coach Ed Cooley ultimately made the decision to keep Dunn on the active roster given his recovery process and on Tuesday night, that patience seemed to quickly pay off.
Dunn played 27 minutes in his first collegiate game and the freshman racked up 13 assists to go along with seven points on just 3-of-13 shooting. The shooting numbers are not great, but his overall performance was. A rusty shooting percentage from a freshman who is coming off a shoulder injury is no reason to knock Dunn’s initial impact.
Providence will look to build off what they learned in their Tuesday night victory over Colgate, as they prepare for a Saturday showdown on the road at Boston College.
Paul Seaver is the College Basketball Network Manager at Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS