The Providence Friars boasted two winter superstars: hockey goalie John Gillies earned Most Outstanding Player distinction in delivering the school a surprise national title before signing professionally and Kris Dunn decided to hold off a year on an NBA contract to try to give Friars basketball a Big East title.
We ran the Value Add Sports calculations on all returning athletes in the state and emailed sports writers and other experts in the state to help rank the 25 state players to watch on a list.
Dunn could rank as an All-American this season and the greatest Providence basketball player since Lenny Wilkens. Nap Lajoie finished his Hall of Fame baseball career 99 years ago, and stands the greatest player ever from the state according to the December 23, 2012, Bleacher Report.
However, as great as Dunn may be, Providence will have trouble repeating as the best team in the state as Rhode Island returns much more of their team, perhaps enough that Dan Hurley is ready for the kind of NCAA run his brother Bobby enjoyed at Buffalo last year and that their father often experiences back in their home town of Jersey City with St. Anthony.
The Rams fought a very competitive A-10 battle to the end, and then won an NIT game before finally losing at Stanford. They lost to Dayton by only four in the conference tournament, and Dayton turned around and destroyed Providence, who did lose their second best player behind Dunn.
Providence won by eight at home last year, but Dunn needs to take it to another level to go into Rhode Island on December 5 and win state bragging rights as well as bragging rights for the Big East against the A-10. The best player on the court will be Dunn. But the second, third, and fourth best player on the court will all be on the other bench.
Here are the top 10 to watch.
- Kris Dunn, Providence, Basket, PG
- John Pangborn, Rhode Island, Track/Field, Decathlon
- Hassan Martin, Rhode Island, Basket, PF
- E.C. Matthews, Rhode Island, Basket, SF
- Jared Terrell, Rhode Island, Basket, SG
- Jalen Lindsey, Providence, Basket, SG
- Justin Massey, Brown/2017, Basket, SG
- Dalton Easton, Bryant Bulldogs, Foot, QB
- Dan Garvin, Bryant, Basket, C
- Tyler Catlina, Rhode Island Rams, Foot, OLine and Cedric Kuakumensah, Brown, Basket, C (tie)