Great first impression by Kim English's Providence Friars, but there are still questions

Thinking out loud … while wondering if, at first, you don’t succeed, don’t we have a lot in common?

∎First impressions. Sometimes, they are lasting impressions. Other times, you hope what you see … is what you DON’T get.

The opening night vibe in the AMP was very much like a midseason Big East game. The announced crowd of more than 11K might have been 5-6K in previous years for openers, but not this season. Anticipation is high in Friartown.

But anticipation and expectation often exceed reality. Sorry for the wet blanket.

On the team, these Friars are very athletic and can be explosive offensively. They’re long enough to be disruptive defensively. But I’m left with two distinct notions: 1, Not sure they can shoot the 3 well enough to do what Kim English really wants them to do, and 2, rebounding will be a struggle from time to time.

For Providence to realize the preseason notion that it can be competitive in a beast of a Big East, shooting well is a must. Getting to the line (and making free throws) is a must. And not getting beat up inside is a must. The most “valuable” player this year, from this point of view, is Josh Oduro.

And relax, Friar Faithful, on super-frosh Garwey Dual’s foot "issue" after he left the opener early. He should be fine. Way too early to sweat out the small stuff.

Columbia defender Noah Robledo reaches but doesn't stop Friars guard Corey Floyd Jr. from getting off a pass in the first half of the season-opener on Monday.
Columbia defender Noah Robledo reaches but doesn't stop Friars guard Corey Floyd Jr. from getting off a pass in the first half of the season-opener on Monday.

∎What kind of impressions did the URI Rams, Brown Bears and Bryant Bulldogs leave in Week 1? Rhody appears to be much more athletic than last season’s 9-win club. After beating Central Connecticut in its opener, we see Jaden House (the High Point transfer) can score it. But can anyone else consistently help him?

Not for nuthin’, but 69 of the Rams' 81 points on Monday night came from players NOT in the program a year ago.

Brown had a tough one in an opening loss at Colgate, losing on a rim-out at the buzzer. Colgate is a three-time defending Patriot League champion. The Bears have their own postseason aspirations, and an inside-outside combo in Nana Owusu-Anane and Kino Lilly that will keep them in a lot of games.

As for Bryant, Phil Martelli, Jr.’s debut also fell short on a shot at the buzzer by Manhattan at home. The ultimate key to success in any league, no matter the league, is to win at home and break even away.

Phil Martelli Jr., Bryant men's intermin basketball coach, lost his opener to Manhattan.
Phil Martelli Jr., Bryant men's intermin basketball coach, lost his opener to Manhattan.

Three of the four debuts for the men’s teams had the locals covering the spread. Just sayin’.

∎What about the women’s teams? Smashing debut for Erin Batth at PC, with the Friars rolling over Hampton, 76-46 on Tuesday night. Olivia Olsen and Grace Efosa combined to equal the Pirates’ team total of 46 points for Providence. Tammy Reiss’ Rams, a favorite in the Atlantic 10, dominated Sacred Heart, 91-40. A 58-12 scoring margin in the paint shows these Rams can play bully-ball.

∎In the Big East, Creighton is dynamic. The only team capable of stopping the Bluejays might be the Bluejays themselves, if they have an off night of shooting. They sank 18 3s in their 51-point opening night win over Florida A&M. The ingredients are all there for a magical run. The Jays will be fun to watch, and not so much fun to play against.

Rick Pitino’s St. John’s debut was solid in a win over a pretty good Stony Brook team, but it still looks as if cohesiveness will take some time in Queens. There are a lot of moving parts, and they may not all find a slot. But Joel Soriano is slimmed down and has added a 3-ball, while Harvard transfer Chris Ledlum looks to be a go-to guy.

Ed Cooley’s first game as head coach at Georgetown was a big win over Division I newcomer LeMoyne. But the bigger win may have been the 9K+ fans in the whatever-they’re-calling-it-these-days arena, including a full student section. Ed certainly knows how to recruit.

Hosting Purdue Fort Wayne, DePaul came back from a 41-33 halftime deficit to take a 68-62 lead with under four minutes remaining before losing 82-74. Not the way to escape preseason prognostications of basement dwelling for the Blue Demons.

Butler athletic director Barry Collier announced his retirement last week, effective at the end of next April, after 31 years in Indianapolis as a player, coach, and administrator — 50 years in college athletics. The change in college sports this man has seen?

Villanova will dedicate “Wright Way” in front of the Finneran Pavilion on campus before their game against St. Joseph’s Nov. 29th. The street is being renamed for the Hall of Fame former coach and his wife Patty’s contributions to their community.

PC women’s soccer is NCAA-bound, opening at Mississippi State after reaching the Big East semis. It’s the second NCAA bid for the Friars under Sam Lopes in three years. The men’s team, in reaching the Big East semis themselves, placed five players with all-Big East honors.

Helluva time to be a Friar fan. Nate Leaman’s hockey Friars are climbing the national polls, up to No. 5/6 this week after winning two against UNH. Off to a 2-0-2 start in Hockey East, PC plays a home-and-home with Northeastern this weekend.

My buddy “Big E” sez he ran into a little trouble telling the truth to Mrs. E this week. She asked if he ever thought about her during his day, and he told her “Of course, sweetheart. But I’m also thinking about nachos.”

Sprechen sie Deustch? German potato salad, or traditional “American” potato salad? Chunked or mashed? Mustard and mayo or vinegar? Is it OK to like all of the above?

Knockwurst or bratwurst? More of a “brat” guy in this corner, but you probably knew that already if you’re a frequent consumer of this particular column.

And why the sudden Germanic food experience? Cuz the football experience for the Patriots in Germany this weekend may not be worth stomaching. Bitte (translation — you are welcome).

Said it before, but after watching defeat snatched from the jaws of victory against Washington last weekend, it bears repeating. Discipline is nonexistent. Self-accountability, apparently, is also on a steep decline.

ESPN’s Kris Rhim said this week that Los Angeles Chargers GM Tom Telesco went into a defensive backs meeting after trading J.C. Jackson back to New England and personally apologized for signing him in the first place.

He called it “a swing and a miss.” Ouch. And Jackson didn’t make the trip to Germany with the team? Dude needs to grow up or get out. The Patriots can’t afford any more swings and misses; they’ve made enough already.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots will face the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday in Germany.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots will face the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday in Germany.

More: Here are 10 possible Patriots head coaches should Bill Belichick get the ax

X post of the Week, from @nolanc79: “The ‘Kraft owes us answers’ people are weird. He doesn’t owe anyone s***. Neither does Bill. They had the best 21 year run in NFL history. Last couple years have been up and down, this is the worst of it. Rams gave up everything for one SB. You won 6, saw 9. Get over yourselves.”

Here’s an interesting baseball note from Front Office Sports: Craig Counsell earned $22 million in 16 seasons as a major league baseball player, but his new $40 million deal to be the Cubs’ manager will pay him more than that — in just three years.

If big spending is the key to creating success again in baseball (like we don’t know that already around here, and in — New York), wonder if the Red Sox and Craig Breslow will get the message. As mentioned previously, the Rangers’ spending of more than $500 million on talent alone was unprecedented — but it worked.

100+ losses to World Series champs in two years. It can be done. But I’m not sure these Sox have the stomach — or the pocketbook commitment — for it.

A new study conducted by USA Legal Betting sez there’s a foul committed in the NBA every 12 minutes. Every 12 minutes? How about every 12 seconds? I like basketball, but I don’t like watching rugby on the parquet floor.

The worst offending team? In the “Some-Things-Never-Change” Department, I give you the Detroit Pistons. One foul every 11 minutes and 19 seconds. Somehow, I think McFilthy (Bill Laimbeer) and McNasty (Rick Mahorn) would call them wimps.

The Detroit Pistons team featuring Isaiah Thomas, Rick Mahorn and Bill Lambeer celebrate their 1989 NBA championship after beating the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Detroit Pistons team featuring Isaiah Thomas, Rick Mahorn and Bill Lambeer celebrate their 1989 NBA championship after beating the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Celtics’ offense could be a record-setter. The defense? When you find it, let me know.

The USL — a step just below MLS in U.S. pro soccer — has reached a multi-year deal to have CBS televise 100 matches annually through 2027. The new Rhode Island FC team, scheduled to begin play next year, will be an expansion USL Championship member.

Robert's email this week: “I’m sure I’m not the only one who would like to know just what are the rules for college athletes transferring, transfer portal, etc? Can you elucidate?

Robert, I can also elaborate: Right now, Division I athletes are limited to a transfer window in the portal (30 days) following the conclusion of their respective seasons. Football players also have this, plus an extra 15 days during the spring practice season should they decide to move on. You’re allowed one free transfer during your career. Athletes have five years to play four seasons. The clock won’t start unless a transfer student doesn’t attend classes — like Will McNair in the Friars’ case. He will be eligible to face his former team in the Bahamas next week … playing for Kansas State.

Interested in having your questions on Rhode Island sports (and yes, that includes the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins, and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Think out loud and send your questions, comments, and local stories to We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/threads right here! Join me on Twitter/X, @JRbroadcaster…on Facebook,, and on Instagram and Threads @JRbroadcaster.

This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Providence College basketball looks great so far, but there are concerns