PC Picked Third In Coaches Poll, Duke & Watson Earn Preseason All-BIG EAST Honors
Providence College Press Release
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – It was announced today (October 28) that Providence College junior guard David Duke (Providence, R.I.) and senior center Nate Watson (Portsmouth, Va.) were named to the Preseason All-BIG EAST Teams. Duke was named to the First Team and Watson earned Second Team honors. Also announced during the BIG EAST Virtual Media Day on Thursday was the Preseason Coaches’ Poll with the Friars being selected to finish third of 11 teams.
Duke had a strong sophomore season as he improved in each significant statistical category from his freshman season. His points per game improved from 7.1 in 2019 to 12.0 in 2020. His rebounding also improved from 2.6 rpg to 4.0 rpg. His shooting took a dramatic rise with his field goal percentage (.387 to .409), three-point field goal percentage (.297 to .420) and free-throw percentage (.689 to .793) all making improvements from freshman through sophomore seasons. In 2019-20, he finished fourth in the league in three-point shooting (42.0 percent) and steals per game (1.5). He also finished first on the team in three-point shooting (42-100, .420) and assists (97, 3.1 apg). Duke also was second on the team in scoring (12.0 ppg). He recorded a career-best game at Creighton on January 18, 2020 when he scored 36 points and was 6-8 from three-point territory.
In 2019-20, Watson finished fourth on the team in scoring (9.0 ppg). He led the squad and ranked ninth in the league in field goal percentage at 51.1 percent. He reached double figures in scoring in 11 of the 27 games he played. Watson also was third on the team in rebounding at 4.6 boards per game. In 96 career games, he has scored 878 points (9.1 ppg) and shot 56.6 percent from the field.
The Friars, who return three starters from last season, finished 2019-20 with a 19-12 overall and a team record 12 wins in BIG EAST play. The Friars entered the 2020 BIG EAST Tournament as hot as any team in the country. The team had won six straight and eight of 10 games to close the regular season with a NET ranking of 37. The squad finished fourth in league standings and was set to play fifth-seeded Butler on March 12 in the BIG EAST Tournament. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic the BIG EAST and NCAA Tournaments were cancelled. The Friars were projected to be a No. 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
2020-21 Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1. Villanova (9) 99
2. Creighton (2) 91
3. Providence 79
4. Connecticut 69
5. Seton Hall 67
6. Marquette 50
7. Xavier 47
8. Butler 37
9. St. John’s 33
10. DePaul 20
11. Georgetown 13
First-place votes in parentheses.
2020-21 BIG EAST Preseason Honors
BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year
Marcus Zegarowski, Creighton, G, Jr., 6-2, 180, Hamilton, Mass.
BIG EAST Preseason Freshman of the Year
Dawson Garcia, Marquette, F, Fr., 6-11, 230, Prior Lake, Minn.
Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team
Charlie Moore, DePaul, G, Sr., 5-11, 180, Chicago, Ill.
David Duke, Providence, G, Jr., 6-5, 205, Providence, R.I.
Sandro Mamukelashvili, Seton Hall, F, Sr., 6-11, 240, Tbilisi, Georgia*
Collin Gillespie, Villanova, G, Sr., 6-3, 191, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.*
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Villanova, F, So., 6-9, 232, Overland Park, Kan.
Preseason All-BIG EAST Second Team^
Bryce Nze, Butler, F, Sr., 6-7, 235, Hartland, Wis.
James Bouknight, Connecticut, G, So., 6-5, 190, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Mitch Ballock, Creighton, G, Sr., 6-5, 205, Eudora, Kan.
Nate Watson, Providence, C, Sr., 6-10, 260, Portsmouth, Va.
Justin Moore, Villanova, G, So., 6-4, 210, Fort Washington, Md.
Paul Scruggs, Xavier, G, Sr., 6-4, 196, Indianapolis, Ind.
Preseason All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention
D.J. Carton, Marquette, G, So., 6-2, 195, Bettendorf, Iowa
Bryce Aiken, Seton Hall, G, Sr., 6-0, 180, Randolph, N.J.
^Tie in the voting allowed for an additional honoree