The Providence Friars finished February with a 5-1 record, their best ever for the month, which included victories over two ranked opponents. They have made great improvements during the season and are getting better as the season goes on. Part of the reason behind the improvement is the growth of junior guard Bryce Cotton.
Cotton is a 6-1 guard and is the Big East’s leading scorer averaging 20.2 points per contest. He is an undersized combo guard but is one of the toughest covers in the Big East. Cotton has exceptional speed and is hard to track in transition. He’s not afraid to attack the rim because he can finish around or over a big using a floater or a runner. Cotton is a perfect compliment to his backcourt-mate Vincent Council who is a phenomenal play-maker. Collectively, they will ball pressure and force traps which allow them to force turnovers and get on the break which usually allows Cotton to get out and score.
Cotton’s best attribute is his 3-point shooting ability. Cotton loves to run off screens and catch-and-shoot the deep ball. He doesn’t have the prettiest looking release with his elbow out and his right leg turning in, but when he gets a good look from three the ball will most likely see the bottom of the rim. He is a great shooter in transition and has good elevation and a quick release. Cotton is averaging a Big East leading 3.19 three-pointers per game. He also ranks 11th in the nation in this category. He is shooting 38.1% from long distance this season.
Cotton is a fearless player. He is very determined and while he might be the smallest player on the court at times he has a big heart and a lot of confidence. On Saturday against St. John’s, Cotton scored 19 of his 24 points in the second half to seal a tough victory. Even though he struggled to get going in the first half, the second half you saw a completely different player who was determined to get the victory as he scored eight points in the final 3:44 of the game.
Providence has won seven of their last eight games and are really turning it on going into the Big East Tournament. If Cotton keeps shooting and scoring at a high level Providence might have some Big East teams on upset alert during the tourney next week.
1. Georgetown 2. Marquette 3. Louisville 4. Pittsburgh 5. Syracuse 6. Notre Dame 7. Cincinnati 8. Connecticut 9. Providence 10. Villanova 11. St. John’s 12. Rutgers 13. Seton Hall 14. DePaul 15. South Florida
John Cavaliere is a Scout and Correspondent for NetScouts Basketball and covers the Big East. Thanks to bigeast360.com for the photo.