One of the original teams of the Big East Conference, the Providence College Friars basketball program has had a long and successful history. The Friars have reached four Elite Eights and two Final Fours while sending more than two dozen players to the NBA. The best NBA players from Providence College include three All-Stars with one reaching the Basketball Hall of Fame.
A Hall of Fame player and coach, Lenny Wilkens is a legendary NBA player from Providence College. Wilkens was an elite point guard who played 15 seasons with the Hawks, Sonics, Cavs, and Blazers. After retiring as a player, he also later coached each of the four teams. He earned spots on nine NBA All-Star teams as a permanent fixture on the list of assist leaders. Wilkens dished out more than 7,000 total assists in his career, ranking 11th all-time. He also added three seasons of at least 20 points per game, retiring with a 16.5 career scoring average.
Power forward Otis Thorpe had a lengthy and successful career as one of the best NBA players from Providence College. Thorpe played 17 seasons for the Kings, Rockets, Blazers, Pistons, Grizzlies, Wizards, Heat, and Hornets. His most successful basketball was played in Houston where he became an All-Star and was a big contributor on the 1994 NBA Championship team. He averaged a double-double in five separate seasons, including his championship season. Otis Thorpe retired with 17,600 points and 10,370 rebounds with a .546 career field goal percentage, the 16th highest in NBA history.
One of the best NBA players from Providence College, guard Jimmy Walker was the school’s first and only number one overall draft pick. During his tenure with the Friars, Walker carried the team to the Elite Eight and became the NCAA’s scoring leader in separate seasons. He followed that with two seasons of at least 20 points per game and a career NBA scoring average of 16.7 points. Jimmy Walker played in a pair of NBA All-Star games in 1970 and 1972.
Eric Murdock helped take the Friars to two NCAA Tournaments and became one of the top NBA players from Providence. Murdock had a successful early NBA career as the starting point guard for the Milwaukee Bucks. After his rookie season in Utah, Murdock averaged 14.3 points, 6.9 assists, and 2.1 steals per game in three seasons with Milwaukee from 1992 to 1995. He ranked among the NBA’s top ten leaders in total assists and steals twice a piece.
The most recent Friar to reach the NBA, forward Ryan Gomes was a 2005 second round pick by the Boston Celtics. Gomes immediately exceeded expectations in the pros, earning a spot on the 2006 All-Rookie Second Team. In 2006-07, he became the full-time starting power forward for the Boston Celtics, averaging 12.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. He spent the next three seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves, totaling 4,299 points and 1,920 rebounds through his first five NBA seasons. Gomes now plays for the Los Angeles Clippers.
NBA & ABA Players Who Attended Providence College. Basketball-Reference.com