However, what many should take notice of is how quickly the sophomore has adapted and developed himself at the Division I level, going from riding the bench at Kentucky to a leader for a Providence program that currently sits atop Big East conference play at 6-0.
Hopkins transition and on-court play has been nothing short of a revelation for Providence this season and especially as 2022 Naismith Coach of the Year Ed Cooley and his Friars have reached the Big East portion of their schedule.
Averaging 16 PPG, 9.1 RPG, and 2.2 APG while starting all 17 games for Providence this season, Hopkins is headlining a roster that contains multiple former top-100 prospects in Noah Locke and Devin Carter, and several exciting veterans in Ed Croswell, Jared Bynum, and Clifton Moore.
Despite all the talent, Providence was voted just 5th in the Big East’s Preseason Rankings and many expected a mediocre follow up from the Friars after winning the program’s first ever Regular-Season Championship in 2021-22. But Hopkins’ strong performances have changed all that, keeping Providence competitive once again despite preseason notions.
Since entering conference play, Hopkins is averaging 18 PPG and opened with a double-double of 29 points, 23 rebounds, two assists, and three steals to earn a 71-67 road win over Seton Hall.
Taking on No. 4 UConn just two weeks later, Hopkins managed a team-leading 27 points and five rebounds as the Friars defeated the nationally ranked Huskies with a final score of 73-61.
Bryce Hopkins' sophomore jump continued with an
efficient 27 points (13/15 FT) in a win over No. 4 UConn. The 20-year old mismatch forward and Kentucky transfer is averaging 15.7 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists for Providence, now 5-0 in the Big East. pic.twitter.com/OMHHRgRghY
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) January 5, 2023
Even when Hopkins has struggled scoring on the night, he’s still found alternative ways to be productive, best highlighted by six points, eight rebounds, one assist, a block, and a steal during a recent 72-52 victory at Butler. He shot just 25% from the field, but Hopkins still found a way to crash the boards and get things done defensively to contribute to a key win against the Bulldogs.
With Hopkins off to a historic start for Providence, many have begun suggesting that the Kentucky transfer is leading as a potential Big East Rookie of the Year candidate and so far he’s shown nothing but a top mentality and the on-court intangibles to achieve exactly that.