It’s year No. 2 of the WPRI College Hoops Column. With only a few more weeks left of the preseason, we figured we would put together eight preview pieces to chew on leading up to Opening Night on Monday Nov. 7. Two pieces drop this week. Coming up on Thursday Oct. 20, we present potential breakout seasons for five players in the state.

But first, here’s our Top 5 Newcomers to watch in 2022-23.

5. Louis Hutchinson – URI freshman wing, 6’7″ 185lbs

Hutchinson was the very first player to commit to the new staff at URI. He uses his long frame to his advantage and his athleticism will enable him to make an immediate difference as he learns the college game. If the success of his family is worth anything, Hutchinson will enjoy a stellar career in Kingston. Get ready. His father was a Division I tennis player. His aunt was a hoops star at Clemson, his uncle played Division I football and he has more than a dozen cousins who played Division I sports. He also hails from an accomplished academic family. His mother and father both have doctoral degrees and his sister earned two bachelor degrees a year ago and a master’s degree this past Spring. The true student-athlete? Hutchinson has the ability to be a cornerstone piece in Kingston. Think EC Matthews, Jeff Dowtin-esque. Being among those names is reachable by the Spring of 2026.

4. Devin Carter – PC sophomore guard, 6’3″ 195lbs

Previous school: South Carolina

Let’s get this out of the way early. A transfer from South Carolina known to be a defensive stopper. The next … Justin Minaya? I’m sure the PC coaching staff would sign up for a carbon copy of the season Minaya had last year, but they’re a little more optimistic about his presence on the other side of the floor. Minaya certainly filled the ‘3 and D’ role though Carter’s playmaking ability gives him a higher ceiling that only he can unlock. He’s shown glimpses of being an elite slasher. He can put the ball on the deck and finish at the rim and also set up his teammates. That part of his game might take some time as he adjusts to new surroundings, so for now expect him to be glued to the opposition’s best player from the onset. 

3. Earl Timberlake – Bryant junior guard, 6’6″ 220lbs

Previous schools: Miami (Fl), Memphis

Arguably the best athlete on any of the four teams, Timberlake arrives at his third school in three years. According to ESPN, Timberlake was rated the 37th best player in the Class of 2020. After two previous disappointing stops, Timberland should have a massive chip on his shoulder. He will play, and play a lot. As far as what to expect, he won’t be quite the rim protector Hall Elisias was but expect Jared Grasso to deploy him in similar ways. Especially lobs, lobs, lobs. If Timberlake can buy in on the defensive end, he’ll earn a long leash which could help him rediscover the swagger he once had.

2. Noah Locke – PC fifth-year guard, 6’3″ 210lbs

Previous schools: Florida, Lousiville

Florida to Louisville to Providence. That’s the SEC to the ACC to the Big East. Noah Locke is well-traveled and certainly the most experienced newcomer in the Ocean State. The shooting guard said he couldn’t turn down Cooley and Co. for a third time. This upcoming season in Friartown is Locke’s final year of eligibility. His game is certainly different than Al Durham’s but the Friars expect him to make a similar impact on the program in one season. His time at Louisville was filled with distraction which hampered his on-court production. It’s a fairly safe bet Locke will return to the sharpshooter we saw in his second and third seasons in Gainesville where he connected on 43.2% and 40.4% of his attempts from deep. Assuming health, he’ll finish his career north of 1,500 points.

1. Doug Edert – Bryant senior guard, 6’2″ 185lbs

Previous school: St. Peter’s

Nationally, he’s the most recognizable face of any player in our state. Dougie Buckets and his mustache helped lead No. 15 seed St. Peters to the Elite Eight last March. He was a pivotal piece to the Peacocks historic upsets of No. 2 seed Kentucky, No. 7 seed Murray State, and No. 3 seed Purdue. Edert’s arrival in Smithfield instantly put Bryant’s name back in the spotlight. Jared Grasso now has a proven winner in March who will certainly be heavily relied upon from the three-point line.