Friars and Blue Demons tip-off at 8:00 p.m. (ET) on January 8 in Chicago, Ill.
The tradition of great Rhode Island players to "stay home" began with Ernie DiGregorio and ended with Joe Hassett in one swift but successful eight-year term. While Ernie D. was pinpointing passes in the Civic Center, Hassett was nailing long-range shots from every high school gym in Rhode Island. Nicknamed "Sonar" for his incredible range, he was an Honorable Mention All-American by his junior year and a Third Team member as a senior. He played for the United States team in the Pan American Games and later in the East-West All-Star Game. He was one of the greatest shooters ever at Providence, averaging 14.7 points per game in his four seasons as a Friar while shooting an impressive 49.3 percent from the field. He ranks sixth all-time at PC in points scored.
The 52nd overall pick in the 1977 NBA draft, Joe Hassett spent his first three seasons with the Seattle Supersonics and was a member of the Sonics 1979 championship team, coached by fellow Providence-alum Lenny Wilkens. A patented sharpshooter, Hassett joined the Indiana Pacers during the 1979-80 season and had a stellar campaign, ranking fourth in the NBA in three-pointers made. He spent his final three seasons with the Dallas Mavericks and Golden State Warriors before retiring in 1983. For his career, Hassett averaged 5.9 points in 292 games over six seasons of action.
Hassett is a member of the New England Basketball Hall of Fame, the Providence College Hall of Fame, the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame, and the Rhode Island Interscholastic League Hall of Fame. He now provides color commentary for the Providence Friars basketball team on 103.7 FM radio.