It had been eight seasons since PC had enjoyed the services of an All-America big man and Friar basketball was at one of its all-time lows. Otis Thorpe was the bright spot in the dark, early years of Providence College and its membership in the BIG EAST Conference. A powerful rebounder, Thorpe was a two-time team MVP. He still ranks seventh on the all-time rebounding list at Providence and was the first player since Marvin Barnes to average over 10 rebounds per game in a season. A two-time Honorable Mention All-America selection, Thorpe was PC's first First Team All-BIG EAST player.
The longest and most successful NBA career of any PC Friar probably belongs to Otis Thorpe. Thorpe was selected ninth overall in the 1984 NBA Draft by Kansas City and made an immediate impact for the Kings, averaging 12.8 points per game. After cracking the starting lineup in 1986, Thorpe quickly became one of the league's best power forwards and a rebounding machine, averaging a double-double consistently during his prime. Thorpe's most impressive statistic, however, was field goal percentage. For his career, Otis shot 54.6% from the field and still ranks first on the Houston Rockets all-time list in that category. Thorpe made the All-Star team as a member of the Rockets in 1992 and was an integral part of the Houston Rockets' first NBA Championship in 1994. He continued to play professionally until 2001 and retired with over 17,000 points and 10,000 rebounds over his 17-year career. Thorpe holds career averages of 14.0 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.