The Friars have landed their prized recruit even though it took seven months longer then they had hoped. According to Mass Rivals’ coach Vin Pastore, guard Makai Ashton-Langford has committed to the Friars. This coming just ten days after Ashton-Langford asked for his release from his NLI from UCONN, who he committed to over the Friars back in September. Ed Cooley went to his prep school Brewster Academy when the first live recruiting period of the offseason opened last Thursday and then Ashton-Langford visited campus over the weekend. Makai Ashton-Langford, a Worcester, MA native, started his career at St. Peter Marian in Worcester before transferring to Cushing Academy and then doing a prep year at Brewster Academy. As someone who grew up in Shrewsbury, MA I couldn’t be more pumped up for a Central MA prospect pledge to the Friars. With Ashton-Langford in the fold and an additional scholarship open to add another piece, what does this mean for the 2017-2018 Friars?
It’s hard not to get excited with the outlook for next season’s team with tonight’s news of Ashton-Langford’s commitment. The Friars team that made the tournament expects to bring everyone back and by adding Makai they address a need from last season. The Friars lacked ball handlers and it showed when they struggled against the press all year. With Ashton-Langford the Friars will have a ton more flexibility in terms of lineup combinations. They can play 2-3 guards on the floor at once, which I know must excite Ed Cooley. The Friars will also add two freshman big men in Dajour Dickens and Nate Watson, which will really help the front court depth. I personally think Dickens is more of a project but can see Watson getting solid rotational minutes as a freshman. Although Rodney Bullock declared for the NBA Draft I see him ending up removing his name once the combine invitations are sent out. While Bullock could be convinced to remain in the Draft, I don’t see him getting an invite to the combine so it wouldn’t be worth staying in the Draft. I think Bullock will use the experiece to improve his all-around game. In terms of the one last scholarship it will be interesting to see what direction Cooley goes. Does he try and land a grad transfer that can impact right away or does he go for a transfer that will have to sit out a year? Cooley could also look to add another uncommitted player from the 2017 class but I think he will look to add a transfer. Ideally the Friars would want to add another three-point shooter. Barring any major shakeup to the team I see the 2017-2018 Friars competing for their first ever Big East regular season title.