One of the most anticipated recruiting storylines in the Ed Cooley era finally ended today and Friartown couldn’t be more excited. Rivals Top-40 guard and Providence native David Duke Jr announced his intentions to commit to the Friars on social media. Duke chose the Friars over Virginia Tech and he adds to a class that’s shaping up to be one of the best in the country for Ed Cooley and company. David Duke headlines the class with fellow Mass Rivals teammate and Rivals Top-50 recruit AJ Reeves. The 2018 class also features two forwards who could end up being diamonds in the rough in Khris Monroe and Jimmy Nichols. Today marks the culmination of a lot of hard work from the staff who offered Duke back in May of 2016. Duke’s recruitment had been a bit of a rollercoaster of emotions for Friar fans who saw Kansas offer him in February and saw him cancel his Villanova visit to visit PC instead just last week. While a lot of major programs were involved with Duke at one point or another it came down to PC and Virignia Tech and the Hokies definitely gave it their best effort. They had Duke on campus for their much anticipated football game against the reigning national champion Clemson Tigers and on the visit Duke met Michael Vick and Dell Curry. Current Virginia Tech freshman and one of Duke’s best friends Wabissa Bede was recruiting Duke hard. In the end his relationships with Ed Cooley and Mass Rivals teammate AJ Reeves along with the ability to play for his hometown was too much to pass up.
Duke will bring the Friars an athletically explosive guard, whose defensive ability should translate as soon as he steps on campus. Duke handles the basketball well and has the ability to get to the rim but his offense as a whole will need to improve once he gets here. Duke also needs to develop his abilities as a lead guard and floor general, which shouldn’t be a problem playing for Ed Cooley. Cooley was able to turn Bryce Cotton from a scoring two guard to a more than adequate point guard. The way Cooley develops guards definitely had to be a factor in terms of Duke picking the Friars.
The commitment of David Duke is a big moment for the program, as he solidifies another monster class for the Friars. I firmly believe that the Friars have now opened a window where they can legitimately contend for a national championship. You heard the Crier correctly a NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. This 2018 Class is already the best class Cooley has assembled since landing Kris Dunn and Ricardo Ledo back in 2012. The thing is when those two came to PC the foundation had yet to be laid for the program. Couple that with the fact Ledo never saw the floor for the Friars and that class ended up only taking PC so far. The culture that Ed Cooley intended on creating when taking the PC job is now here and the fact this highly regarded class gets to come in with the culture in place can take the program to that next level. While this current team has a lot of seniors it also features a lot of young talent as well. You have highly regarded guard in Makai Ashton-Langford coming in with two promising bigs this year. You also have Alpha Diallo, who showed a ton of promise as a scoring wing in his freshman year. Maliek White, Kalif Young and Drew Edwards will also be in the program when this 2018 class takes the court, so this will create an opportunity for the Friars to contend for a national title in two or three seasons. What Cooley is doing reminds me a lot of what UCONN did during their two titles in four year run. UConn had Kemba Walker and Shabbaz Napier and then Shabbaz Napier and Ryan Boatwright, as two lead guards leading them to titles. For Friar fans that is the hope with Ashton-Langford and David Duke, along with the other pieces Cooley is putting around them.
This weekend is a time for Friar fans to celebrate. It was actually the Crier’s birthday yesterday and the commitment of Duke is a great belated gift (Today is actually David Duke’s birthday, so HBD David). Cooley just landed Friartown a top-10 recruiting class and tomorrow will be Late Night Madness, celebrating this year’s team that has a lot of promise. So here’s to great times ahead for the Providence College basketball program.