Breon Pass is set to decide on his school of choice this upcoming Saturday. He has whittled his schools down to a Final 4: Georgia Tech, East Carolina, NC State, and Providence.
Overview of Top 4
It is no surprise to see that 2 of the 4 schools have a local feel in ECU and NC State. Pass is from North Carolina, so it makes sense that schools geographically located in this state have made an impact in the recruitment of Pass.
Additionally, it is not shocking to see 2 of the 4 schools residing in the ACC. It is a fair assumption that kids growing up in the Mid-Atlantic want to inevitably play in the ACC. Pass is likely no exception.
How does Providence fit?
So, with Providence being in the Big East and located in New England, it is fair to wonder how the Friars elevated themselves to be in the Top 4 and in the running for the commitment of Pass.
At the Crier, I’ve been particularly critical of the staff’s heavy focus on recruiting in ACC-country. This is an instance where Jeff Battle’s presence in this territory, specifically in North Carolina, has paid off. Battle has cemented the Friars as a team that actively recruits in the Carolinas, and the staff’s presence here certainly helped.
It is not just the recruitment of Pass that has put the Friars in the Top 4, however. Cooley and Staff have been involved with many players that are close to and/or acquaintances with Pass. Think about Pettiford Jr., Lucas Taylor, Kuluel Mading, Jonas Aidoo, etc. The Friars presumably finished second in the Pettiford recruitment, are in the final pairing with Mading, and are actively recruiting the two others. Even though we weren’t able to secure Pettiford Jr., I’m sure he has had extremely positive things to say about the Program. That goes a very long way when you can trust the word of a player you know well.
Ranking the Finalists
With all that said, I think this recruitment comes down to two programs: NC State and Providence.
NC State has a lot going for it: proximity to home, playing in the ACC, and familiarity with players on the staff. When looking at the existing roster, 8 players originally are from North Carolina. The comfort of home is something that is very real and a big threat to Providence.
Additionally, playing in the ACC is something many of these Carolina kids dream of doing. The appeal of the Big East isn’t as strong in the Carolinas, candidly speaking.
How does PC win this recruitment? I think it comes down to a few key factors:
1. Playing time – Pass would absolutely see minutes as a freshman at Providence. I’m not sure if that is the case at NC State. Remember the name Shakeel Moore? He is on the roster, along with freshman Cam Hayes. They also are bringing in a 2 guard from North Carolina in the 2021 class. His playing time may not be as clear with NC State, so Providence can potentially use this to its advantage.
2. Relationship with Staff – I can’t speak to this in detail, but convincing a kid to leave home and play somewhere relatively far from where he grew up requires that the player and family are comfortable with the staff. Who is better than this than Ed Cooley?
3. The Road Less Traveled – Pardon my use of a phrase from Robert Frost, but I think in this instance it fits. If Cooley and staff can convince Pass to not follow the decisions of all others around him and stay close to home, that may be the ultimate selling point. Knowing the majority of players on the NC State roster may not necessarily be a positive thing if Pass wants to branch out and do his own thing.
Ultimately, I think NC State wins this recruitment. The appeal of playing close to home and with friends he grew up with ultimately is too much to overcome. We’ll see on Saturday…