Why Stars Matter: A Look Back on Recruiting Classes Showing Why PC Must Continue to Land Top-Tier National Recruits

With the 2022 class looking to be an extremely important one for Providence, we decided to look back at past recruiting classes and analyze the production of these recruits once these classes stepped on campus. This whole article idea started with banter amongst friends that while we may not be landing Top 100 recruits consistently, the unheralded 3 star recruits are often the ones leading in the major statistical categories.

While everybody loves the Bryce Cotton and Kyron Cartwright underdog stories (myself included) and how each player vastly exceeded their expectations relative to recruiting rankings, they are by far the outliers when looking back over the years. If Providence wants to continue to land NCAA tournament bids and be an upper echelon team in the Big East, it is imperative Cooley & Staff continue to land the nationally ranked, 4/5 star Top 100 type recruits.


We took a look at the production of each team dating back to 2015 off the three primary statistics: points, rebounds, and assists. From there, we looked at who was leading in those categories and what their 247Composite ranking was coming out of school. We chose this ranking metric as the Composite averages the recruiting rankings off several well known recruiting sites.

From 2015 – Present, Providence has brought in 18 3 star recruits and 11 4/5 star recruits (we included transfers for this research). The 3 stars make up 62% of the total recruits brought in, while the 4/5 stars make up only 38%. Clearly, we have landed more 3 star recruits than 4/5 star recruits. One would assume that due to quantity of recruits that 3 stars would lead most statistical categories. The analysis shows quite differently.

Without further ado, here is how things shake out, with each individual listed as the leader of that category:

Current Season (2020-2021):

Points: David Duke – 4 Star, #47 Nationally

Rebounds: Nate Watson – 4 Star, #100 Nationally

Assists: Jared Bynum – 3 Star, #374 Nationally

Takeaway: Stars matter. If we are going to lean on underrecruited transfers, I’d prefer they fill gaps on the squad, like a Bynum, rather than carrying a massive role on the team.

2019 – 2020 Season:

Points: Alpha Diallo – 4 Star, #117 Nationally

Rebounds: Alpha Diallo – 4 Star, #117 Nationally

Assists: David Duke – 4 Star, #47 Nationally

Takeaways: Another year lead by 4 stars.

2018-2019 Season

Points: Alpha Diallo – 4 Star, #117 Nationally

Rebounds: Alpha Diallo – 4 Star, #117 Nationally

Assists: Alpha Diallo – 4 Star, #117 Nationally

Takeaway: Critics of the “stars matter” argument will point to this year, showing how a 4 star leading in all statistical categories led to one of the worst years of the Cooley era. How do you explain this? Easy. Look at who were the upperclassmen on this roster. Isaiah Jackson, Drew Edwards, Kalif Young, Maliek White. The 2015 recruiting class, made up originally of Alex Owens, Drew Edwards, Ryan Fazekas, Ricky Council, and Quadree Smith, was an abject failure. All of those recruits were 3 stars. If you miss on a 3 star evaluation, you lead to gaping holes on your roster and a team bereft of talent.

2017-2018 Season:

Points: Rodney Bullock – 3 Star, #157 Nationally

Rebounds: Alpha Diallo – 4 Star, #117 Nationally

Assists: Kyron Cartwright – 3 Star, #270 Nationally

Takeaways: Bullock and Cartwright are two examples of 3 stars that absolutely “hit”. Bullock was right on the cusp of a 4 star, while Cartwright was clearly criminally under ranked out of high school and developed immensely under the tutelage of guards before him like Kris Dunn.

2016-2017 Season:

Points: Rodney Bullock – 3 Star, #157 Nationally

Rebounds: Rodney Bullock – 3 Star, #157 Nationally

Assists: Kyron Cartwright – 3 Star, #270 Nationally

Takeaways: See above.

2015-2016 Season:

Points: Ben Bentil – 4 Star, #95 Nationally

Rebounds: Ben Bentil – 4 Star, #95 Nationally

Assists: Kris Dunn – 5 Star, #16 Nationally

Takeaways: Is it a surprise that this team was ranked at one point in the Top 10 nationally? When your 4 and 5 stars hit, the ceiling of a team is higher than most others.


While the 3 stars make up 62% of the number of recruits brought in (18 of 29 total recruits during this sample), they only led these categories 33% of the time. On the other hand, 4/5 stars make up only 38% of the number of recruits (11 of 29), but led the above categories 66% of the time.

Why The Heck Does This Matter?

Simply put, our last three recruiting classes haven’t matched the rest of the Big East. The 21, 20, and 19 recruiting classes brought in 6 3 stars (transfers included) with only 2 4 stars. Compare that to other Big East programs that have upped their game on the recruiting front, and we are facing a perilous situation in years to come. Cooley has tried to fill the gaps with transfers, but that is a dangerous game. Jared Bynum is the only transfer above who leads a statistical category over the 5 year sample size.

In the 2021 class thus far, we are ranked #11th in Big East in recruiting. In 2020, we were #9th in Big East. In 2019, we were again #9th in Big East. This is obviously not a good trend for the present and future of this program.

In 2018, we were #2nd in Big East and 21st nationally. The top recruit in that class? David Duke Jr.

Star rankings and the recruitment of higher rated players do, in fact, matter. The more 4 star recruits Providence lands, the more likely they are to “hit” and be successful. Ultimately, these type of recruits win you NCAA games. Providence needs to hit a homerun in this 2022 recruiting class or I fear they will lose their spot in the upper tier of the Big East. Providence is faced with the very real possibility of losing both David Duke Jr. and Nate Watson this year, and they need to reload the cupboard.

The time is now to land a monster recruiting class for Cooley.

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