PC 2021 Recruiting Primer – Transfer Edition (6th Version – Updated April 28th)

We have written several articles already on the importance of the 2022 recruiting class. You can find those below, as they serve as a good barometer for where PC stands with the 2022 class.

2022 High School Recruiting Primer: https://theprovidencecrier.com/2020/12/14/2022-recruiting-primer-providence-friars/

Offer We’d Like to See: PG Ben Roy: https://theprovidencecrier.com/2021/03/08/2022-recruit-of-interest-new-jersey-point-guard-ben-roy/#more-3376

Recruiting and a Comparison to the Rest of the Big East: https://theprovidencecrier.com/2021/01/15/providence-recruiting-a-comparative-analysis-to-the-rest-of-the-big-east/#more-3000

2022 PG Jayden Epps Commits to PC: https://theprovidencecrier.com/2021/03/29/providence-wins-the-epps-sweepstakes-jayden-epps-picks-the-friars/

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In this article, we focus on a different aspect of recruiting that has become more prominent in recent years: the transfer market.

We’ve landed two transfers during this offseason, written about extensively below:

Justin Minaya Transfers to PC: https://theprovidencecrier.com/2021/04/28/friars-add-south-carolina-transfer-justin-minaya/

Al Durham Transfers to PC: https://theprovidencecrier.com/2021/03/30/friars-strike-again-ius-aljami-durham-to-transfer-to-pc/#more-3533

The transfer portal has become the Wild Wild West, and this year it’s only going to be crazier with the “free year” due to COVID. Let’s take a look at who PC has reached out to and their status with the recruit.

4/28 Update: The Friars have landed Al Durham and Justin Minaya at the guard position, while losing Monroe, Gantt, Davis, and Nichols to transfer. David Duke Jr. has also declared for the NBA and signed an agent.

With all of these moving pieces, we’d expect Providence to pursue the following (listed in terms of importance, in our opinion): 1. A big with multiple years of eligibility to provide depth this year and be a potential starter the subsequent year. 2. A 3 and D wing. 3. A point guard to be the successor of Bynum/Breed/Durham.

Zack Bryant – Georgia Southern

Bryant averaged 14 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists with Georgia Southern. Providence expressed interest alongside schools like Iona and FIU, amongst others. This may be a fallback option if other transfers don’t commit to the Friars.

4/19 Update: Bryant mentioned he’d be committing to a school soon. We are curious if Bryant is able to commit to PC.

Joel Soriano – Fordham

Soriano is a 6’11 big man that put up 10 and 10 this past year as a sophomore. Soriano has a handful of schools pursuing him alongside the Friars, namely St. Johns and Pitt as the heavy contenders. Soriano hails from New York and seems to be prioritized by St. John’s.

Friar Roster Fit: Cooley is likely pursuing him to succeed Nate Watson at the 5 spot. Soriano would have multiple years remaining and could use the 2021-2022 year to learn from Nate Watson.

4/19 Update: Soriano committed to St. Johns.

Kadary Richmond – Syracuse

Richmond is another guard transferring from Syracuse. He is a bigger bodied guard that would help replenish the backcourt after the departure of David Duke. Richmond is a pest defensively due to his size and length and could theoretically be the PG of the future. Providence is in the mix with some other Northeast programs, and Richmond has tweeted that he will be deciding soon.

4/10 Update: Seton Hall landed the commitment of Richmond. This is a massive win for the Pirates. He’ll likely play significant minutes next year.

Darryl Morsell – Maryland

This one REALLY intrigues me. Morsell would only have one year to play and would likely only land at a school that guarantees him a starting spot. Morsell is also looking at the NBA draft, but is likely testing the waters to see where he can improve his game this upcoming college season.

Friar Roster Fit: We all know Providence was horrendous on defense. Landing Durham is a step in the right direction. Landing Morsell would completely change the DNA of this Friar squad. Morsell won Big 10 DPOY and would be the type of gritty, tough player that Cooley adores.

I’m curious how he fits on the existing roster, as he is best slotted at the 3 spot. If we somehow landed Morsell, I’m curious if we would see a line-up of Durham, Morsell, Reeves, Horchler, and Watson. I’m not sure if there is enough offensive firepower in the backcourt there, but that line-up would be an absolute menace defensively.

4/19 Update: Morsell is going to take his time in making a decision, deciding on going professional, returning to Maryland, or transferring to another school. We think it is a return to MD or transfer. Expect a longer term decision here.

Jordan Geronimo – Indiana

Geronimo, an athletic 2/3 from Friar friendly Mass Rivals AAU, is in the transfer portal. Could the Friars go 2/2 on Indiana transfers this offseason?

Friar Roster Fit: I am incredibly bullish on Geronimo. He’d be a great roster fit and increase the overall talent and athleticism on the roster. It would be great to continue the Mass Rivals pipeline, and I foresee Geronimo being an impact player as an upperclassmen.

4/10 Update: Geronimo is returning back to Indiana. This is a nice recruiting win for Mike Woodson, as he also convinced TJD and Lander to return as well.

Noah Locke – Florida

Locke was somebody that Providence was close to landing before Florida came in and won the recruitment. His departure is surprising, given his status as a starter and average of 10 points per game.

Friar Roster Fit: This one is very contingent on Duke’s status. Providence may not be as appealing if Duke returns, but time will tell. Locke is a 2 guard that shot 37% from 3 this past year.

4/5 Update: Locke has had a Zoom call with Louisville, Providence, UCONN, Oregon, and NC State. David Duke leaving may actually increase the chances of Providence landing Locke.

4/10: Locke is still being pursued by the Friars, but there are a long list of suitors here. Watch for Louisville, UCONN, and UNC here.

4/19: Locke committed to Louisville.

Tyler Kolek – George Mason

The A10 rookie of the year hails from Rhode Island and is perceived as a knockdown shooter.

Friar Roster Fit: Providence needs offense. There is no question. Kolek would theoretically be the knockdown shooter in the backcourt that the Friars desperately need. Questions around Kolek are around his defensive abilities and if his skill level can translate to the Big East. If Cooley pursues him, this may be the rare transfer that doesn’t expect immediate playing time. I’d offer a scholarship if Kolek understands a starting spot likely isn’t in the cards for next year.

4/10 Update: It appears Providence isn’t actively pursuing here. Watch for a commitment potentially to Marquette or Penn State or even a return to George Mason.

4/19 Update: Kolek committed to Marquette a day after a PC offer. MQ was the heavy favorite throughout the entire process.

Earl Timberlake – Miami

Timberlake is the crown jewel of the transfer class for the Providence Friars. Providence was in his final grouping before he ultimately decided on Miami. Seton Hall was also a contender as well.

While Timberlake had an injury filled year at Miami, when he was healthy, he produced in a significant way for the Hurricanes. In 7 games, Timberlake averaged 9 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals.

Friar Roster Fit: If you want to change the culture of Providence, it starts with landing a guy like Timberlake. He is a juiced-up version of LaDontae Henton, an undersized player that can score on the perimeter but also bang down low in the post. Timberlake also plays with a toughness and edge that needs to be incorporated into the Friars play moving forward. If Providence can land Timberlake, he likely is immediately inserted into the starting line-up.

3/30 Update: Much like his high school recruitment, this one has been very silent. Timberlake has his list of suitors. Nobody is too certain about who is in the lead here, although I’d be weary about Big East foe Georgetown and close to home Maryland.

4/10 Update: Timberlake landed at Memphis. He was the transfer I wanted the most, so this one stings.

Izaiah Brockington – Penn State

Brockington is one of two Penn State transfers that Providence has reached out to. Brockington is a 6’4 guard who averaged 12 points and 5 rebounds this year. This recruitment is still in the very early stages, but it wouldn’t surprise us to see him return to Penn State.

Friar Roster Fit: Guard help. I would like to see Providence target more of a combo guard than true point guard, but any guard help is needed on the roster.

4/28 Update: Brockington decided to return to Penn State, but then entered back into the transfer portal again. There were rumors that Providence was interested, but that interest has likely died down since the Minaya commitment a few days ago.

John Harrar – Penn State

Harrar would be the hustle, high intensity frontcourt player that this team sorely lacks. A high IQ player, he would bring the lunch pail & hard hat mentality that Cooley so often desires of his players (that was missing this year). Harrar only averaged 9 points and 9 rebounds, but has some size at 6’9 and 240lbs and would bring a physicality to the team that would pair nicely with Nate Watson.

Friar Roster Fit: Frontcourt depth and help. We know Nate Watson is returning, so Harrar would either slot in at the starting 4 spot or provide bench minutes at either the 4 or 5. Croswell didn’t show enough this year to confidently state he is going to get a lion’s share of minutes, so adding another frontcourt player would be beneficial. His most important impact, however, may be the mentality he brings to the team.

4/28 Update: Harrar decided to return to Penn State.

Al Durham – Indiana

Durham is leaving Indiana as a grad transfer, which coincides with the firing of Archie Miller. Durham averaged 11 points, but torched the Friars earlier this season, putting up 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists. Durham also averaged 38% from 3 this year.

Friar Roster Fit: Backcourt depth and veteran experience. Even if Durham didn’t put up the most flashy of numbers, he has experience starting in a power conference and has produced. That has value in and of itself.

3/30 Update: Watch this one, very closely. There are rumors he may be the most likely to be added to this Providence roster. Durham was a captain at Indiana and would bring maturity and leadership to a squad that needs it.

I’m not sure how he would fit in the starting line-up if Duke Jr. were to return, but I am all for Durham, Reeves, and others fighting it out for the starting 3 spot. I fear that we may land Durham if Duke Jr. is leaning towards going to the NBA, mainly because Durham only has one more year of eligibility.

4/10 Update: Durham is now a Friar! He is likely going to be the starting 2 with Duke leaving, with him also getting time at point. I love the impact he is going to make to Providence. Beyond the fact he put up double digits in the gauntlet that was the Big Ten this past year, he was (more importantly, in my opinion) a two time team captain.

4/19 Update: Providence made the signing official, welcoming Durham on all social media platforms. This one is a huge get for Cooley.

Au’Diese Toney- Pittsburgh

Cooley and staff have already offered and had a Zoom meeting with Toney.

Despite averaging 14.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg and 2.3 apg for the Pittsburgh Panthers, Toney started an exodus from the program as he entered the portal right before the end of the regular season. Toney played with Greg Gantt at Trinity HS and in AAU ball with Team Felton. Toney is a big bodied guard that scores around the rim and a capable shooter from 3 (34% on 3.3 attempts per game). Toney would be a fantastic add and give the Friars an instant impact performer, but with that expect the competition to be tough. Take a look at his highlights below. (couldn’t find a good 2020-2021 video)

Friar Roster Fit: Folks may look at this transfer and say “We already have the 2 and 3 spots filled”. We don’t care. We are all for bringing in instant impact transfers who can contribute to the team. If Toney beats out a Reeves for the starting spot, so be it.

3/17 Update: Our status with Toney likely took a dip with Greg Gantt deciding to transfer. Whereas we thought that Providence was, at worst, a co-leader, we now believe Providence may be on the outside looking in.

4/5 Update: As expected, the Friars lost out here after the transfer of Gantt. Toney committed to transfer friendly program Arkansas.

Stef Smith- Vermont

Stef Smith played a big role on a very good Vermont program the last 4 years. He has decent size at 6-2 and is capable at penetrating in the lane. What he is most known for, however, is his 3-point shot. In 4 years at Vermont, Smith shot no less than 36% from the 3-point line. With him playing in the America East Conference you do have to wonder what the adjustment would be like to the Big East, but it certainly helps to make shots. Also the guy is from Ontario, the last Friar from Ontario (Kalif Young) worked out well.

Friar Roster Fit: You can never have enough shooting. If Smith can play any semblance of defense, he can carve out time on a roster devoid of pure shooters.

3/21 Update: Smith transferred to St John’s

Antonio Daye Jr- FIU

Antonio Daye Jr is an explosive/playmaking point guard from Durham, NC. Daye Jr averaged 17.1 ppg and 4.7 apg this past season. He seems to have a ton of game but again adapting to the Big East or another big conference could be challenging. He does have good size at 6-3. NC St appears to be involved, which would probably be the biggest competition with it being close to home.

3/17 Update: Daye Jr. released a Final 4 and will make his college choice before month’s end. Providence is fighting off Arkansas, Clemson, and Pittsburgh in this recruitment. Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman is known for building his college teams via transfer (see his Nevada rosters), so I would say they are the presumed leader in this race.

3/30 Update: Daye is taking his time and no longer has a final pairings of schools. It will be interesting to see if we are still seriously considering him.

4/28 Update: Daye announced he is making a commitment this week. We don’t believe Providence is interested anymore.

Filip Rebraca – North Dakota

Rebraca is a 6’9 forward who averaged 17 and 8 last year, while also shooting 38% from 3.

Friar Roster Fit: He seems to be a Horchler clone. Rebraca has already played 3 years of collegiate basketball, so his only fit on the squad may be for the 2022-2023 season after Horchler and Watson depart.

4/10 Update: We’ll see how heavily Providence pursues.

4/28 Update: Rebraca commited to Iowa.

Conclusion

Of the 3 transfers who played this year, Horchler had the most impact. If Cooley can learn anything from this past year, it is that he should target players who have both played at a Power 5 program and also produced. Minaya and Durham fit that to an absolute tee.

It wouldn’t surprise us to also see the Friars get involved with a transfer big. There are a lot of moving pieces for this Friar team this offseason, with the most immediate likely being roster turnover.

4/28 Update: It is clear that targeting Durham and Minaya was a sign that Cooley wanted to upgrade the talent and depth in the backcourt/wing position. Both of those guys could play the 2 and 3 effortlessly.

The lack of urgency on recruiting a transfer big makes me believe Cooley is going to rely on Croswell and Castro as the back-up 4/5 positions.

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