While Friartown is exuberant over the current 4-o start to the season, it is never too early to look ahead to future Providence teams. Recruiting is the lifeblood of a program, and Providence signed 3 foundational pieces this past week. Below, we provide information on each of the players below and what they will bring to the Providence program for years to come.
Commitments of Christ Essandoko and Jayden Pierre: https://theprovidencecrier.com/2021/10/01/cooley-staff-solidify-2022-class-with-2-foundational-pieces/#more-3737
Quante Berry Impact
The backcourt of Providence still has a lot of eligibility and experience, which is a good thing for Berry and his development. Berry has a lot of long-term potential and having him thrust into playing time at the Big East level his freshman year may be detrimental in the short term. Berry will be able to lean on the veteran experience of Jared Bynum and Allyn Breed before he takes over and becomes a starter in the backcourt, presumably in the 2023-2024 season.
Berry’s build is very much in the David Duke Jr./Kris Dunn frame. He is a big bodied guard that can impact the game offensively and defensively. While he may not have the athleticism of a Duke, his physical dimensions allow him to fill up the stat sheet in a multitude of ways. It will not surprise me to see Berry be the type of combo guard that puts up 12 points, 7 boards, and 4 assists a game.
Berry and Pierre match up quite nicely in the backcourt and provides Cooley will assurances that his backcourt has depth over the next 5+ years. Cooley appears to be transitioning to having multiple ballhandlers in the game (see Durham/Bynum/Breed), and Pierre/Berry should pair nicely together.
Playing Time in 2022-2023?
The only player who I believe gets more than spot minutes next year would be Christ Essandoko. With Horchler and Watson out of eligibility, along with questions around the upside of Croswell as a full-time Big East starter, Essandoko may be thrust into action. The depth in the front court isn’t there, and Essandoko brings physicality and size to a roster that is lacking it. If I am Ed Cooley, I’m telling Essandoko to come onto campus ready to play Day 1 because he is likely going to be leaned on quite heavily from the onset of his college career. I still believe Cooley will target a high upside transfer big, but Essandoko should prepare himself to be physically ready to play in the Big East Day 1.
The backcourt, on the other hand, seems pretty loaded with depth. I don’t foresee Berry or Pierre getting many minutes next season, which is a good thing for them. Breed, Bynum, and Goodine will likely take on the lion’s share of minutes, with Case trying to work himself into the fray. I would stay patient and anticipate their coming out party to be their sophomore and junior years.
I have been very concerned about the roster after this year. Signing this class helps me take a step back from the proverbial ledge. While I think 2 instant impact transfers are still absolutely needed (one on the wing and one true center), this 3 man class on top of the 2 man class of Castro and Geeter puts the Friar roster in a nice position to stay old. I can absolutely foresee the 2023-2024 starting line-up being something along the lines of:
Breed, Pierre, Geeter, Castro, Essandoko
The 2024-2025 starting line-up may be quite similar and experienced:
Pierre, Berry, Geeter, Castro, Essandoko
Kudos to Cooley and the staff for landing a great 2022 class. The foundation is in place for years to come.