The Crier released Version 1 of this article in January and Version 2 a few months later in the Spring. Suffice to say, a lot has changed in almost 6 months.
After winning the Big East Conference and making a Sweet 16 run, the Providence program is in unchartered waters when it comes to national coverage. Momentum has never been better for the Providence Friars to land blue chip prospects that fit within Cooley’s culture.
Cooley started off the 2023 class with a home run of a commitment in 2023 guard Garwey Dual. Dual, relatively unknown nationally at the time of commitment, is now a consensus Top 75 4 star recruit after a dominant AAU season. Dual is just the start of the 2023 class as Providence looks to build off an incredible 2021-2022 season. We broke down Dual’s commitment and his future impact to the Friar program here: https://theprovidencecrier.com/2022/09/01/deep-dive-analysis-of-2023-providence-commit-garwey-dual/
With Dual in the fold, we analyze team needs for the 2023 class, identify the key recruits Providence is targeting, and provide our predictions for who the Friars ultimately land.
The 2022 Class landed two guards in Jayden Pierre and Quante Berry. Christ Essandoko, a true 5 man, was committed to the Friars before flipping his commitment to St. Joe’s. By landing Pierre and Berry, Providence is ideally trying to recreate the pairing of Bynum and Durham this year.
The miss of Essandoko is a big one due to the length of time he was committed to the Friars. With his commitment, the Friars essentially halted recruitment of other big men in the 2022 class. The de-commitment means the new #1 priority is landing an immediate impact 5 man in the 2023 class. After this year, Croswell and Clifton Moore will be gone from the Friar program, and the only big man really on roster is Rafael Castro. With all due respect to Castro, him being the only 5 on the roster is not a recipe for sustained success, and it would be beneficial to land a truer big man to play alongside him.
Roster Projections for when the 2023 class arrives on campus are as follows:
Senior: Alyn Breed, Jared Bynum (still has eligibility due to COVID year, although I am skeptical he takes the last year)
Junior: Devin Carter, Bryce Hopkins
Sophomore: Rafael Castro (redshirt), Quante Berry, Jayden Pierre, Corey Floyd Jr. (redshirt)
Freshman: Garwey Dual
When looking at the roster, it is clear that the 2023 class is likely going to be a large class.
The 2022 class did a fantastic job of securing the backcourt of the future in Pierre and Berry. Dual is a high-impact commitment that will help further solidify the backcourt. With Dual in the fold, alongside the 2022 class and transfers, the highest remaining priority is landing frontcourt players. In an ideal world, they land a stretch 4 big man that can knock down the deep ball and a true back to the basket big man in the mold of Croswell and Watson.
If I had to make my prediction today, I would envision this class being a 3 or 4 man high school class, with 2 of those players being frontcourt additions. If I’m Cooley, I’m certain he lands a college transfer for the 5 spot, but that is a conversation for a different day.
Below, we identify the recruits that have either been offered already or have been shown interest by the Friars. We excluded a few names where Providence may have offered, but there is really no recent interest or traction.
Recruits of Interest – Guard
Curry is another Battle recruit hailing from the Tar Heel State. A 4 star point guard, Providence is in competition with Florida State, Ole Miss, Memphis, and Pittsburgh. The log-jam at guard behind Pierre and Berry, along with the commitment of Dual, may pose an issue for many 2023 guard recruits. There hasn’t been a lot said about Curry, but the familiarity of PC in North Carolina may help the Friars make further inroads.
Jayden Lemond – https://n.rivals.com/content/prospects/2023/jayden-lemond-270732
A lead guard out of Blair Academy in New Jersey, there hasn’t been too much traction with Lemond despite a Providence offer. Providence appears to be making more of a push in the Garden State with offers to players that play on an NJ AAU team in Team Rio in the 2021 and 2022 class (Jayden Pierre and Rafael Castro). I’d anticipate Lemond to stay on the East Coast, but unfortunately not be a Friar. Of late, there seems to be an SEC flair to his recruitment.
Ducharme committed to Big East foe Sean Miller and the Xavier Musketeers.
Silas Demary Jr. – https://n.rivals.com/content/prospects/2023/silas-demary-jr-270819
A shooting guard out of the friendly confines of North Carolina, Demary Jr.’s stock has exploded. With Dual committing to Providence, there may no longer be “room at the inn” for Demary Jr. unfortunately. He’s a winner and will succeed wherever he lands, which I presume is an ACC school.
Recruits of Interest – Wing
Curtis Williams Jr. – https://247sports.com/player/curtis-williams-jr-46102883/
LaDontae Henton likely has a hand here in getting Williams Jr. not only interested in the Friars, but visiting later this weekend. Williams Jr. fits more into the category of “too good to pass up” rather than filling a need. He is a 6’6 wing from Michigan that is another consensus Top 100 player like Garwey Dual. PC is in the final 3 schools with Louisville and Xavier. I love that PC is getting an official visit, but think Louisville having the final visit secures the commitment for the Cardinals.
Brady Dunlap – https://247sports.com/player/brady-dunlap-46111896/
Dunlap is a summer emergence, with the Friars offering the wing player in July. Dunlap plays out west in California and fits the theme of recent offers in the Golden State. Dunlap is looking to take official visits in the fall before making a decision, with Providence pushing to get one of his five official visits. It is tough to predict Dunlap ending up in the black and white until they get him on campus.
Jahmari Hamilton-Brown -https://www.verbalcommits.com/players/jahmari-hamilton-brown
Every year, Mass Rivals has a guy who explodes in his senior year. This is my pick. Providence rightly offered him in October of 2021, and his recruitment hasn’t taken off as I would expect.
A big bodied wing that can play through contact and finish at the rim, he’d be an ideal development candidate for Cooley and staff to be a nuisance in the Big East come his junior and senior year. He would fit the physical, defense first mentality that Cooley’s squads have come to be known for. Keep an eye out here (just my 2 cents).
6’8 Small Forward from Brewster Academy – This was always a “pie in the sky” recruitment, and it only became less realistic as Buzelis’s stock continued to rise. Matas has decided to play professionally instead of going to college.
Taylor Bol Bowen – https://n.rivals.com/content/prospects/2023/taylor-bowen-269335
Bowen committed to Florida State, which is a blow to the 2023 class. Bowen was one of the biggest targets and priorities for the Friars. Bowen is “local” and had been on campus multiple times.
Gavin Griffiths – https://n.rivals.com/content/prospects/2023/gavin-griffiths-276095
A Connecticut product that committed to Rutgers.
An under the radar wing that has accumulated offers over the past year. Tubbs III hails from North Carolina, and this should be a battle between Mid-Atlantic programs and Providence, should Providence decide to push harder in this recruitment.
Recruits of Interest – Frontcourt
Michael Nwoko – https://247sports.com/player/michael-nwoko-46117860/
Nwoko is a 6’9 big man playing for Prolific Prep out of California. Nwoko, originally hailing from the Tar Heel State, is another 4 star prospect that is visiting this upcoming weekend. He has other official visits scheduled as well. Friar fans have to hope PC knocks it out of the park this weekend, Nwoko commits to the Friars and then cancels his other official visits. Nwoko would legitimately walk into 15-20 minutes of playing time the moment he steps onto campus with the departures of Croswell and Moore after this season. That has to be appealing to the high impact big man.
Drew Fielder – https://247sports.com/player/drew-fielder-46125613/
It appears Cooley is trying to land a stretch 4 in this class alongside a rim running big man. Fielder fits the category of Stretch 4. At 6’9, he has the length to defend the post while also stepping out and knocking down the deep ball. We saw how dominant an inside-out pairing of Watson and Horchler was last year, and I believe Cooley is trying to replicate that in this class.
Fielder visited USC this past weekend and didn’t commit, so Friar fans have to be cautiously optimistic ahead of the official visit to Providence on 9/16.
Jacob McFarland – https://247sports.com/player/jacob-mcfarland-46134996/
Another West Coast offer from Cooley. The 6’10 big man is wiry and needs to put on some weight, but has good size. McFarland recently released a final list of schools, with PC making the cut alongside a rather diverse mix of schools. I don’t think PC is making a hard push right now, but that may change after Providence knows where it stands post September official visits.
Bol Kuir -https://247sports.com/player/bol-kuir-46096456/
This is an…interesting…recruitment. Kuir had the Friars in his Final 5 in the Spring before enrolling at New Mexico State. He announced about 24 hours ago that he is no longer enrolled. This isn’t the type of sandbox Cooley usually plays in, but let’s see what transpires.
Ugonna Kingsley – https://n.rivals.com/content/prospects/2023/ugonna-kingsley-279918
Kingsley reclassified and signed with Kentucky. He was one that Providence had an excellent chance on, but the appeal of playing for a blue blood was too much to turn down. You cannot fault him.
Joseph Estrella – https://n.rivals.com/content/prospects/2023/joseph-estrella-281541
A “local” recruit hailing from Maine, Estrella committed to Tennessee.
Isaiah Miranda – https://n.rivals.com/content/prospects/2023/isaiah-miranda-257539
Another local recruit where Providence isn’t appealing as the local school. Miranda recently released a Top 8 that didn’t include Providence. I’d anticipate him landing with UCLA/USC.
Power’s recruitment has spiked unlike any in recent memory. He had a monster AAU season that raised his profile. Duke appears to be the favorite to land the New England big, with North Carolina pushing as well.
Watson is a frontcourt player from the Garden State, playing for the powerhouse Roselle Catholic program. The Friars have offered here, but it seems like they are on the outside looking in with programs like UCONN, Illinois, and Oklahoma State being the perceived programs to beat. With Floyd Jr. now on the Friar roster, Providence may have a fighter’s chance.
Kante is another big from Connecticut. While he holds an offer from PC, I haven’t seen much noise between player and program. I’d anticipate he lands at a Rutgers or Syracuse.
White was originally a North Carolina high school recruit, which is likely how the Friars got into the mix, but is now playing out West at the newly formed Donda Academy. White reclassified from 2022 to 2023 to give himself more time to develop, which appears to be paying off with his growing recruitment.
BOC: There are so many ebbs and flows to recruiting. Here are my prior predictions:
Version 1.0 – Griffiths, Bowen, and a NC recruit. My version 2 is a bit different.
Version 2.0 – Bowen, Kingsley, Demary Jr.
I am a tough critic, but you can forgive me for not predicting Dual in Version 1 and 2. His recruitment was a fast one. They weren’t involved with him until the early Summer and committed only approximately a month later. It was a shocking, but welcome, commitment.
With Dual in the fold, I believe we land two other frontcourt players: Nathan Fielder and Michael Nwoko. Both are visiting in September. A 3 man class of Dual, Fielder, and Nwoko not only helps fill gaps on the roster, but also significantly increases the talent on the roster. This would end up being a Top 25 nationally ranked class, which is what Cooley needs to continue to do if he wants to remain at the top of the Big East.
Crier: It feels like it’s been awhile since I’ve thought about recruiting. Predicting high school recruits under Cooley is difficult. Think about some of the guys that have played pivotal roles for the Friars success this past season- Al Durham, Noah Horchler, Jared Bynum, Justin Minaya and Ed Croswell are all transfers. I think Cooley has liked his return on the transfer portal and will no doubt try to tap into it for next season and the season after. Coming off a historic season, I had predicted that the Friars would land a top-50 recruiting, hoping it’d be Bol Bowen. But it didn’t turn out that way, yet the way Garwey has played this past summer he could pass Bowen and some recruiting services already have Dual as a top-50 recruit. It appears Cooley has targeted a few players he’d like to add to the class but with the portal PC can be selective. In terms of a prediction going forward how bout this- Garwey Dual ends up being the third 5-star recruit to be committed to Ed Cooley and the Friars.