Understandably lost in the whirlwind of 2024 Five Star Somto Cyril taking an official visit to Providence Tuesday – Thursday of last week was Kim English continuing to pound the recruiting pavement. Providence, as of this writing, has only one roster spot available for the upcoming season, and English astutely understands that the Friars are lacking frontcourt depth behind Josh Oduro. Thus, English isn’t putting all his eggs in the Cyril basket and is allowing recruits the opportunity to take that last remaining scholarship.
The news came out Friday morning that Kansas frontcourt player Zach Clemence would be taking an official visit this weekend. This was kept under the radar, and I can appreciate that approach by the staff after the Ike news of him visiting became known two weeks prior to his visit date. As we all know, that visit was eventually cancelled for reasons we aren’t privy to, and Ike is now part of the Gonzaga basketball team. English may have learned from that experience and wanted to keep all future visits under wraps so that other collegiate programs don’t know who their primary competition is for recruits like Cyril and Clemence.
Having Cyril and Clemence visit back-to-back is ironic because you couldn’t find two players in the frontcourt whose games are so vastly different from each other. While Cyril is your modern big man that can rim run and protect the basket with a somewhat limited offensive game in the half court set, Clemence is the polar opposite. He doesn’t possess the athleticism or shot-blocking ability of Cyril, but is the type of stretch forward that can beat you from beyond the arc. He also possesses a nice half court offensive game.
We break down Clemence’s game and how he would fit with Providence.
Recruiting Profile – Zach Clemence
The 247 Composite had Clemence as a 4 Star, 50th Ranked player overall. His ranking was sandwiched between two familiar Big East foes in 49th overall Arthur Kaluma and 51st overall Jordan Hawkins. He was the 12th ranked Power Forward in his class, ranked above some well known names like Maryland forward Julian Reese, UConn forward Alex Karaban, and pro player Jeremy Sochan. Clearly, Clemence was highly touted coming out of high school.
Clemence chose Kansas over perennial powers Baylor and Arkansas.
Clemence was a role player for Kansas, which is more indicative of the talent at Kansas than Clemence potentially being over-ranked/overhyped. As a freshman, he was on the team that won a national championship. Injuries have hampered his collegiate development, on top of being on a stacked Jayhawks squad. This past year Clemence only played 6 minutes/game.
While it isn’t fair to make a like for like comparison to Bryce Hopkins and Kentucky, I’d expect Clemence to average 20 minutes or so at his next stop and pour in 8-10 points a game.
Analyzing His Game
We did a fair amount of analysis in the intro, but I would say the most likely comparison to a former Friar is Noah Horchler. Clemence doesn’t possess the athleticism that Horchler had, but does have the ability to stroke it from deep like Horchler did. There aren’t many 6’9-6’10 guys in college who can pull up in transition and hit the deep ball with consistency. That is Clemence’s game. He didn’t show this ability in Kansas, but I think that was more so due to nagging injuries and a lack of defined role and consistent playing time.
The more accurate comp for Clemence may be Brady Manek. Manek didn’t necessarily have top end athleticism, but compensated by being a lethal three point shooter. I see that as the ceiling for Clemence in college, which would be quite an accomplishment.
Clemence is no slouch in the low block, however. He does a nice job of doing his homework early and getting in good position for entry feeds. He has a promising ability to finish around the rim.
Clemence may never be labeled an athlete, but he competes on the defensive end, which is all you can ask for. Nobody will mistake him as a high flyer, but he will turn away a few shots off weak side help.
Fit for Friar Roster
I thought Horchler unlocked the PC offense in a way that Cooley was previously never able to. That is when I really began to appreciate and embrace having a versatile stretch four in the line-up that can pull big men away from the paint and open up driving lanes for your guards. If you have a traditional big in the line-up alongside a stretch 4 (like Horchler and Watson), it prevents doubles from coming to the big man because said big man can then kick it out to his wide open teammate for three. Hopkins and Clemence would play that Horchler role for Oduro this upcoming year.
Clemence potentially committing doesn’t solve the defensive issues of lacking a true rim protector and eraser in the post , which I believe is the one gap to Providence having one of the deepest teams in recent memory. English may be content living with this by trying to outscore his opponents. It may also force the opposition to bench their traditional bigs because they cannot guard in space. Clemence is certainly a chess piece in this regards.
There are many ways to win a basketball game, and Clemence adds a skill-set to this roster that Providence currently doesn’t possess.
Clemence also has two years remaining and would certainly lock in a starting spot in the frontcourt in the 2024-2025 season, with him likely being one of the first off the bench in 2023-2024. There is a definite role for him this upcoming year, with Castro the only incumbent he’d be competing with for time.
Fans will inevitably try to choose between Cyril and Clemence for the last scholarship, and that is not fair to either player. If one of them wants to join the fold, English would welcome either of them with open arms. Each add a skill that Providence doesn’t have on the roster, and that is a great position to be in if you are Kim English.
As I’ve always said, I’m a big believer in “stars matter” and adding a Top 50 recruit with multiple years of eligibility is a no-brainer. Don’t let his lack of production at Kansas fool you. This kid, when healthy, can play and would be another valuable asset to the Providence Friars.
We should hear from Cyril and Clemence this upcoming week. Stay tuned, Friar fans.
Other Recruiting Articles
Crier Transfer Portal Spotlight: Charles Pride: https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/04/24/transfer-portal-focus-bryant-guard-charles-pride/
Crier Recruiting Corner: 2024 Big Man Somto Cyril: https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/04/24/crier-recruiting-corner-introducing-2024-big-man-somto-cyril/
2024 Recruiting Primer, Version 4.0:https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/03/27/providence-college-basketball-recruiting-class-of-2024/
Transfer Portal Primer, Version 3.0: https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/03/28/tracking-the-transfers-pc-targets-in-the-2023-portal-providence-crier-transfer-portal-primer/
Garwey Dual Commitment Article: https://theprovidencecrier.com/2022/09/01/deep-dive-analysis-of-2023-providence-commit-garwey-dual/
Transfer Portal Spotlight: Graham Ike: https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/03/31/crier-recruiting-corner-introducing-wyoming-forward-graham-ike/
Transfer Portal Spotlight: Davonte “Ticket” Gaines: https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/04/08/davonte-ticket-gaines-following-kim-english-to-friartown/
Rich Barron Commitment Article: https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/04/10/richard-barron-commits-to-providence-analyzing-the-impact/
Transfer Portal Spotlight: Taran Armstrong: https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/04/08/transfer-portal-spotlight-introducing-cal-baptist-guard-taran-armstrong/
Transfer Portal Spotlight: Josh Oduro: https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/03/25/transfer-portal-spotlight-george-mason-forward-josh-oduro/
Transfer Portal Spotlight: Justyn Fernandez: https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/03/26/transfer-portal-spotlight-george-mason-wing-justyn-fernandez/
Crier Recruiting Corner: George Turkson Jr.: https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/03/03/the-crier-recruiting-corner-introducing-2024-forward-george-turkson-jr/
Crier Recruiting Corner: Andre Mills (for the Texas A&M crowd): https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/02/08/crier-recruiting-corner-introducing-andre-mills/
Crier Recruiting Corner: Junjie Wang (for the millions of San Fran Dons readers): https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/01/24/crier-recruiting-corner-junjie-barry-wang/
Crier Recruiting Corner: Kur Teng (for the Michigan State fans in this thread): https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/01/16/crier-recruiting-corner-introducing-2024-guard-kur-teng/
Crier Recruiting Corner: Kany Tchanda: https://theprovidencecrier.com/2022/12/29/crier-recruiting-corner-introducing-kany-tchanda/
Crier Recruiting Impact: Kayvaun Mulready (for those Georgetown fans scrolling through this): https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/01/09/friars-land-24-worcester-academy-guard-kayvaun-mulready/#more-5741