Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, Providence was hit with some unexpected negative news over the weekend as 2024 Baltimore point guard Daquan Davis decided to reopen his recruitment. Providence is now without Davis as a 2024 commitment and have Ryan Mela as the sole 2024 commitment.
We analyze why this happened, how it may have come about, and what it means for the Providence program.
What Do Commitments Mean?
With NIL so prevalent and cash being thrown around with reckless abandon, it may be prudent for fans of their collegiate programs to consider verbal commitments from recruits as nothing more than being the leader in the clubhouse. Until the Letter of Intent is signed, no recruit is considered a lock to the program. This appears to be the case here.
There are murmurs that the decommitment of Davis may have stemmed from him being courted by other programs willing to spend a king’s ransom on him via NIL. First off, good for Davis if that is true. In this day and age, it is completely legitimate to be getting paid for your skillset. A player may love the school and program they are committed to, but if another school is offering him 2 or 3 multiples higher than what he is currently promised in NIL, how can you fault the recruit for reevaluating his commitment? It is truly the Wild West in college sports, and we may as well accept that these type of occurrences aren’t just unique to Providence, but are commonplace across all programs.
If the primary concern for a recruit is money, Providence may have dodged a bullet. You don’t want a player sullen over playing time and just there to “cash a check” before transferring after his freshman year. Especially with a newer coach in Kim English, culture is very important. It is just as important to get the right people off the bus early as it is the right people on the bus.
Should PC Fans Be Surprised?
What initially caught my attention was seeing Davis seemingly jump from one high school program to another (St. John’s to St. Frances to Overtime Elite) in such a quick manner. That raised a few red flags to me, as we have been burnt by this in the past with Ricky Ledo and not being academically eligible due to his tumultuous high school career.
I was concerned about the eligibility of Davis, yes, but it also showed that there may be some commitment issues with Davis. He appears to have a hard time remaining at one place for an extended period of time. Thus, I can’t say I was overly surprised when he changed his mind on enrolling at Providence because he has a history of changing schools. Providence fans just chose to ignore this wrinkle because he was a commitment for the Friars. Call it what it is.
It wouldn’t shock me to see him enroll at a school his freshman year, not like the fit there, and transfer elsewhere after his freshman year.
What Does This Mean for Providence?
If there is a silver lining to this all, it is that Providence is pretty healthy and loaded at the point guard position with Sophomore Jayden Pierre and Freshman Garwey Dual. You’d expect Pierre to be a 4 year player, meaning Providence has him for three more years, while Garwey is likely around for 1-2 years. The commitment of Davis was a luxury commitment so this shouldn’t hurt the program too much in the short and long term.
The downside is that Providence stopped recruiting point guards with the commitment of Daquan Davis. They were in hot pursuit of Del Jones up until the Davis commitment. Jones recently committed to Clemson. It will be interesting to see if English begins to re-recruit point guards in the 2024 class or if he will turn the heat up on 2025 point guard Nigel James. It’s worth noting James and Davis are close, and I am not sure if this development helps or hurts Providence with James.
Big Picture – Providence Recruiting
This was the recruit where Kim English planted his flag in the DMV and said Providence was going to be a thorn in the side of DMV college programs for years to come. Davis decommitting is a black eye optically, no question. With Ryan Mela the only 2024 commit, English needs to come out of the gates hot in the 2023-2024 season to show high school recruits he can be successful at the Big East level. A stumble at the start of the season, and questions will begin to rise to the surface. I have noticed the lack of success with the 2024 Paul VI recruits and just chalked that up to English being late to the game as the new PC coach.
A successful season, Top 25 ranked team, and NCAA birth will have 2024 and 2025 recruits knocking down the door to play at Providence. I think a national ranking and NCAA birth should be the expectation for this team, for what it is worth. Until this happens, I think a lot of recruits are in wait and see mode, unfortunately. English needs to show he can recruit with the big boys. Dual was a heck of a start and Davis furthered that narrative, but the de-commitment is a step back.
Regardless of Davis sticking or not, my sole focus has always been on how many bigs we land in the 2024 class (high school and college portal). I’m keeping a close eye on that, as there is little left in the cupboard after this year.
While this is an upsetting development for Friar fans, this is unfortunately going to become the norm in college basketball recruiting moving forward. It is why the transfer portal is so vital to a program’s success. The new “cheat code” may be landing college players after their freshman year, as the NCAA has shown they aren’t necessarily willing to give waivers to play immediately to two-time transfers. Something to think about for a long term recruiting strategy for English and the Friars.