Crier Recruiting Corner – Introducing Wyoming Forward Graham Ike

Kim English has done a fantastic job thus far of solidifying the Providence college roster heading into the 2023-2024 season. There was concern that the roster would need a complete overhaul due to players leaving, but English has, if anything, augmented the roster from last year. It’s safe to say the PC of 2023-2024 is more well rounded and has a higher ceiling than 2022-2023. That is quite a statement given PC was considered a Top 25 nationally ranked squad for the majority of the season.

To summarize developments to the roster to date, English landed grad transfer big Josh Oduro from George Mason to bolster the frontcourt, while also landing athletic wing Justyn Fernandez to bolster wing depth for the future. Oduro has one year of eligibility while Fernandez has 3. He also was able to get Santoro to reconfirm his commitment in the 2023 high school recruiting class. Santoro is a long wing known for his shooting prowess.

Providence fans have steadily been receiving positive news on existing players returning, magnified by the decisions of Bryce Hopkins and Devin Carter yesterday. With the return of Bryce Hopkins, Devin Carter, Quante Berry, Corey Floyd Jr., and Alyn Breed, along with the additions of Santoro, Fernandez, and Oduro, the remaining needs for the Friars are rather straightforward: Point Guard and a Center.

Jayden Pierre surprisingly entered the portal, as did Jared Bynum. We don’t expect Bynum back, but are cautiously optimistic Pierre reconsiders and stays in the fold as a Friar. With the nucleus of this squad returning, Pierre would be foolish to pass up an opportunity to lead this offensively potent team at point guard. If Pierre exits the portal, Providence should be all set at point guard for the next 2-3 years.

That leaves PC with a hole on the roster in the frontcourt. Rafael Castro’s status is still unknown, but even if he were to return, PC badly needs another big body for depth. That somebody is preferably an athlete with height, length, and athleticism. Oduro is a fantastic offensive player as a five man, but relying solely on Oduro and Castro as your 5’s isn’t a recipe for success. Thus, English is looking to further improve the roster with another high impact five man.

Graham Ike fits that mold. Ike will be visiting Providence the weekend of April 14th.

Below, we break down Ike’s game and how he fits into the mix as a potential Friar.

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Tracking the Transfers – PC Targets in the 2023 Portal: Providence Crier Transfer Portal Primer, Version 3.0

Another week goes by where the transfer portal article is massively updated here at The Providence Crier. I can’t imagine being a college coach and having to re-recruit your entire roster every year. I’m certain this, along with NIL, is why we have seen the legends of the game like Coach K, Jay Wright, and Roy Williams retire abruptly. But I digress…

Version 3.0 highlights the efforts made by Kim English in his first two weeks on the job. English targeted two George Mason transfers with his first two moves in the transfer portal, landing freshman wing Justyn Fernandez and All-Conference forward Josh Oduro. Since the last update to the Transfer Portal Primer, English has also secured a visit on April 14th with Wyoming big man Graham Ike, which would be an absolutely massive win for the Friars for this upcoming year and future years.

Jayden Pierre also is back in the fold as the point guard of the future for the Friars, which fills a massive hole. Unfortunately, the back-up guard spot is still up in the air with Alyn Breed’s status unknown. Developmental big man Rafael Castro is also returning, and he should be a factor in the frontcourt next year at a minimum. Last but not least is the commitment of wing player Richard Barron, who was previously committed to George Mason. I’d anticipate a redshirt year for him, but he may pleasantly surprise.

In terms of needs right now, I’d rank them as follows:

1a. More frontcourt help (relying just on Oduro and Castro is not a recipe for success)

1b. Veteran PG willing to come off bench. He would serve as a mentor to Pierre and run the second unit for the Friars.

2. Shooter (I rank this below the two above because I think we see continued development from Pierre, Hopkins, Carter, and Floyd Jr.). I see this as a luxury add rather than mandatory need

Below we break down what the Friars need in the transfer portal for the 2023-2024 basketball season and beyond. After that, we’ll keep a running list of players in the transfer portal that Providence has expressed interest in. We’ll also list players that we think would be good fits for the Friars. This will be regularly updated.


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Providence College Basketball Recruiting – Class of 2024 Primer – Version 5.0

April 25th, 2023 Update – We’re starting to get some updates on players in the 2024 class, with some decisions being made. We’re also starting to see English put more of his fingerprints on the Providence program with a bevy of new offers to the 2024 class. There has been a particular emphasis on offers out to big men, which shows English is aware that this is the one major gap to the existing roster.

While I expect English to continue to recruit the guys in New England, I’m not sure how much overlap we’ll see in recruits between the English and Cooley era. English emphasizes an NBA style, free flowing offense with plenty of shooters. Cooley emphasized physicality, toughness, and players with a bit of an edge to them.

Since his departure, new head coach Kim English has been extremely busy on the recruiting scene, offering a plethora of new players that Providence previously wasn’t involved with. One thing is clear with English’s offers: he is going to be targeting shooters. He said as much in his opening statements as PC head coach.

The other theme is mining the DMV area for prep talent. English grew up in Baltimore, knows the area, and has plenty of ties to the powerhouse programs that make up the DMV prep scene. He doesn’t care if those schools have affiliations with DMV-friendly schools like Maryland, Villanova, Georgetown, etc. He’s going to pursue the top talent with fervor.

English may be looking to add one more assistant, and I’m hopeful he brings on board somebody with Tri-State AND New England ties. There’s too much talent in these regions that appeal to playing in the Big East. We can’t ignore our backyard even though English has ties primarily to the DMV region, and I’m hopeful English is aware of that.

Below, we talk about class needs and targets of interest in the 2024 class.

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Transfer Portal Spotlight – George Mason Wing Justyn Fernandez

Kim English has been busy. As discussed in our transfer portal article on Josh Oduro (, English needs to do a lot in his first week on the job. He needs to re-recruit the current Friar roster, try to win back the 2023 recruiting class, and land a few transfer portal players to improve the Friar roster. He reconfirmed the commitment of 2023 recruit Donovan Santoro, which is a heck of a start (

Another key piece to building the Kim English era in Providence is landing talented portal players. Insert freshman transfer Justin Fernandez. Fernandez entered the portal and is looking for a new home after a year at George Mason. A highly touted recruit that actually chose GMU over Ed Cooley and Providence, Fernandez surprisingly played sparingly at George Mason. He averaged 4 points on 14 minutes while shooting 34% from deep. The Richmond, VA product will have 3 years of eligibility wherever he chooses to play.

We break down his game below and how he’d fit on the Friar roster.

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Transfer Portal Spotlight – George Mason Forward Josh Oduro

With the Kim English era upon us in Friartown, English has to hit the ground running at turbo speed. The transfer portal is both an amazing asset and a potential death knell to a new coach taking over a program. English not only needs to re-recruit the Friars that were on the roster last year after Ed Cooley departed for Georgetown, but he also needs to fill the gaps from those that departed the Friar team due to graduation and/or transferring. In total, Providence is definitely losing the following players: Ed Croswell, Clifton Moore, Noah Locke, and Jared Bynum. The first three are out of eligibility while Bynum is choosing to transfer.

It is also foolish to think English retains all of Bryce Hopkins, Devin Carter, Corey Floyd Jr., Alyn Breed, Rafael Castro, and Jayden Pierre, the players who have eligibility beyond this past season. That’s the nature of college basketball these days with the rosters fluctuating so frequently due to the transfer portal. The likelihood of a roster turnover further increases after a coaching change.

English is working on re-recruiting the high school commits from the 2023 class in Garwey Dual, Drew Fielder, and Donovan Santoro. As of this writing, he is currently out West meeting with each of these players. For this exercise, let’s assume English doesn’t get any of these three back in the fold (I think he will get some of them back, but I digress).

I lay that groundwork to say that Kim English has a lot of work to do in the transfer portal. I personally believe English will bring in, at a minimum, 3 players from the portal with 4 or 5 transfer portal players likely. English needs to bring in high caliber talent to replenish the roster, along with players that fit the mold of what English is trying to build culturally.

Enter Josh Oduro.

Oduro, a senior with one year of eligibility remaining, hails from the Virginia area. Oduro is a 6’9 forward from Paul VI (a DMV hotbed) who averaged 15.6 points/game, 7.9 rebounds/game, and 2.6 assists/game. Oduro is the best of the best in the A10, as he is two time First Team All-A10 selection. His junior year actually was a bit more impressive statistically, as he averaged 17.7 and 7.5. Oduro has been with George Mason his entire career. Stating the obvious, he has been with Kim English for both of his years coaching George Mason.

Below, we’ll break down Oduro’s game, what he would bring to the team he transfers to, and how he would fit with the current iteration of the PC basketball program.

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A Thank You to Ed Cooley

Lost amidst Ed Cooley’s departure from Providence College is an appreciation for everything Mr. Cooley has done to elevate the Providence Friar basketball program. While I personally disagree with how he handled this entire saga, and I think he will reflect back later and agree, there is no question that the Providence Friar program he took over today is night and day different from the Providence Friar basketball program he took over when he first joined from Fairfield in 2011. Where we sit today is directly because of the efforts of Ed Cooley during his tenure as Head Coach.

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Providence’s Up and Down Season Comes to an End: Friars Lose to Kentucky 61-53

Providence chose a very poor time to be ice cold offensively. With their season on the line, the Friars went 36% from the floor and 21% from deep on the way to a first round exit of the NCAA Tournament. In the past month, it has been the defense that has been the root of the issues with the Friars, but the defense actually did an admirable job against this Kentucky squad. It was the multitude of offensive rebounds and second chance opportunities that ultimately did the Friars win.

We break down the game below and what’s next for the Providence Friars:

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A Season in Review – 2022-2023 Friars & What’s Next

We wait all offseason for the season to arrive, seemingly taking forever. Once it arrives, it is a whirlwind and seems to conclude with the blink of an eye. That is one of life’s many ironies.

It is hard to find a Providence season that was as up and down as this one. The highs were certainly high (talks of a Big East repeat) and the lows were certainly low (ongoing rumors of Cooley leaving, player squabbles, etc.). With the season concluded, I don’t know if there has ever been a more highly anticipated offseason in Friar memory. The trajectory of Providence basketball is very much up in the air, and I don’t think that is being overly dramatic in writing that.

We break down below what this season meant for the future as well as what is at stake with the impending decision of Ed Cooley as coach of Providence.

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A Bluegrass First Round Opener: Kentucky PC Game Preview

As the picks went by on Selection Sunday, my nerves slowly started to creep up. PC’s resume wasn’t bullet-proof by any means. With each selection, I thought a chance for a snub was becoming more and more likely. That is until I saw Kentucky as the 6 seed with an opening at 11. I knew, given the circumstances around Bryce Hopkins, that is where we’d be selected. Sure enough, Providence was selected as the 11 seed to take on the Wildcats at 7:10 PM on CBS.

We break down the Wildcats, who to watch on their team, and what the Friars need to do to advance to the Round of 32.

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Revisiting The Providence Crier’s 2022-2023 Season Preview and Bold Predictions

Mike and I tend to think we know the Big East and Providence Friars fairly well. Reviewing our predictions for the Friars and Conference as a whole certainly was a humbling endeavor. Below, we break down what things we were right about (very little) and what things we missed the boat on (a lot).

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