As the buzz continues to grow surrounding Providence College, the school hosted its Late Night Madness last Friday, which not only served to increase both optimism regarding the future of the program, but also provided yet another avenue for improving the Providence College name in the eyes of recruits. With the event being hosted by television personality Nick Cannon and the energy that the slim Ed Cooley created at the event, it is not a surprise that countless recruits flocked to be a part of the festivities that saw freshman Brandon Austin stun the crowd with a 360 between the legs dunk to win the dunk contest. 2014 commits Ben Bentil, Jalen Lindsey, and Paschal Chukwu were all in attendance while countless underclassmen were also present including 2015 recruits Donovan Mitchell, Ryan Fazekas, and Jarred Reuter, 2016 recruits Tyrone Malone and Tyree Weston and 2017 recruits Jermaine Samuels, Tomas Murphy, and Kimani Lawrence among several others. Ed Cooley and his staff continue to attract talent to Providence College events and build relationships with the areas top talent very early in their high school careers.

One recruit, 2015 G Donovan Mitchell, was very positive regarding his experience at Late Night Madness and his overall recruitment with Providence. Ed Cooley and Providence will certainly continue to pursue the talented Brewster guard, but will soon have stiff competition as Mitchell shows his talent during the prep season. Mitchell has stated a desire to play for a school with a great fan base that will provide him with a great education in addition to immediate playing time. Providence could certainly be a great fit for Mitchell. In addition to the positivity from Mitchell and other underclassmen regarding the event, all three 2014 commitments were very positive regarding the night and the program in general. It is certainly refreshing to see the immense amount of excitement that Ed Cooley has built regarding the program shown even from recruits who are a year away from playing for the school.

Although significant buzz was generated both during and shortly after the event from several recruits, but the largest recruiting news was made by 2015 F Ryan Fazekas, who verbally committed to the Friars on Tuesday. According to Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal, Fazekas’ trip to Late Night Madness was his birthday present from his parents and quickly told them of his college intentions following his return. Ryan Fazekas is known as a knockdown shooter who stands at 6’8” giving him the ability to get his shot off over most defenders. His long-range ability has drawn comparisons to players such as Michigan’s Nik Stauskas and former Purdue forward Robbie Hummel at that stage of their high school career. Additionally, Fazekas is only a junior and is said to still be growing and adding weight to his frame. If he continues to grow and build his body, Fazekas could turn into a prototypical stretch four man.

Prior to committing to the Friars, Fazekas was receiving interest from high major programs such as Butler, Michigan, Purdue, Xavier, Boston College, Valparaiso, Northwestern, and several other Big Ten schools. Although Fazekas plays AAU ball with the Chicago-based Mean Streets, he missed a portion of last summer due to injury, which had an impact on his rating by the major scouting services. While Scout currently rates Fazekas as a three star prospect and ESPN has him as a four star prospect, it would not be surprising to see Fazekas improve on that rating and find himself in the top 100 of his class by graduation with continued consistency from long range and improvement in other areas. With the departure of Bryce Cotton following the upcoming season, Ryan Fazekas could prove to help secure the future of the program in terms of three point shooting. This could certainly prove to be a case of Providence securing the commitment from a recruit prior to him “blowing up” on the national scene. Below is a mixtape of Ryan Fazekas that highlights his high upside.

@UndercoverFriar

Recruiting Roundup

UndercoverFriar —  September 25th, 2013 6:34 PM —  Comments

While the Providence staff has secured two commitments from top 100 players Jalen Lindsey and Paschal Chukwu as well as Cleveland St. transfer Junior Lomomba, a defensive stopper who has enrolled at Providence and will have three years of eligibility when he begins his career in a Friar uniform for the 2014-2015 season, the staff remains very active in recruiting for both the 2014, 2015, and even 2016 classes. Full team practice is set to begin shortly, but the Providence staff will continue to recruit players from all these classes to continue to build the program. Ed Cooley and his staff have already built relationships with several recruits in the 2015 and 2016 classes that could prove beneficial in the future. However, Providence remains involved with several talented recruits to fill out the 2014 class.

Ben Bentil will visit Providence for a second time in mid October.

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BIG EAST Schedule Announced

dave@friarblog —  September 5th, 2013 3:50 PM —  Comments

Goodbye Storrs, hello CenturyLink Center Omaha! The BIG EAST finally announced their schedule for the upcoming season. What did we learn? Creighton is now our rival. Do already miss tweets and posts from entitled UConn fans who think PC basketball shouldn’t even exist? Get ready for Creighton!

All I know about Providence is in the Departed all the bodies get dumped in Providence. So it must be a lovely city.

— FakeBlueCrew (@FakeBlueCrew) September 5, 2013

Now that the fuel has been added to that forced fire, let’s get to the schedule!

Tuesday, December 31 Time (ET) Network
Seton Hall at Providence 2:30 FOX Sports 1

Sunday, Jan. 5
Providence at Villanova 7:00 FOX Sports 1

Wednesday, Jan. 8
Georgetown at Providence 7:00 FOX Sports 1

Thursday, Jan. 16
Providence at St. John’s (CA) 7:00 FOX Sports 1

Saturday, Jan. 18
Creighton at Providence 2:00 FOX Sports 1

Tuesday, Jan. 21
Butler at Providence 9:00 FOX Sports 1

Saturday, Jan. 25
Xavier at Providence Noon FOX Sports 1

Thursday, Jan. 30
Providence at Marquette 7:00 FOX Sports 1

Saturday, Feb. 1
Providence at DePaul 1:00 FSN National

Tuesday, Feb. 4
St. John’s at Providence 7:00 FOX Sports 1

Saturday, Feb. 8
Providence at Xavier 5:00 FOX Sports 1

Monday, Feb. 10
Providence at Georgetown 7:00 FOX Sports 1

Saturday, Feb. 15
DePaul at Providence 2:00 FSN National

Tuesday, Feb. 18
Villanova at Providence 7:00 FOX Sports 1

Sunday, Feb. 23
Providence at Butler 6:00 FOX Sports 1

Friday, Feb. 28
Providence at Seton Hall 7:00 CBSSN

Tuesday, March 4
Marquette at Providence 9:00 FOX Sports 1

Saturday, March 8
Providence at Creighton 7:30 CBSSN

So Friartown, which BIG EAST game are you most excited about?

Chukwu Aftermath: 2014 Recruiting Update

UndercoverFriar —  September 5th, 2013 9:35 AM —  Comments

Paschal Chukwu this summer at NBA Top 100 Camp

Providence and Ed Cooley landed a “big” commitment last week from 2014 C Paschal Chukwu, which marks the second commitment in the 2014 class as Chukwu joins F Jalen Lindsey. Providence was long rumored to be in good position with Chukwu, but it eased any concerns of Friartown when he announced his pledge to Providence and Coach Cooley on Twitter last week. Chukwu will bring a strong defensive presence to the Friars from the minute he steps on campus, but has great potential to become an elite center as long as he continues to improve his offensive game and fills out his frame. While Ed Cooley and the Providence staff are off to a tremendous start to the 2014 recruiting class, they are certainly not done.

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7’2″.

Seven feet and two inches.

Two-point-nineteen meters.

I mean, do I really have to explain why this is exciting?

Center Pascal Chukwu, another top 100 prospect in the class of 2014, committed to Providence College yesterday. Cooley and assistant coach Bob Simon had been on Chukwu for a long while now, and just a few days ago it was announced that his list had been cut down to just St. Joe’s and the Friars. With the mystery surrounding Abdul-Malik Abu and Jared Terrell’s recruitment, and losing Kaleb Joseph to Syracuse, there was a clout of anxiety surrounding Chukwu’s decision. Would he pick the Friars or end up going to the A-10? Fortunately those questions were put to rest, and Chukwu made it plain and clear what his plans for the A-10 were.

 

They looked kind of like this.

 

It’s appropriate to have that gif on here too, because Chukwu has frequently been compared to Dikembe Mutumbo for his height and shot blocking ability. I know what you’re thinking and the answer is yes, I have inquired about Chukwu’s Gieco commercial. They’re getting back to me.

But hey, in the meanwhile, this is great news! How great? Let’s talk about it.

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The hopes of Providence’s version of the “Fab Five” created by Michigan years ago took a hit over the weekend as 2014 point guard Kaleb Joseph committed to Syracuse while on an official visit, choosing the former Big East school over Providence and West Virginia. Joseph had previously stated that Syracuse has been his dream school since he was a child and he must have become comfortable with the threat of limited playing time behind freshman point guard Tyler Ennis, who Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said is “as good as any point guard we’ve brought in here.”

While the proposed “Friar Five” is no longer a reality and there is increasing anxiety amongst Friartown that this recruiting class may not turn out as successful as once hoped, let’s remember that Ed Cooley has already secured a commitment from a consensus top 50 player nationally in Jalen Lindsey. In addition to Lindsey, Providence is in good position with several other recruits to turn the 2014 recruiting class into yet another successful one. Let’s take a look at some of the remaining targets of Providence in the class of 2014 and update the current state of their recruitment.

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Kaleb Joseph to Syracuse

dave@friarblog —  August 18th, 2013 5:01 PM —  Comments

So about that Friar Five…

Can’t blame the kid for going to his dream school.

From ESPN

While the realization that both West Virginia and Providence had more immediate playing time to offer gave Joseph pause, it ultimately wasn’t enough to make him say no to his dream school.

Time to move on. Now let’s hope this just doesn’t turn out like last fall’s miss after miss on the big targets.

As the final days of summer begin to wind down it is time to start turning our attention to Friar Basketball and the 2013-14 season. We will be taking a closer look at the teams in the Big East and we focus on St. John’s. Last season St. John’s finished at 17-16 (8-10) and did not make postseason play. For a look at this upcoming season, and what we can expect from the Red Storm, we have two St. John’s bloggers helping us out for this edition.

Quinn Rochford: Editor/Writer, Rumble in the Garden; @QSTJHoops

Norman Rose: Editor-in-chief, Rumble in the Garden; @ecoastbias

1. In 100 words or less describe St. John’s 2012-13 season.

Quinn: If you were to ask me to do it in one word, I would have said “chaotic.” Aside from the up-and-down season on the court, where the Red Storm found themselves losing its final four conference games after starting 8-6, St. John’s endured a lot off the floor as well. Between Steve Lavin’s father, Cap, passing away in February, Orlando Sanchez’ legal fight for 2013-14 eligibility and D’Angelo Harrison’s season-ending suspension, the Johnnies lit enough fireworks to light the sky. So, when you look at the body of work that culminated in an NIT berth, the result wasn’t terrible but still shy of expectations.

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terrell_and_abu

(Image from New England Recruiting Report)

Well, this is escalating quickly.

Florida, UConn, Miami, St. John’s, UCLA, Xavier — you have been kicked off of the Jared Terrell island. Sorry St. John’s, UCLA, Iowa State, Miami, Kentucky and Kansas State, but you have been fired from Abdul Malik Abu’s boardroom. Late last night (why does all of this recent recruiting news happen late at night?) their AAU coach Ty Boswell announced that the two 2014 prospects each cut their list to 4. The one little school that is on both of their lists? Yep, that would be Providence College.

Adding even more fuel to the incredible buzz around Friartown is the fact that both of these players will be at Providence this weekend for Ed Cooley’s Elite Camp. Several big recruiting targets will be attending the second annual Elite Camp hosted by Cooley and staff, but all eyes will be on Terrell and Abu. There have been previous rumors suggesting the two could be a package deal. Given the speed that everything has happened at thus far, and the general awesomeness of Ed Cooley, nothing would surprise me at this point. The event on Saturday already makes for a great day in Friartown. Who is down for something epic?

UPDATE: Scout.com is reporting that Terrell and Abu will be announcing their decision together at a press conference in September. Oh man.

What’s Up Friartown!? @UndercoverFriar has become a part of Friarblog and will be providing recruiting updates and analysis in columns posted to Friarblog intermittently. I intend to provide Friarblog readers with in depth recruiting information and analysis. Hope you enjoy! Go Friars!

2014 Recruiting: Tracking the “Friar Five”

Since Coach Ed Cooley’s arrival at Providence College, the excitement regarding recruiting has risen to a level never before seen in Friartown. From Ladontae Henton shortly after his hire to a top ten class in Kris Dunn, Ricardo Ledo, and Josh Fortune to this year’s recruiting class of Brandon Austin and Rajay Bullock in addition to transfers Carson Desrosiers and Tyler Harris, Ed Cooley has certainly left an impression on the world of recruiting. With that being said, avid followers of Friar basketball recruiting have looked forward to the 2014 recruiting class as where Ed Cooley could leave an even bigger mark. Given the inroads Coach Cooley made early on with 2014 recruits and the number of available scholarships (five), the 2014 recruiting class had the makings of a great one from the start.

By now most Friar fans know the potential “Friar Five” consists of 2014 recruits F Jalen Lindsey, G Jared Terrell, G Kaleb Joseph, C Paschal Chukwu, and F Abdul-Malik Abu. Coach Cooley along with associate head coach Andre Lafleur and assistant coach Bob Simon have been hard at work on the recruiting trail for a long time for each of these prospects. Each of these recruits is a consensus top 100 player nationally and has had many other schools hard after him as well. Friar fans have anxiously been waiting for lists to be trimmed and interviews to be recorded mentioning Providence as a likely destination for any of these recruits. Any combination of these five prospects would make for a great recruiting class, but the “Friar Five” or anything remotely close to it would be an incredible statement for the state of Providence College basketball and it could very well happen. Let’s take an in depth look at the recruitment of each of these players and where it stands in regards to lists and decision timelines. While four of these 2014 prospects are still deep into their recruitment, one prospect has made a decision and decided to take his talents to Friartown, forward Jalen Lindsey.

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