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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Another big 2014 recruit has listed the Providence Friars among his final choices of schools. Last night, news came out that Kaleb Joseph, a point guard ranked #51 overall by ESPN for the class of 2014, cut his list down to Providence, Syracuse, and West Virginia (Hey, that was all the BIG EAST once!). Just another day in the life of Ed Cooley.

From ESPN

“Each of the three schools on his final list also has unique things to offer, and Joseph discussed each of his final choices.

Providence stands out not just because it is local but also because the Friars will be looking to replace their leading scorer and starting point guard in 2014.

“Bryce Cotton is graduating and so I would have an immediate opportunity to fill those minutes from Day One,” Joseph said. ”

Mr. Joseph, I want you to pick PC and all, but NO ONE CAN REPLACE ICE COTTON’S MINUTES.

Anyhoo, much like the rest of these 2014 targets Ed Cooley and staff have been all over Joseph for quite some time. He’s visited a bunch since last summer, and has been seen at several games.

Big prospects from the class of 2014, power forward Abdul Malik Abu and shooting guard Jared Terrell, have had numerous suitors over the past year plus. During the busy recruiting periods, it seemed like they would both pick up offers from the top schools around the country every other day. Ed Cooley and his staff have been on both of these young men from the very start, and it has definitely paid off.

Tonight, each recruit announced their top 10 list of schools, with the Providence Friars making the cut in both cases. It has been rumored for quite some time that the Massachusetts natives and Expressions Elite (AAU) teammates would be a package deal, creating a fantastic inside / out combo for any recruiting class.

Here are their lists of schools (via @HoopdreamsMag)

Abdul Malik Abu

NC State

Florida

Kansas State

Miami

Kentucky

Iowa State

UConn

Providence

UCLA

St John’s

Jared Terrell

Florida

UConn

Cincinnati

Providence

Miami

OSU

St Johns

UCLA

URI

Xaiver

Interestingly enough, the only teams involved from the New Big East are the Friars, St. John’s, and Xavier (for Terrell only).

If you are about to read this and are unaware of Jalen Lindsey’s commitment to Providence College, then Friarblog is most certainly not the site for you.

If you want to read about why he chose the Friars, Dave Telep of ESPN wrote a great piece here. College basketball Insider Reggie Rankin believes he has some Andre Iguodala in him and that he will be the first of a few commitments for the Friars 2014 class.

Lindsey put his trust in Ed Cooley’s staff over the likes of Rick Pitino, sorry slick, Thad Matta, sorry Brutus, and Billy Donovan, still love ya kid.

His father Walt, an Ocean State native, made it clear that it was how much the Friars wanted him that made Providence College stand out from the rest, including his home state Vols and Memphis Tigers.

We have all defended Providence basketball at one time or another, and it didn’t take long for Jalen to join the club.

Something he has already gained is respect from his elder Friars, one LaDontae Henton in particular.

 

Well Jalen, now that you have put your faith in Coach Cooley and the Friars, I want to put my faith in you that you will do and see these things during your time in Friartown…

{more to come soon}

I’m not happy about writing this. I want to make that very clear right now. I – like most of my fellow Friar journalists – didn’t even want to write about Ledo in the draft this year. If we could have it our way we all would’ve been watching Ledo next season in a Friar uniform. Obviously that didn’t happen, so instead we all wanted to write about Ledo beating the odds – to be the exception to the proverbial rule – and get drafted in the first round. Shake the commissioner’s hand, put on the hat, having highlights of…some game he was in play while all the analysts say their bit.

This was a particularly good highlight of Ledo's ball handling skills.

This was a particularly good highlight of Ledo’s ball handling skills.

There might’ve been some sort of redemption in that story, right? But instead we’ve ended up with the brilliant kid in high school who could get into Harvard no problem if he just was patient and applied himself, but instead chose to believe he was a shoe in based on what he was told.

Guess what? He didn’t get in. He got called at 43 overall, with talent that people have barely heard of going well before him. He’s going to be playing on the Bucks next year (or the Mavs. Or the Sixers. Or the Hawks. Look I have no idea honestly, it’s chaos right now. But I think it’s the Mavs.) and that’s assuming he makes the team. We all know the story of second round picks.

But you know what? I want to look at this from a different perspective. All we’ve heard since April 15 is “Ledo, Ledo, Ledo, Ledo, Ledo, Ledo…Ledo.” What about us? The fans? The coaching staff? The program? The Ricky Ledo saga is officially over, but what’s this mean for everyone else?

Let’s talk about it.

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What up Friartown!

I know we’re all bummed over the Ledo news yesterday (and believe me, an article on that is coming like a bat out of hell) but for now it’s best to distract ourselves from the tragedy and focus on the good. And the good is we’re still going to a new conference with a TON of opportunity for us to compete, with our without Ledo.

It’s this conference. I know, confusing if you haven’t been paying attention to how it all works.

So we should probably know who we’re competing against.

In our last entry in the three-part series we talked to Banners on the Parkway (@BannersParkway), the Xavier Musketeers blog that represents all things Ohio (you know, since we gave the other Ohio brethren the boot). Brad and Joel took the time to answer some of our questions about all things Xavier, so let’s see what they had to see after the jump!

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Happy Thursday Friartown!

We’ve made it past hump day (a word I’m becoming more familiar with as I work in an office) and sights are now set on the weekend, but why should the next day and a half drag on? We’ve got another interview with another blog on another new team in the Big East!

In the second of our three part series we got in touch with Butler Bulldog blogger David McConnell. He writes for Victoryfirelight.com, and can be found on Twitter with his handle @butlervictory. Butler is best remembered for kicking ass and taking names, specifically in 2010 and 2011 when they surprised everyone with their back to back trips to the NCAA championship game. Their performances earned them conference umps – first from the Horizon League, to the A-10, and then finally to the Big East.

Pictured here is the Butler bulldogs negotiating their admission to the Big East with the Georgetown bulldogs. Yes this is real.

Check out our interview after the jump!

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In case you missed the news (somehow) the Big East is kind of changing.

No, it’s not getting a new tournament site. No, records aren’t getting cleaned out – we still own those. I like to think of it more as a “return to the roots” type of change. We’re going back to what the Big East was built on. We’re going back to the vision that Dave Gavitt had so many years ago. We’re going back to basketball.

And we’re not doing it alone either. We’ve added quite a few buddies to come along for the ride. In addition to the “Catholic 7″ Creighton, Butler, and Xavier are all joining us next year in pioneering a basketball-only, high major conference.

So it seems only right that we should get to know our neighbors.

You knew this was coming. As soon as you saw the word ‘neighbor’ you knew it was coming and you LOVED IT.

In this three part series I interview the bloggers from the Creighton, Butler, and Xavier sites. First up is Creighton. CTO of White and Blue Review Patrick Marshall (@wildjays on twitter) got us in touch with Max Univers (@polyfro) to answer a couple of our questions about the Blue Jays. Give both those guys a follow on Twitter and bookmark the White and Blue Review for future reference guys – we’re going to be seeing Creighton a lot more! And after you’ve done that read our interview with them here, right now, after the jump!

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TGIF-ABC

-It was a fine NIT run for the Friars, capped off by a great and entertaining effort under difficult circumstances.

-A tremendous experience for players, coaches and fans and a true building block for the program.

-Baylor is flat out good and a tough matchup for this team anytime, anywhere.  In this case Providence essentially had no break between games.  They began their travels to Waco, via Boston, immediately after Monday night’s hard-fought win over Robert Morris and had to take on a very talented and athletic Baylor team, who was equally invested in winning the game, on Wednesday in their arena.

-The Friars went blow-for-blow for 35 plus minutes in a high octane contest but understandably wore down in the end.

-The maturation of this program under Ed Cooley has been a work in progress from day one and what was satisfying and exciting about the second half of this season is that it provided us with the first visible and quantifiable breakthroughs.

-The Dunk was a great scene for the Charlotte and Robert Morris NIT games.

-A testament to the Friartown faithful, who really helped get those games closed out.

-Cooley’s impromptu postgame address to the fans was great to see.

-But my favorite part was the coach getting frustrated with the band as they kept playing, unaware that Cooley was trying to say something.

-Good thing to because I think Cooley, in his frustration, had a few choice words that got muffled out by the music.

-Can’t wait until next year.

-A little investment advice.  Sell your JoS. A. Bank stock because the suits are going back in the closet baby.

-Actually, first I can’t wait until April 28th which is the deadline to declare for the NBA draft.

-Should be an interesting month in just another ho hum offseason in Friartown, right?

-When asked about Ricky Ledo’s status on Thursday by ABC6’s Ken Bell, Ed Cooley repeated previously made comments saying he hopes Ledo, “does the right thing” and stays in school but that he will support Ledo in his decision either way.

-Cooley also told Bell that he got a pedicure last year, liked it and plans on getting another one soon.

-He had his nails painted black and white of course.

-What do you call someone who administers a pedicure?

-A pedicurist?

-Whatever it is, if they mess up on Cooley’s feet do they get the focus machine?

-Getting back to Ledo, if you are looking for a point of reference, according to Zags Blog and SNYtv, St. John’s freshman and Big East Rookie of the Year JaKarr Sampson will likely be staying with the Red Storm for another season.

-Regardless of what happens with Ledo, Cooley has not ruled out adding another recruit to next year’s roster per the Providence Journal’s Kevin McNamara.

-The Friars have had success historically in finding good players late in the recruiting process (See Sharraud Curry, Bryce Cotton and LaDontae Henton).

-All the best to Vincent Council in his future endeavors.

-The coaching carousel is intriguing each year and the first really significant domino has fallen with Ben Howland out at UCLA.

-No movement yet on the established name front with VCU’s Shaka Smart and North Carolina State’s Mark Gottfried pledging to stay put while Jamie Dixon and Pittsburgh agreed on a new long term deal as rumors swirled about Dixon’s heading west to take the UCLA job.

-However our friends to the south took a hit as URI assistant Bobby Hurley will take the reins at Buffalo.

-Who knows?  Maybe Bobby and brother Dan will meet sooner than later when the Atlantic 10 is forced to add Buffalo to the conference.

-Actually have to give kudos to the Atlantic 10.  They have taken significant and virtually unavoidable conference realignment blows and could easily have become the “Titanic 10” if not for some smart and swift maneuvering.

-More A10 departures are likely over the next year or two as the Big East rounds out but they have navigated the conference realignment waters as well as could be expected, adding VCU and Butler last year and quickly scooping up George Mason earlier this week when the Big East took  Butler and Xavier.
-Getting back to coaching changes, wonder if Andre LaFleur gets a few calls?

-If he does, it will not be as many as Florida Gulf Coast University’s Andy Enfield though.
-Hey Red Sox brass.  Here is a brand management strategy for you…..Go get a good team.

-That said, the Red Sox are primed to overachieve this year given the ultra low expectations.

-Under promise.  Over deliver.

-The Red Sox will be scouting the minor league Lehigh Valley IronPigs hard this season.

-Not to find players but to gage the impact of the IronPigs’ new urinal gaming system on the fan experience and revenue generation.

Please don't shake your money maker. Please. Don't. (Photo from usnews.com)

Please don’t shake your money maker. Please. Don’t. (Photo from usnews.com)

-Here’s hoping everybody stays in their lanes.

-It’s good to see the Red Sox gave up lying about the sellout streak for Lent though.

-I tried to peel back the onion and all I found was more onion.

-Hope the Easter Bunny is good to you.

-This will probably be the last TGIF installment for this season.  I need to study for my pedicurist exam.

-Thanks for reading and for your comments.  You all are the best.  I will catch you on Twitter (@FriarFrenzy) in the meantime.  See you in the fall and GO FRIARS!!

Have a great weekend Friartown.  Be safe.

TGIF-ABC

-The Friars rode a solid second half, one that saw their leaders step up, to a gutsy NIT first round victory over Charlotte marking yet another great step in the evolution of this program under Ed Cooley.

-And that was great but props the crowd and atmosphere at The Dunk.  The students did a heck of a job masquerading as seat backs so it was not a huge crowd (4,953 official attendance) but whatever was lacking in quantity was trounced by quality.

-The Friar faithful were into it from the get go (OK, in large part due to the horrible refereeing) and stayed in it through the choppy first half, only to grow stronger as the Friars took care of business in the second stanza.

-And we get to do it again on Monday against what will be a tough and game Robert Morris squad.

-Lots of good stuff but if Providence wants to get deep into this tournament they need to be more composed around the basket.  They have missed an inordinate amount of normally higher percentage shots this year.

-Rumors have been rampant for some time about red shirt junior Kadeem Batts possibly leaving the program after this year given he is set to graduate this spring.

-Rumors stoked and seemingly validated when Scott Cordischi , who has a strong track record with Friar information, recently reported via GoLocalProv.com about sources confirming Batts’ departure as imminent.

-Not so fast my friends.  Late Wednesday in a presumed response Batts tweeted, ‘Sources are wrong…’.

-And Friartown rejoiced.

-For Batts is huge part of what this team can be next season.

-LaDontae Henton is not afraid of the moment.  Never has been and that is one of his strengths.

-Buckets hit a clutch jumper late against Charlotte but more impressive was his heady play down the stretch, turning down what would have been a difficult shot from underneath the backboard (a shot he typically takes), and extending a possession that ultimately led to a monster Bryce Cotton three ball.

-Speaking of Ice, he made incredibly athletic adjustments to catch and dunk two equally creative alley-oop feeds from Kris Dunn.

-Cotton played with great confidence on Wednesday and the results followed.

-And the growth of Dunn has been flat out fun to see.

-Scary moment when he appeared to tweak the shoulder though.

-There is bad refereeing and there is inconsistent refereeing.

-Unfortunately we have seen a lot of both at the same time this year.

-Absolutely loving the ten team structure for the new Big East next season (adding Xavier, Butler and Creighton to the Catholic 7 if you missed it).

-The conference will likely grow to twelve before too long, but for now it means we get to see every conference opponent at The Dunk which is fantastic.

-Oh, and the Big East tournament will continue at Madison Square Garden, where it belongs, until at least 2026 per a new agreement.

-Hey ACC, do you like apples?

See, Matt Damon is the Big East, Skylar's number is MSG and that a-hole guy with the pony tail is the ACC. No actual apples were hurt in the production of this post. (Photo curragh-labs.org)

See, Matt Damon is the Big East, Skylar’s number is MSG and that a-hole guy with the pony tail is the ACC. No actual apples were hurt in the production of this post. (Photo curragh-labs.org)

-Honestly, if I were an ACC decision maker I would not want the tournament at Madison Square Garden.

-It’s just not creative or original.  Build your own legacy.

-We know the ACC are Big East wannabes but why continue to make it so obvious by pursuing their venue?

-There are other cities that would make a great destination (Miami, New Orleans?)  and experience for ACC teams and fans.

-But then again, going after every last dollar is not very creative or original either so there you have it.

-There’s no truth to the rumor that the ACC tournament committee is mulling a rule change where teams will have to use a football rather than a basketball during tournament play.

-One rule change I think I’d be for if it were put out there is if a game goes to overtime all players who did not previously foul out get an additional foul for each overtime session.
-Last off-season there were a slew of transfers across division one basketball (over 600 if memory serves).  Curious to see if the trend continues this year.

-Thoughts and prayers go out to the Seton Hill (PA) community who lost their women’s lacrosse coach Kristina Quigley, who was pregnant, and bus driver Anthony Guaetta this past week in a fatal bus crash.

-Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams is a lot of things, but (presently anyway) a clutch player is not one of them.

-But if MCW spurs a heroic Final Four charge for the Orange I once again reserve the right to change my mind.

-Louisville’s Gorgui Dieng is likely to turn pro after this season and he is going to make whoever drafts him very happy.

-Louisville playing in Rupp Arena as the NCAA tournament’s number one overall seed, forcing Kentucky to hit the road for their NIT opening round game and lose is steeped in irony.

-As is the idea that Louisville just might be college basketball’s “model franchise” when many have thought of John Calipari’s Kentucky program that way.

-Edgar Renteria announced his retirement from professional baseball. Does this mean the Red Sox get to stop paying him now?

Have a great weekend Friartown.  Be safe.