With Friday being the 4th of July I am releasing the weekly recruiting update a day earlier than normal. This weekly update will return to it’s normally scheduled Friday next week. This will be the final recruiting update prior to the first July live period which begins at 5pm on July 9th. For more information on the recruiting calendar over the next few weeks, check out this page.
News came down Wednesday afternoon that Josh Fortune was transferring to Colorado. This ends one of the more bizarre and confusing player transfers I’ve ever seen and I doubt the real reasons will ever be truly made public. Whatever the reasons, it seems Fortune was looking for a fresh start and he will get that at Colorado which is much further from his home than Providence, for what that’s worth.
Fortune leaving has left a bit of a hole at the shooting guard position. After the various swings and misses this spring, Ed Cooley and his staff are apparently on the fence about bringing someone in at this late stage. I’m told that Armel Potter is anxious to have the PC coaches watch him play live which is something that hasn’t happened as of yet. Potter is mulling over possibly playing somewhere during the July live periods but no decision has been made on that. I was told that Potter hasn’t spoken with Cooley yet but I get the sense that if Cooley calls with an offer, Potter will be on the next plane to Friartown. The former Florida Atlantic commit has offers from Appalachian State, Ball State, Iona, Niagara, Tennessee Tech and some other mid majors.
The other name being mentioned for 2014 still is Ricky Council of Durham, NC. Council appears to have the size to play in the Big East at 6’4 and PhenomHoopReport.com’s Rick Lewis described Council to me as an athletic player with a nice mid range game and quick first step who is also efficient from 3. Lewis mentioned that Council is a bright student and humble kid who has been flying a bit under the radar. He characterized him as a mid major plus to high major minus player and Lewis believes Council can play at the Big East level. Based on an article from Rivals.com in late May, it appears Council was hoping that the increased interest from the new coaching staff at Wake Forest would turn into an offer but that hasn’t materialized as of yet it seems. His offers are all from mid majors and in that same article from Rivals.com he listed his top 2 as Appalachian State and UNC-Wilmington.
2015 guard Jalen Adams committed to UConn on June 30th via his Twitter account. Read more about that here.
Wake Forest transfer Tyler Cavanaugh is reportedly going to decide between Butler, Dayton and George Washington with a decision expected to come in the next week. Providence had reached out as Ed Cooley recruited Cavanaugh out of high school while Cooley was the head coach at Fairfield. Cavanaugh has visited all 3 of his final schools.
I wrote a Providence recruiting roundup for BigEastCoastBias.com earlier this week. Click here to check that out.
Rivals.com expanded and updated their class of 2016 national rankings on July 1st. To see the full top 100, click here. The previous list was a top 60 and it is now a top 100. Here are the Friar recruits that made the cut:
- #15 – Kobi Simmons – 6’5 PG – Alpharetta, GA/St. Francis School
- #19 – Miles Bridges – 6’6 SF – Huntington, WV/Huntington Prep
- #21 – Joshua Langford – 6’4 SG – Madison, AL/Madison Academy
- #25 – Tyus Battle – 6’5 SG – Gladstone, NJ/Gill St. Bernard’s School
- #27 – Rawle Alkins – 6’4 SG – Brooklyn, NY/Christ the King
- #33 – Braxton Blackwell – 6’6 SF – Nashville, TN/Christ Presbyterian Academy
- #37 – Amir Coffey – 6’6 PG – Hopkins, MN/Hopkins
- #46 – Sedee Keita – 6’10 C – Saxtons River, VT/Vermont Academy
- #53 – Bruce Brown – 6’3 SG – Saxtons River, VT/Vermont Academy
- #93 – Devonte Green – 6’1 PG – Long Island, NY/Long Island Lutheran
Eric Bossi had some notes about some of the players in the top 100:
Four guards make five-star noise
The most notable moves at the top of the 2016 rankings were made by a quartet of guards. Point guard Dennis Smith and shooting guard Malik Monk were already five-stars before making jumps while point guard Derryck Thornton and combo guard Kobi Simmons made moves from four to five-star range.Simmons has really come on strong over the last few months. With near 6-foot-5 size, superior quickness and great instincts with the ball, Simmons is a scoring point who has the size to slide over and play off the ball if necessary. He hits holes in the defense quickly, knocks down shots from deep to make an impressive climb from No. 28 to No. 15.
Keep an eye out for
Nobody in the class of 2016 plays harder than 6-foot-6 forward Miles Bridges. After a somewhat sluggish sophomore season for a loaded Huntington (W.V.) Prep squad, the native of Michigan was a stud during the spring, which enabled him to move from No. 33 to No. 19. He is powerful, he rebounds, he tests opponents manhood and he is productive on both ends of the floor.
There were more high profile player camps this past week and many of PC’s targets performed well.
The Kevin Durant Skills Academy was held in Washington, DC from June 27th-June 29th. In addition to current Friar Tyler Harris attending (for the 2nd straight year), recruits Prince Ali, Levan Alson, Antonio Blakeney, Malik Beasely, Eric Davis, Cheick Diallo, Terance Mann, Teki Gill-Ceasar, Aaron Falzon and Derrick Jones were in attendance. Interesting measurement notes:
Tyler Harris measured at 6’9 without shoes which means he plays around 6’11 on the court with shoes. His wingspan was measured at 6’9.5 and his weight was 221 lbs.
Cheick Diallo measured at 6’9 without shoes and has a wingspan of 7’3.
Derrick Jones measured at 6’6.5 without shoes and has a wingspan of 6’11.
To see how all players in attendance measured, click here.
Here are some recaps of how the recruits performed:
Most well-rounded players
Malik Beasley: Beasley’s explosiveness is impressive when he attacks the basket, and so is his ability to finish a play. He excelled at running off pin-down screens, then curling into the mid-range area where he would knock down a shot.When he cuts down on his turnovers, his efficiency and well-roundedness will be enhanced as he beats defenders with the drive and the jumper as well taking a defensive stand. He is very capable of putting up big numbers and VCU, Georgia and Florida State are just some of the programs that have been on him the longest.
Antonio Blakeney: This super scoring guard continues to show his ability to score off the dribble, it’s his jumper that continues to shine. Blakeney displays the ability to get separation from his defender by way of the dribble, which allows him to get space to shoot the jumper that became his main weapon over the weekend. He has established himself as one of the elite scorers in the class . He has yet to cut down his list of schools, but Florida, Florida State, Louisville, Kansas, North Carolina, LSU, Providence and UCF have been recruiting him hardest.
Former UConn commit Prince Ali spoke with Evan Daniels recently. Prince told Daniels “right now I’m kind of open to everybody, but I would probably say the schools I’m really looking at right now are Michigan, UCLA, Indiana and UConn.”
On decommitting from UConn:
“It was hard to decommit because Kevin Ollie is a good dude,” Ali said. “He really cares about his players. But as a person I had to do what I had to do. I had to make the best decision for my family and for myself. My family wants to see me play and I didn’t know if they want to go to Connecticut or not. He’s a great dude. UConn is known for letting their guards play ball…They definitely a have a shot, so long as they keep recruiting me and don’t fall off.”
What’s the next step?
Prince also spoke with Alex Bozich of InsidetheHall.com, an Indiana basketball site. He gave the same list of 4 schools that are coming at him the hardest that he gave to Evan Daniels above. Here are some notable tidbits from the story:
“Maryland is coming at me hard, Nebraska is coming at me real hard,” he noted. “Providence is coming at me. There’s plenty of schools coming at me, but those four are pretty much the main schools.”
Ali mentioned his relationship with the head coach as a major factor in where he ultimately leads up.
“I’m looking for a good dude, a good person and a coach that I can relate to on and off the court.”
After this weekend’s Durant camp wraps up, Ali’s schedule will remain busy in July. He’ll participate in the LeBron James Skills Academy in Las Vegas during the first July evaluation period and then play in the Nike Peach Jam Finals in North Augusta, South Carolina.
Malik Beasely did an interview this week and had a feature article written about him. The interview was with Pat Lawless of GiveNGoBasketball.com. Here are some noteworthy quotes:
“I plan on cutting the list to ten after July and making my decision on November 26th, which is my birthday. This way I can make my decision before the season and focus more on my game.”
“I will be basing it off of the head coach and if it’s a winning program,” he told GNGB. “I really want to get to the big dance and I want a program that will develop me as a player for my career after college.”
The feature piece was done by my colleague at BigEastCoastBias.com, DevonTe Brooks. It’s worth the read.
New mixtape of Antonio Blakeney released on July 2nd:
Teki Gill-Ceasar visited Missouri earlier this week, per Adam Zagoria. His former coach at Huntington Prep, Rob Fulford, recently was named an assistant coach for the Tigers. The possibility remains that Gill-Ceasar could reclassify from 2015 to 2014 and enroll at a school in the fall.
Derrick Jones visited UConn on June 30th, per Zagoria. It was reported last week that Jones has new interest from Providence. Per the above linked Zagsblog article, Jones’ father said Derrick plans to visit Louisville, Kentucky and Syracuse after July.
The first annual Stephen Curry Select Camp was held in California from June 29th-July 2nd. PC recruit Tyus Battle was one of the 20 players in attendance and he received some praise for his effort.
Tyus Battle: Battle is a athletic wing scorer that has an excellent pace. He had good footwork while attacking the post and created space coming off screens to get his shot off. In most cases these shots were either a step back or pull up jumper.
Tyus Battle, SF: Battle’s ability to handle the ball and his consistency from mid-range were the big takeaways from his game at the Stephen Curry Select Camp. At 6-foot-6, Battle is skilled. He showed he could handle the ball in tight spaces and make plays off the dribble. He has good form on his shot and may have been the best mid-range shooter in the camp. His range extends to three and during one session made four threes during four on four action. Battle is tracking as one of the best wings in the 2016 class.
Another camp this week was the NERR Elite 75 which was held at Brandeis University on June 30th. ESPNBoston.com’s Chris Bradley wrote about a couple of PC targets that stood out:
Vermont Academy guard Bruce Brown, who was on hand and was recently ranked No. 30 in the country in Recruiting Nation’s 2016 Super 60 rankings, has been as big of a stock-riser as any guard in the country. So far, the Roxbury native has accumulated scholarship offers from programs such as Miami, Rhode Island, Wake Forest, Boston College, Tulsa, and VCU.
“I’ve gotten a lot of college interest over the summer and my shot has improved a lot too,” the former Wakefield High star said, “I can knock down a consistent jump shot now. . . I really have no worries now about shooting the ball.”
Kealan Ives, Sr., Putnam Science Academy (Conn.)
A graduate of Providence’s Classical High School, Ives averaged 22.8 points per game this past season –- good for third overall in the state of Rhode Island. Ives, a gifted athlete who has been known to score in bunches, will spend the year improving his game as a postgraduate at Putnam Science.
Here is a highlight tape from the NERR Elite 75 that was put together by RI Affiliated. The tape features PC recruits Hamidou Diallo, Kealan Ives, Bruce Brown and Mamadou Diarra:
New interest this week is from two new members of CT prep school, Putnam Science Academy. One is a member of the class of 2015 – Andrew Robinson. The other is a member of the class of 2017 – Hamidou Diallo. I wrote a story about these two earlier this week. Click here to read that if you missed it.
Kevin Farrahar and Craig Leighton from FriarBasketball.com will release their newest edition of their weekly feature, “Elite 8 Recruiting Rankings” Thursday night so make sure you head over there to check it out.
Priority 2015 recruit Donovan Mitchell visited Providence on June 28th. He enjoyed his visit and was there with his parents and sister. ScoutFriars.com’s Jeff Ferrucci spoke with Mitchell after the visit. Here are some tidbits:
ScoutFriars: So, how did your visit to Providence go today?
Mitchell: It went very well, I think.
ScoutFriars: What did you do on the visit – meet with the coaches, players … tour the campus?
Mitchell: I met with the AD, the coaches, and staff.
ScoutFriars: What do you like most about PC that has made you interested in them?
Mitchell: The relationship I have with the coaching staff.
ScoutFriars: What events will you play in this summer?
Mitchell: I will be in Philly, Atlanta, and Vegas.
ScoutFriars: I know you had previously said you may decide in September, but more recently that it might get pushed back. Is that still the case?
Mitchell: Yes, I won’t be deciding in September.
2015 guard recruit Jalen Coleman cut his list to 6. PC didn’t make the cut.
2016 Braxton Blackwell was interviewed earlier this week by Ben Sherman of InsideCarolina.com. He told Sherman “I’d say the [schools] that are separating themselves right now are North Carolina, Indiana, Providence, Florida, Tennessee, Memphis.”
2015 Archbishop Carroll (PA) big man Ernest Aflakpui visited URI and Providence on June 29th. The Friars are also recruiting his high school teammate Derrick Jones. The native of Ghana has offers from St. Joe’s, La Salle, Temple, VCU, South Carolina, Kansas State, San Diego State, GW, Rhode Island, Seton Hall and Georgia, per his AAU coach Terrell Myers.
Here is the ESPN Scouting Report for Aflakpui:
He’s a long and athletic player who has shown a high learning curve since arriving in the United States. He’s got great feet for a guy his size, along with a tremendous motor. He runs the floor like a deer and is also quick and agile changing directions. He’s got a nose for the ball on the defensive end and he’ll clean the glass or block shots alike. His second jump is particularly impressive because it allows him to contest shots and then bounce right back up to snatch defensive rebounds.
He’s still very raw offensively. His most consistent production happens at point blank range, either by going to the offensive glass or running the court in transition. He really doesn’t have much of an interior skill set to speak of at this point and so his offensive development is going to be a long-term process.
His motor and physical tools are a potentially devastating combination that make him an early prospect for high levels of college basketball. As he continues to fill out his frame, develop his skills and understanding of the game, his stock will only rise.
2015 big man Steve Enoch visited Providence on June 28th and then followed that up by visiting Seton Hall on June 30th. Read more about Enoch visiting Providence here.
Another big man in the class of 2015 took a visit elsewhere over the weekend. Cheick Diallo visited Kentucky who many people see as a potential frontrunner after John Calipari hired Barry Rohrssen away from Jamie Dixon’s Pittsburgh staff.
2016 wing Miles Bridges visited NC State earlier this week and told Adam Zagoria he “liked the campus, the coaches were cool and the fans appreciated me.”
2015 guard Dupree McBrayer visited Minnesota last week and plans to make his decision on which prep school to attend within the next two weeks. He will choose between Brewster Academy, South Kent, St. Thomas More and Vermont Academy, per Adam Zagoria.
Here’s a new mixtape of 2015 PF Trevor Manuel from Oak Hill Academy and The Family AAU team where he plays with Miles Bridges and Eric Davis:
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