As I chronicled heading into this past weekend, the Friar coaching staff is now on the clock for a massively important stretch — 30 days being my nice, neat headline from last week — that ends with their annual Late Night Madness festivities on October 17th. During that span they are scheduled to host a number of recruits in the class of 2016, including top target Wenyen Gabriel. The first visitor to step foot on Providence’s campus during this critical period was 2016 wing forward Jalen Johnson. Johnson is a North Carolina native who attends Wesleyan Christian Academy and ran with Team Wall on the adidas Gauntlet circuit this spring and summer.
Johnson told pcbb1917.com that “the visit went really well. I really like the coaching staff and really got to know them.” Johnson continued “I liked the campus…[and] I liked how the school has a family type of feel to it.” Johnson’s strong points are his athleticism in the open court and his increasingly improving jump shooting. He is a confident player and will take on a leadership role this year at Wesleyan Christian. He is also considering Florida and Tennessee and said “I don’t see myself taking all 5 visits before making my decision. As far as committing I do still want to commit early and sign in November.” He is currently working on setting up a date for a visit to Tennessee.
Nikki Berry, Johnson’s mother, was also on the visit with her son and “came away very impressed and very pleased.” Berry also said she “really, really enjoyed the visit. The coaching staff, their families and other administrators were awesome.” Cooley’s strength in recruiting has long been known to be his ability to connect with the player’s family and it appears he has done that yet again in this case. Jeff Battle is the coach that began recruiting Johnson during the summer, he told pcbb1917.com, “but now it’s both Coach Cooley and Coach Battle.”
Providence currently has 1 open scholarship for the class of 2016 but that is expected to turn into at least 2 with Kris Dunn expected to enter the 2016 NBA Draft. The Friars are also scheduled to get visits from point guards Maliek White (October 2nd) and Jalen Harris (October 9th). White visited Pittsburgh over the weekend but the Panthers got a commitment from fellow Providence target Justice Kithcart on Sunday. Harris’ recruitment has been picking up of late. He also ran with Johnson on Team Wall this spring and summer. Johnson told me he and Harris have talked about the possibility of going to the same school but “we haven’t really talked about it really seriously yet.” Gabriel’s visit is scheduled for the weekend of October 9th.
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