Providence’s season ended back on March 19th and Ed Cooley and his staff quickly turned the page to the future and recruiting for 2016 and beyond. The Friar staff has been tracking some players in the class of 2016 for some time now, but recruiting appears to be heating up in Friartown. Sacred Heart transfer Cane Broome took an unofficial visit to Providence on Monday and Kevin Farrahar at Friarbasketball.com reported that junior college big man Akil Douglas will be on Providence’s campus Tuesday for a visit. Fresh of a coaching change at Pittsburgh, 2016 big man Corey Manigault is back on the market and a new name in the Juco ranks also surfaced over the weekend in Kavell Bigby-Williams.
Broome Sweep Friartown Off It’s Feet?
When Cane Broome announced his intention to transfer from Sacred Heart back on March 17th, Friar fans immediately latched on to his name as a local kid who could make good in black and white. The debates began furiously about whether or not his scoring — over 1,000 points in two season at Sacred Heart — would translate to the Big East or whether or not he was big enough to deal with the physicality of high major basketball on a daily basis.
It appears that the Providence coaching staff thinks he can. Broome took an unofficial visit to Providence’s campus on Monday and had very positive things to say about the campus, the Friar Development Center and the coaching staff. He plans to take visits to Cincinnati and Creighton in the next two weeks. NC State has also been mentioned as a school expressing interest in Broome’s services.
What are Broome’s services, exactly? Well, this writer envisions Broome as a 6th man off the bench who provides a microwave-like scoring ability. He is likely too small to defend for long stretches in the Big East, but I do think he scoring ability will translate, even if not for 20+ points/game. This is a worthwhile gamble for the Providence staff and I am a fan of using a scholarship every year or two on a sit-out transfer who can practice with the team everyday, get acclimated to the campus and the coaching staff’s systems and provide experience that true freshmen lack.
Douglas Does Providence
Providence hasn’t had much success with junior college players in recent years. The two most recent players from the Juco ranks came to Providence during the Keno Davis era in Kyle Wright and Russ Permenter. Wright’s tenure with the team would last less than a season before he quit to focus on academics and Permenter finished out that one season, but wouldn’t return after that. Neither were effective on the court.
Akil Douglas played two years at San Jose City College and had a breakout sophomore year after averaging a paltry 3.1 points/game his freshman season. Douglas jumped all the way to 18.1 points/game and added 8.2 rebounds/game, while shooting 81.9% from the free throw line and 40% from beyond the arc on 55 attempts. Douglas notched career highs in points and rebounds in his sophomore season. He dropped 35 points on 15/21 shooting against Alameda on December 12th and pulled down 17 rebounds, including 7 offensive boards, against West Valley on January 27th. Douglas scored 20 or more points twelve times and had seven double-doubles.
Manigault Back On The Market
The coaching carousel has been speeding up over the last couple of weeks and one of the big shifts was Jamie Dixon and Pittsburgh parting ways. Dixon latched on at his alma mater, TCU, and the Panthers recently hired ex-Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings. Coaching changes mean committed recruits want to re-evaluate things and Corey Manigault has decided to re-open his recruitment after committing to Pittsburgh and signing a NLI in November. Manigault played for Paul VI in Fairfax, VA and ran with Team Takeover. Providence associate head coach Andre LaFleur has reached out to express interest in the 6’8 big man but the Friars will be joined by a rush of teams likely to include local options Georgetown and Maryland.
UPDATE: Corey Manigault is sticking with Pittsburgh and new coach Kevin Stallings
English Big Would Be Fit For Friars
Providence offered Juco big man Kavell Bigby-Williams recently, per VerbalCommits.com. Bigby-Williams is a native of England and has been playing at Gillette College in Wyoming the last two seasons. As a freshman, he averaged 10.1 points/game and 9.7 rebounds/game while starting 26 of the team’s 32 games. As a sophomore, Bigby-Williams has improved on those numbers while starting all 36 of Gillette’s games. He averaged 16.8 points/game and grabbed 13.6 rebounds/game, while blocking 5.9 shots/game. He only had two games all season with less than 10 rebounds and he got 9 in each of those outings. He also had four games with 20 or more rebounds. He had five games with 10 or more blocks and led NJCAA Division I players with 211 blocks on the season.
Bigby-Williams was committed to Montana State coming from England, but he failed to qualify academically. He also has international experience with the English U18 and U20 teams. Last summer, Bigby-Williams averaged 11.7 points/game, 10.1 rebounds/game and 1.7 blocks/game for England’s U20 team at the FIBA U20 European Championship in Italy.
The scuttlebutt on Bigby-Williams’ recruitment is that Oregon leads for the services of this 6’10 rebounding and blocked shot machine. Other schools reportedly involved are Arizona State, Colorado, San Diego State and Texas. Bigby-Williams appears to be exactly what Ed Cooley ordered. He could come in right away to clean the glass and protect the rim. The Friars appear to be fighting an uphill battle to land the English big, but that hasn’t stopped Cooley and his staff before.
It’s clear that Providence needs to upgrade the talent on the roster for 2016-17 and beyond. Ben Bentil is expected to be back next season after not hiring an agent while he explores the NBA Draft process. The Providence staff is casting a wide net to enhance the roster by targeting seniors in the class of 2016, Juco players and even transfers, both immediately eligible and those that have to sit a year.
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