Pair of Frontcourt Transfer Recruits to Visit Providence This Weekend

Providence continues to recruit for next season and will be hosting a duo of big men on campus this weekend. Jon Rothstein reported that Wake Forest graduate transfer Andre Washington and junior college forward Emmitt Holt will visit the Providence campus over the weekend. Last week, 2016 big man Kalif Young‘s coach reported that the Canadian would take an official visit to Providence this weekend. Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal tweeted out on Wednesday that Young isn’t expected to campus until May. The Friars also got a visit from 2016 wing guard Alpha Diallo last weekend as well as Michigan State transfer Marvin Clark. Clark would have to sit out next season but then would have two years of eligibility remaining. Akil Douglas, another junior college forward, visited Providence on March 29th.

Cooley is on record as saying he’s recruiting as if Ben Bentil won’t be back, which is smart because if Bentil does elect to stay in the 2016 NBA Draft — I personally think he’ll be back in a Friar uniform next season — Providence would be even more shorthanded in the frontcourt than they already are at the moment. Besides Bentil, the only other players that played frontcourt minutes last season are Rodney Bullock, Jalen Lindsey, Quadree Smith and walk-on Tom Planek. Bullock and Lindsey are undersized at the 4 spot, Smith is oversized in the waistline while lacking ideal height for the 5 spot and Planek is a walk-on and maybe measures at 6’6.

Washington would provide a stop-gap for one season who could defend the rim and allow Bentil to slide over the 4 spot where he is more likely to play at the next level. It would also allow Cooley to bring in a big that wouldn’t interfere with committed — but unsigned — 2017 big man Dajour Dickens once he arrives on campus in the fall of 2017. Washington played 67 career games at Wake Forest where he was coached by Providence assistant Jeff Battle his first two years as a Demon Deacon. He wasn’t injured last year but opted to redshirt with the hope of improving for his final year of eligibility, which also gave him the option to graduate and transfer elsewhere to play out that final year.

Washington’s career high for minutes/game was in his sophomore season when he averaged 7.9 minutes/game and scored 2.3 points/game while grabbing 1.8 rebounds/game. His per 40 minute averages for rebounds are similar to what Carson Desrosiers averaged for his career between Providence and Wake Forest. Washington bests Desrosiers in blocks per 40 minutes — 5.5 to 4.0 — but his fouls per 40 minutes are a brutally high 7.6. I’m not a big fan of the per 40 minute stats but I think in this case it gives you some idea of Washington’s strengths and weaknesses since he never played heavy minutes.

Holt’s path has been rockier than Washington’s. Holt began his career at Indiana where he played 29 games during the 2014-15 season. He averaged 3.6 points/game, 3.0 rebounds/game in 11.4 minutes/game that freshman season for the Hoosiers. The year started off negatively off the court when Holt struck a teammate with a car. While he was not blamed for hitting Devin Davis because Davis darted out into the road in front the car, the 18 year old Holt was cited for illegal consumption due to a blood alcohol content of .025. Holt was suspended 4 games for the incident. The Indiana basketball program was in the midst of a number of the off-court issues both that 2014-15 season and then again in the summer of 2015. Holt and then freshman Thomas Bryant were cited for illegal possession of alcohol and Indiana acted swiftly and decisively when they dismissed Holt from the team because it was a second offense and they had a low tolerance for any additional off-court incidents.

Holt ended up at Indian Hills Community College in Iowa where he averaged 11.6 points/game, 6.4 rebounds/game and 1.5 blocks/game in 31 games for the Warriors. He was coached by former Providence student manager and graduate assistant Hank Plona. Holt shot 69.5% from the field and 73.1% from the free throw line. The native of Rochester, NY would be eligible immediately for the Friars and have two years of eligibility. Prior to Indiana, Holt played for Webster-Schroeder HS and ran with the Albany City Rocks in the 2013 Nike EYBL. Holt was a late addition to Indiana’s 2014 recruiting class. He didn’t actually commit until August 20, 2014 for the 2014-15 season. He was planning on taking a post-graduate year at Vermont Academy and becoming part of the class of 2015 before committing to Tom Crean. A source speaking to about Holt’s recruitment believes that Providence leads at this point.

Providence is undoubtedly looking to add frontcourt help for next season and possibly beyond. Cooley only has 1 open scholarship as of this publishing but with the way he and his staff are casting a wide net it seems likely there will be another departure or two besides Kris Dunn. Who is coming and going is all very much in the air right now, but there could be more clarity on both of those things in the coming week.

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