Providence coaches are using some of their time between games to hit the recruiting trail hard this week after playing at Georgetown on Monday night. Just on Tuesday night Providence coaches were spotted at multiple games across the country. Their next game isn’t until Saturday afternoon at #1 Villanova, so Ed Cooley and his staff took a day away from practice and film prep to see some old names that Providence fans will recognize as well as new ones that have only been on Providence’s radar for a few weeks.
Providence assistant coach Ivan Thomas was in Virginia on Tuesday night for Bishop O’Connell vs St. John’s College HS in a game that featured 2017 commit Nate Watson and 2018 recruit Xavier Johnson playing for O’Connell and 2018 recruits Tre’ Wood and Qwanzi Samuels going for SJP. Johnson holds an offer from Providence while the Friars, so far, just have interest in Wood and Samuels. O’Connell won the game, 72-61. Johnson scored 17 points on 5/10 shooting. Watson added 10 points on 4/5 shooting, plus 2/2 at the free throw line before fouling out in the 4th quarter. Wood dropped 10 points on 5/13 from the field and Samuels, who had 4 fouls on the night, was held scoreless with 1 shot attempt on the evening. Watson was recently ranked 76th in the class of 2017 by Rivals and his current 247Sports’ composite national ranking is 89th. Johnson, who is currently not ranked by 247Sports, was in attendance at Providence’s victory over Georgetown on Monday night and told makeplayz.com that he has close relationships with “NC State, Providence, Tulane and Nebraska.” On seeing Providence play on Monday night, Johnson said “I like how they run the offense, its a fast pace tempo which I like.”
(Watson wears #0 and Johnson wears #2 for Bishop O’Connell who is in the home white uniforms in the above highlight video)
Providence assistant Brian Blaney was in Maryland on Tuesday night to see 5-star 2018 guard Immanuel Quickley and his John Carroll teammate Montez Mathis. Both players are in the Class of 2018. Quickley listed Providence among his final 8 schools just before Thanksgiving. He missed 11 games this season with an ankle injury and recently listed himself “at about 90 percent right now” in a blog post for USA Today. Quickley is currently ranked 11th by 247Sports’ composite national ranking and appears on track to be a McDonald’s All-American next year. Mathis had a number of schools down to see him play lately, including UConn, Rutgers and UCF. He doesn’t currently have an offer from Providence but the Friars have been tracking him since the summer of 2015 when he was running with Team Melo on the grassroots circuit. Mathis is currently ranked 148th by 247Sports’ composite national ranking.
Cooley and assistant coach Jeff Battle were in Detroit on Tuesday night to see 2017 guard Greg Elliott. Elliott scored 27 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in East English Village’s win. Elliott told the Detroit Free Press after the game on Tuesday that “my best position is probably the two (shooting guard). I can help my point guard do more. I can play the one, but since I’ve got Dave (DeJulius) now, I can play the two. I can play anything in the backcourt.” DeJulius is committed to Michigan. So far in his senior season at East English Village, Elliott is averaging 32 points/game, 9 rebounds/game, 4 assists/game, 3 steals/game and 2 blocks/game. He has come close to hanging 50 this season twice with performances of 46 and 48 points, respectively.
Elliott told pcbb1917.com he’d been hearing from Providence for the last week or two. The Friars first began tracking him in April 2016 when he began an excellent stretch of play for The Family on the Nike EYBL circuit. Elliott had averaged 9.0 points/game, 4.3 rebounds/game and 2.5 assists/game through that 6 game stretch of Sessions I and II of the 2016 EYBL regular season. He followed that up by jumping his scoring average to 11.6 points/game over the next two sessions to finish with a regular season average of 10.5 points/game in The Family’s 15 games. Elliott’s recruitment has heated up as of late with Marquette and Providence both having offered, per his high school coach. He also has interest from Michigan State. Steve Wojciechowski was also in attendance on Tuesday night and Elliott said he has plans to visit Marquette at the end of February.
Elliott has grown from 6’0 to 6’4 in the last year and a half also has offers from DePaul, Detroit, Duquesne, Eastern Michigan, George Mason, Milwaukee, Rice, Temple, Toledo and Valparaiso.
Keeping tabs on where Cooley and his staff are on the recruiting trail is certainly an interesting peak into who Providence is emphasizing and who they are chasing, but an even more interesting thing may have happened on Wednesday night with Cooley sitting next to John Rooke in Cranston. During a question by Rooke about how hard it is to coach against friends on the opposing bench Cooley’s reply sent Friartown into a frenzy: “Honestly I didn’t hear what you just said because a kid just texted me ‘what if I commit to you’ and it just took me totally by surprise.” There were plenty of message board posts, tweets and group texts sent out after that to try and find out who the texting recruit might be. As of this posting it appears a commitment was not made.
Follow me on Twitter @pcbb1917