Rivals expanded and updated their class of 2019 recruit rankings on Thursday with with mere hours to go until the start of the first April live period. The recruiting service bumped the rising junior class rankings from a Top 75 to a Top 100 and there proved to be little change in terms of where Providence’s recruits were ranked. A few new names were added to the mix with the additional 25 ranked spots and Providence has already cast a net over some very talented players who will be evaluated more closely in the upcoming months on the various grassroots circuits beginning on Friday.
Late Night Madness festivities have become much less about the official beginning of the college basketball season, which is how the tradition began in 1971 at Maryland. These gaudy events are now much more heavily geared towards impressing recruits and the Friars will do their best to make a splash with the top 2018 target in the state of Rhode Island on Saturday night. Cole Swider, the 6’8 sharp-shooter from Portsmouth, will be in attendance and is currently ranked as the #1 recruit in Rhode Island by ESPN. Swider has a 247Sports Composite National Ranking of 70th in the class of 2018. The Friars offered the St. Andrew’s wing back in June, though they’ve been tracking him for much longer. Swider has also been familiar with the in-state Friars much longer than just a few months ago. He attended Providence’s Elite Camp the last two years and was in attendance for Bill Raftery and Ludacris at the 2015 Late Night Madness on Providence’s campus. This year, Providence is bringing in Shaquille O’Neal a.k.a. DJ Diesel to perform around 9pm and Providence Hall of Famer Doris Burke of ESPN will be the emcee for the evening. Doors to Mullaney Gym open at 6:45pm Saturday night.
Ed Cooley is not scared of a little competition. And to be clear, going toe-to-toe with schools like Kansas, Louisville, Maryland, NC State and others of that ilk isn’t the kind of thing that would normally be classified as “little competition”. Cooley has been fearless when taking on larger and more established programs when he and his staff identify a recruit they really want. If you’re a fan of a program not named Duke or Kentucky, then you’re probably used to losing recruiting battles, especially when schools like Duke and Kentucky get involved. Cooley doesn’t care. He’s going to keep his head down and keep building a relationship with the player, the player’s parents, coaches, handlers, siblings, grandparents, dog walker, etc.
Providence will host their annual Elite Camp on Sunday and there are sure to be some talented players from the New England area in attendance. Mass Rivals is expected to have a big contingent. I attended Providence’s Elite Camp last summer and, as I wrote after last year, I found the value of the camp to be more about relationship development between the Providence coaching staff and potential recruits than player evaluation.