Providence kicked off their 2018 recruiting with a bang on Sunday when top-50 AJ Reeves gave his commitment to Ed Cooley ahead of Providence’s annual Elite Camp. Reeves’ commitment makes it two consecutive Providence commits from the Mass Rivals grassroots program, a pipeline that Cooley and the Friars are hoping to tap further in 2018 with David Duke. Reeves had cut his list to a final four on May 31st with the Friars being joined by Louisville, Villanova and Virginia.
Brimmer and May and Mass Rivals 2018 guard AJ Reeves has cut his list to four schools on Wednesday. Reeves’ list consists of Louisville, Providence, Villanova and Virginia. He has long been one of the most highly ranked players in New England and Reeves is ranked 3rd in the current New England Class of 2018 rankings by NewEnglandRecruitingReport.com. 247Sports’ composite national ranking for Reeves is currently 73rd with his highest ranking of the major services being 54th by Rivals.com.
I'm grateful to all the schools that have recruited me but I have narrowed it down to my final 4. I'm truly blessed to be in this position. pic.twitter.com/9HU4zxn16g
— Ted Mosby,Architect (@ajreeves11) June 1, 2017
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Ed Cooley and Providence got great news on April 10th when Makai Ashton-Langford called the Friar head coach from his dorm room at Brewster Academy to commit after getting his release from UConn nearly two weeks prior. Ashton-Langford cannot sign a second National Letter of Intent because NLI rules prohibit an athlete from signing more than one per calendar year. Instead, Ashton-Langford signed a grant-in-aid package with Providence. Brewster Academy head coach Jason Smith tweeted that Ashton-Langford signed his scholarship paperwork on Wednesday making his commitment to Providence official.
Providence lost out on Makai Ashton-Langford the first go-round when the Worcester native committed to UConn and Kevin Ollie in September. This time Ed Cooley closed the deal and got a commitment from Ashton-Langford shortly after he was on campus for an official visit. Cooley built up a great relationship with both the player and the parents when chasing the Mass Rivals point guard the last several years and it appears that relationship was the key to Providence securing the services of the top-35 player. Ashton-Langford took an official visit starting April 7th after Cooley went up to Brewster Academy to meet with him on the first day coaches could be back on the road recruiting after the Final Four dead period.
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.
Multiple sources have informed pcbb1917.com that 2017 point guard Makai Ashton-Langford has moved up his visit to Providence — originally scheduled for September 17th — to Wednesday, August 31st. He is expected on campus as early as 1pm. This comes on the heels of Ashton-Langford moving up his visit to UConn from September 10th to September 3rd. The September 3rd visit was originally supposed to be taken to Louisville but the Cardinals got a pledge from another point guard in the class of 2017 and were removed from consideration by the Worcester native.
UPDATE 1:43pm, 8/31: I was told today’s visit is not an official visit for Ashton-Langford.
The search for size has dominated much of this recruiting cycle for Providence as they have tried to replace the transfer of Paschal Chukwu and the decision by Ben Bentil to stay in the 2016 NBA Draft. Ed Cooley grabbing a commitment from Canadian big man Kalif Young to finish off the Class of 2016 helped and Cooley also has Virginia 7-footer Dajour Dickens committed in the Class of 2017. Big men are certainly a focus, but Cooley has also kept a keen eye or two on Makai Ashton-Langford along the way. Cooley and his staff have attended plenty of Cushing Academy and Mass Rivals games over the last couple years and the lead guard has noticed. It isn’t news that Ashton-Langford has preferred three particular schools throughout this process but on Sunday his Mass Rivals coach, Vin Pastore, confirmed that all three of those schools will get official visits from him in September, as reported by Evan Daniels of Scout.com.