Ed Cooley’s recruiting strategy isn’t complicated. Each recruiting cycle he and his staff hone in on a player or two that they really, really want and they recruit that player or two hard. The early returns for Cooley were very promising with Kris Dunn and Ricky Ledo committing to Providence in the Class of 2012 and Brandon Austin committing to Providence in the Class of 2013. The Classes of 2014, 2015 and 2016 had some hiccups in Cooley’s strategy as Providence lost out on top targets Abdul Malik-Abu (NC State), Donovan Mitchell (Louisville) and Wenyen Gabriel (Kentucky), respectively. With Virginia center Dajour Dickens already committed to Cooley and the Friars in 2017, the focus has turned to power forward Nate Watson. Watson, who reportedly has a 7’2 wingspan, chopped his list down to a final seven on Tuesday and the Friars made the cut. Watson’s final seven is Kansas, Maryland, Miami, NC State, North Carolina, Providence and Wake Forest. Watson took an unofficial visit to Maryland in June.
Whether Watson commits to Cooley like Dunn or goes to a higher level like Gabriel will play itself out of time, but for now the Friars are in the mix for Watson’s service. The 6’9 Watson ran with DC Premier on the Under Armour Association circuit this Spring and Summer and averaged 14.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg and 1.2 bpg while shooting 62.5% from the field during the 12 games he played in the three sessions of the UAA. The competition is certainly fierce for Cooley, but that hasn’t stopped him before. Look for Watson to set up some visits in August and September.