With the news that Rodney Bullock is withdrawing from the NBA Draft process and returning to Providence for this senior season it appears the Friars will return a deep and talented group for the 2017-18 season. The Friars also landed a spring commitment from a Brewster Academy player for the second straight offseason.
Let’s take a look at how April went for Providence.
2017 6’1 PG Makai Ashton-Langford (Brewster Academy/Mass Rivals)
Providence bolstered their 2017 recruiting class when they landed former UConn commit Makai Ashton-Langford. The Friars were in the final two for the top-40 point guard the fist time around. He initially chose UConn in September but got his release from the Huskies after Glen Miller — the assistant that recruited him — was fired by Kevin Ollie in late March. Ashton-Langford took an official visit to Providence April 8th and committed on April 10th. Ed Cooley’s latest recruiting class is now ranked 16th in the country and 2nd in the Big East by 247Sports.com.
2018 6’7 PF Darius Days (The Rock School/Florida Vipers)
Providence just extended an offer to Days on Sunday after watching him play with the Florida Vipers on the Under Armour Association circuit in Indianapolis over the weekend. Days has previous interest from Providence going back to September 2016 but Cooley finally pulled the trigger and offered. Days is ranked 67th in the Class of 2018 by the 247Sports’ composite national ranking and holds other offers from Cincinnati, Memphis, Oklahoma, Rutgers Texas A&M, Southern Cal, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.
2018 6’7 SF Kris Monroe (St. David’s School/Team Wall)
Monroe’s grassroots team, Team Wall, announced an offer from Providence on April 24th. Monroe had previously tweeted about Providence offering him back in July of 2016. So is this a new offer? I’m not sure. What I know is that Monroe scored 71 points over Team Wall’s first 4 games at the Pittsburgh Jam Fest over the weekend and Providence assistant Jeff Battle is the lead recruiter.
2019 6’8 PF Akok Akok (Putnam Science Academy/Mass Rivals)
Providence has been hounding players from the Mass Rivals grassroots program run by Vin Pastore for the last several years. The Friars were able to break through with the commitment of Ashton-Langford but have missed out on other targets like Wenyen Gabriel and Jalen Adams. A 2019 player running with the 17U team that Providence is recruiting 2018 studs David Duke and AJ Reeves from is Akok Akok. The Friars offered him after the first live recruiting period of April. He has been dubbed as one of the breakout players
2019 7’0 C Balsa Koprivica (University School/Nike Team Florida)
Providence tossed out this offer on April 25th after seeing the big Serbian play on the Nike EYBL circuit in Hampton, VA. He’s currently ranked 4th in the Class of 2019 by 247Sports’ composite national ranking. Koprivica has a 7’3 wingspan and has dropped 20 pounds since January to become a more mobile big. He isn’t a recruiting assistant but it might help Providence’s case that they have Nikola Knezevic on their coaching staff. Knezevic is a former graduate assistant who is currently the Associate Director of Player Development at Providence. He’s a native of Belgrade, Serbia and played at Cal.
Cooley has been working hard on 2018 local prospects David Duke, AJ Reeves and Cole Swider. The Friartown bus was seen parked outside the Swider residence for a couple hours on a Friday last month and Reeves was on the Providence campus for an unofficial visit recently. Friar assistant coach Brian Blaney has been glued to every Mass Rivals game on the adidas. Providence assistants Jeff Battle and Ivan Thomas also conducted an in-home visit with 2018 Noah Locke right before the first live period of April.
What’s the story?
Providence is still on the hunt for a transfer to add to next season’s roster but they used the two April live periods to dig into 2018 recruits that they want to add for 2018-19 and begin to form deeper relationships with 2019 players who will be down the pipeline a bit. Coaches can't have direct contact 2019 recruits until June 15th, but the groundwork is being laid now so that the contact can be made and the coaching staff can hit the ground running.