Recruiting New England for 2015

Recruiting New England for 2015

As the live period in recruiting begins in July, and Providence coaches crisscross the country to take in prospects, both known and unknown at this point, it's important to remember that in recruiting, things can turn on a dime.

For it's Class of 2015, it's likely that Providence will have to look outside of the New England region to fill its class. That's not unusual. The Friars have always recruited far and wide and have done more of that under Ed Cooley and his staff. Already, PC has a verbal commitment from 6'9 forward Ryan Fazekas, out of Indiana and PC raided Tennessee for wing Jalen Lindsey and California for point guard Kyron Cartwright last year.

What is surprising is that, at this time a year ago, New England appeared to be loaded with prime high major talent, and the general consensus was that PC, from sheer proximity alone, had the potential to pull in a bumper 2015 recruiting class by landing a few of those New England blue-chippers.

Indeed, the Friars wasted no time getting involved and building relationships with the top players in New England and by the end of the summer, hosted most of them on campus at their Elite Camp. Prospects appeared outstanding as PC seemed poised to nab a few of the standouts.

On September 23, 2013, in an article titled "Recruiting the Class of 2015", I wrote the following: "The Friars recruit with a high reward/high risk strategy, as do many schools. Each year, they identify their top targets and then attempt to outwork every school for those targets. Ed Cooley becomes a fixture at every one of their AAU games over the summer and as many high school games as he can get to. PC schedules as many in-home and in-school visits as is allowed and invites those targets to campus on unofficial visits as often as possible.

And Providence makes use of its own backyard. New England, with its perennially strong prep school programs and outstanding AAU teams, is a talent-rich environment. This past year, Cooley went out of the region to nab Jalen Lindsey, but Paschal Chukwu, Abdul-Malik Abu, Jared Terrell and Kaleb Joseph all played high school/prep ball in New England and all had Cooley and staff glued to their hips throughout the summer."

In this article, I then identified the following ten New England-schooled players:
Jalen Adams
Curtis Cobb
Aaron Falzon
Tyler Lydon
Jeremy Miller
Donovan Mitchell
Jared Reuter
Josh Sharma
A.J. Turner
Jared Wilson-Frame

Cobb, Turner and Wilson-Frame were additional possibilities; the other seven were rated as solid prospects for the Friars. How things have changed in the nine months since last September.

Two of the 10 have verbally committed: Jalen Adams to Connecticut and Tyler Lydon to Syracuse. Jeremy Miller committed to Boston College and then decommitted with the coaching change. He is strongly considering Xavier, Florida, Maryland and Georgia Tech, while keeping the Eagles on his list.

Aaron Falzon is being wooed by Northwestern, Boston College and Rutgers, among others.

Jared Reuter likes Gonzaga, Indiana, Florida, Connecticut, Boston College and South Carolina. He would thrive in a half court offense.

Josh Sharma hasn't had PC on his radar for awhile. He's attracted to the large state schools with strong academic reputations and likes Wisconsin, Illinois and Northwestern, among others.

Curtis Cobb has PC on his list but likes Boston College, Rhode Island, Creighton and Connecticut, although the Huskies' interest is light.

A.J. Turner is looking at Michigan, Boston College, Iowa State, Massachusetts and Stanford, along with a couple of Ivies. He is no longer considering PC.

Jared Wilson-Frame still has PC on his list, but is hearing from Rutgers, VCU, Georgia and Connecticut.

Which leaves Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell would appear to be the last legitimate hope of the Friars landing a New England-schooled player in the Class of 2015. New York born and bred, the 6'3, 175 pound shooting guard attends Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, and has long been a primary target of Ed Cooley and Providence.

Mitchell was at PC's Elite Camp and was the lone underclassman to have played in the camp's feature scrimmage with Cooley's Class of 2014 top targets. He has visited PC many times, including just last weekend. He is certainly getting the ‘high reward/high risk' recruiting strategy from PC. But he is also blowing up and attracting the attention of a number of other high profile programs.

Among his offers and interest are schools such as Boston College, Cincinnati, Marquette, Maryland, Connecticut, St. John's, Syracuse, Florida and Kansas. In a recent interview with ScoutFriars.com, Mitchell commented that he "generally prefers big schools," an obstacle that Cooley and Co. will have to overcome. As more schools have become involved, Mitchell also indicated that he would push back his decision date.

The good news is that the Friars are involved with a deep and talented pool of recruits outside of the region and should end up with a very representative recruiting class. But, should Mitchell go elsewhere, nine months ago it would have been hard to imagine Providence without a New England recruit in its Class of 2015.

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