Friar Basketball

Providence Hosts Elite Camp


It was a busy weekend in Friartown with a number of Providence basketball alumni back in town for events hosted by the Providence Fullcourt Boardroom, while on campus Ed Cooley and his staff ran an elite camp on Saturday afternoon.

The camp featured an array of high major talent, mostly from the classes of 2014 and ’15, with the standout being Elmsford, NY guard Donovan Mitchell.  I was told by an AAU coach prior to the event that Mitchell would be a standout, and the class of 2015 guard did not disappoint.  In fact, he more than impressive.

Mitchell, who I was told is headed to the Canterbury School in Connecticut next year, is a well built, powerful driver who was the clear top player in a deep field on Saturday.  A terrific athlete, with a good handle and instincts, the 6’3 Mitchell certainly looked like he has the potential to be one of the top guards in the class of 2015, and towards the end of the camp the staff’s interest in him was more than apparent.  Mitchell, a product of The City Hoops AAU program, is potential star if he continues to develop and looks like he could be a top target for the Friars going forward.  There is little on him available now, but that should change soon.

The City is a relatively new, but very intriguing program, noting that they “push each player to their maximum potential today, so they can be leaders in our world tomorrow” on their website.  Certainly a refreshing take.

Two other names to keep an eye on from The City are 6’8 sophomore Branden Aughburns and 6’2 Michael Williams.  Aughburns, in particular, is a coordinated, big bodied young kid who has a high ceiling.  Assertiveness will be the next step for Aughburns.

New England was also well represented, with 6’9 2015 power forward Jeremy Miller (New Hampton/Mass Rivals) flashing the deep jumper that has gotten him attention from several coaches across the country.  Providence offered Miller a scholarship last season when New Hampton visited Jakarr Sampson and Brewster Academy.  How high his stock climbs may depend upon what type of interior presence he develops into over the upcoming seasons on both sides of the ball.  He spent a lot of time on the perimeter at New Hampton a season ago and seems most comfortable beyond the three point line, while his inside game is a bit raw at this point.

Fairfield Prep’s Paschal Chukwu is a seven footer who has seen his stock rise after a solid spring and summer on the AAU circuit.  He’s been listed at anywhere from 7 feet to 7’2 and noted in early July that Providence and Miami were the two schools giving him most attention.  He’s still relatively new to the game, so his hands, positioning and skill-set are in the early stages, but he gets off of his feet quickly and had a few monster blocks in five on five play.  Both he and Mitchell played for Cooley’s team in five-on-five games and Cooley was ecstatic when Chukwu loudly sent back a dunk attempt at the rim in what might have been the defensive play of the day.

6’10 class of 2015 product Josh Sharma (Lexington, MA), who already holds an offer from Providence, flashed a nice face-up game in drills, plus a willingness to do some dirty work inside.  The next step in his progression will be to play with more assertiveness.  Like Miller, he’s another Mass Rivals product – a program that seemingly churns out sharp-shooting face-up bigs.  He plays for a very good coach in Northfield Mount-Hermon’s John Carroll during the prep season.

Fresh off of a 22 point, 15 rebound effort in the 10th grade national championship in late-July, St. Andrew’s product Bonzi Colson (BABC) showed a refined interior post game.  With so many big men floating to the perimeter in today’s game a player like Colson, who knows how to create space and can score on on a variety of different angled shots, is a commodity.  How much he grows may impact just how high of a level he plays at, but as Georges Niang, who proceeded him at BABC, proved, undersized power forwards with a knack of scoring inside can find their way into high major programs.  Really nice touch inside.

It was hard not to be impressed by the skill-set of another BABC youngster in Terrance Mann.  Mann, a 2015 prospect who will head to Tilton next season, is a long scorer who plays the game with poise and maturity.  He finished some of the more difficult drives of the day through traffic.  He’s a high upside youngster.  Reminds you somewhat of Malik Sealy.

Additional notes:

  • Great to see God Shammgod back at Providence, working as a coach at the camp.  He has been a huge advocate of Cooley over the past year, going out of his way to praise the Friar head coach at the celebration for the 1997 Elite Eight team when given the microphone.
  • Ricardo Ledo and Tyler Harris were both in attendance.  Harris kept busy demonstrating drills throughout.  Providence fans may be surprised with just how skilled Harris is.
  • Bob Simon kicked off the event, eventually introducing Ed Cooley who was his usual high-energy self throughout.  Cooley spoke of winning Big East championships at Providence and praised the staff the kids were about to work with.  The longer he gets to know kids, the better chance of them ending up in black and white.


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