Friar Basketball

“20 in 60″: #16 The Talented Big Men of 2014

Abu_3

The Providence staff has emphasized that one of the major keys to landing top recruits is to establish early relationships with top local (New England) talent, and build on these relationships throughout the recruitment process.

This strategy will never be more important than in 2014, where the New England prep/high school class is shaping up to be very special, particularly with big men. The good news is that the PC staff has been working overtime to build solid relationships with just about all these players.

Below is a rundown of the 2014 big men in New England to watch for over the next two years:

Abdul Malik Abu – 6’8 PF – Expressions – Kimball Union – Abdul is emerging as one of Ed Cooley’s primary targets for the 2014 class, as there was a member of the PC staff at every Expressions game during the summer.

Abu is that rare low post player who combines great athletic ability and high motor with a powerful body. When I saw him at the Providence Jamfest he was an  absolute beast down low. Abu had a great summer and is now on everyone’s top 100 list (ESPN #47). Many schools are starting to show interest, but PC has recruited him the hardest, which has been noted several times by both Abu and the Expressions staff.

Goodluck Okonoboh –6’9 –Mass Rivals – Wilbraham & Monson – Goodluck left BABC at the beginning of the summer and played the last few summer tournaments with the Mass Rivals. He also recently transferred to Wilbraham and Monson from Tilton, reclassifying to the class of 2014.

Possessing great physical tools, I have always felt that he had been under-utilized on his prep and AAU teams. He seems to have experienced a rebirth with the Mass Rivals club and has crept back into many Top 100 lists.

Goodluck possesses great shot blocking ability. He is still very raw offensively and will need to put in a lot of work on offensive game, however, he did show some nice low post moves when I saw him  at the St. Andrew’s Christmas Tournament, so the capability is there with more hard work.

Goodluck’s recruitment with PC has been up and down . Lately, however, he has been mentioning Providence as one of the schools working the hardest to recruit him. He has been on the PC campus several times, including Midnight Madness two years ago.

Alec Brennan 6’10 –Expressions –Milton Academy – Alec is an athletic post player who possesses a very nice outside shot. Like most younger big men he needs to put on weight but has the type of frame where this should not be too difficult. After a very good summer PC recently offered.

At the college level Brennan projects as  a face up 4. Other high majors are starting to take notice of him and he was offered by Kansas State next week.

Pascal Chukwu –7’1 –CBC –Fairfield Prep –Pascal recently stated that he has yet to receive any offers from colleges. Fans of other teams should just move along, nothing to see here! All kidding aside, Pascal has great athletic ability and motor for someone his size. Did I mention that he is at least 7’1?

Pascal is still learning the game and is very raw, but great potential is obviously there. It is going to be interesting to see how soon the high major teams jump on him.

At the PC Elite Camp a couple of weeks ago Pascal was on Ed Cooley’s team and I took note that Ed spent a great deal of time with him. I would not be surprised if he walked away with his first offer after the camp was over.

Matt Cimino –6’10 -Mass Rivals –Worcester Academy –Matt has great range on his outside shot for a player his size, to go along with a lot of innate basketball skills. When I saw him at the Providence Jamfest he put on a 3 point shooting clinic. He needs to improve physically and add muscle to his frame, but he is young so there is plenty of time to do so. Definitely a player to watch, Matt has recently made some Top 100 lists.

Jaquil Taylor –6’8 –Prodigy –Beaver Country Day –I love Jaquil’s athletic ability and motor. He’s already a great shot blocker with some nice low post moves, particularly a  lefty jump hook. I believe Jaquil is very underrated and hope that the PC staff is all over him.

Putting on some extra pounds will be a priority for Jaquil when he goes to battle under the boards at the next level.

There you have it. Six big men in the Class of 2014 for PC fans to keep an eye on. And this does not even include the two studs of the 2014 class in New England: Noah Vonleh and Chris McCullough. I did not include Noah because I don’t consider him really as a “big man” but more of a three, and I did not include Chris because PC was not included on his latest list of schools.

Don’t be surprised if more than one of these players winds up as part of PC’s 2014 recruiting class.

 
Email Craig at craig.leighton@friarbasketball.com

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