We’re set for a huge night in Groton, MA on Friday as Abdul Malik Abu and Kimball Union will take on Kaleb Joseph, Jalen Adams and Cushing in a Class AA semifinal. Joseph and Abu are two critical Friar targets in the class of 2014, and both are highly-regarded nationally. ESPN ranks Abu 53rd in the class and Joseph 54th (fellow PC recruit Mariol Shayok is 55th). Both are being recruited by a who’s who of college basketball’s elite and landing either would be a major coup for Providence.
The 2014 class could very well be a pivotal one for Providence. 2012 was a home run with Kris Dunn, Ricky Ledo and Josh Fortune, while 2013 was a solid follow-up with a pair of rising seniors in Brandon Austin and Rodney Bullock. Austin was previously ranked in the 70s by ESPN, but over the past month was bumped to #56 overall.
Bullock bounced back well from a bit of a down junior year with a senior season in which some believed he out-played local stars Anthony Barber (a McDonald’s All American headed to NC State) and Troy Williams (#42 per ESPN, headed to Indiana).
PC could fill as many as four scholarships in 2014, and clearly Cooley is aiming high. He was once again down in Tennessee this week to visit superstar 2014 recruit Jalen Lindsey – a top 20 recruit who has had a monster year playing for former Vanderbilt star Drew Maddux at Christ Presbyterian Academy. Maddux grew up playing with former Kentucky star Ron Mercer and compared Lindsey favorably to Mercer when we spoke in the fall (Maddux had high praise for Cooley as well). He also noted that day that PC’s staff was recruiting freshman Braxton Blackwell, who caught their eye on a visit to see Lindsey. That recruitment continues.
Lindsey is an elite recruit in every sense and Providence has been down to visit him at least three times since the season started.
Another 2014 recruit to keep an eye on is Brewster’s Jared Terrell, who will take the court Friday night against Josh Sharma (2015) and Northfield Mount Hermon on Friday night in Beverly, MA at Endicott College.
Terrell is an interesting case. He exploded onto the prep scene last year with his athleticism, but was inconsistent through the year, and the feeling in some prep circles is that his game is still catching up with his athleticism. With all of the talent on Brewster, Terrell won’t be a featured offensive option in this playoff run, but he’s got a build in the mold of Paul Harris who played at Syracuse and may have a similar offensive game – a guard who’s more rugged than refined.
Finally, Rodney Bullock and Kecoughtan face a major challenge on Thursday night when they take on high-flying Henrico – a 27-2 team averaging nearly 80 points per game (games are just 32 minutes).