Friar Basketball

Nate Watson Commits to Providence


After offering Nate Watson a scholarship in February, Ed Cooley and his staff locked in on the power forward out of Virginia, tracking him tirelessly throughout the spring and summer.

On Saturday their efforts were rewarded.

Watson committed to Providence earlier tonight, capping a ferocious rise up the recruiting rankings — one that saw him go from an under the radar prospect to one of the fastest rising big men in the country.

Watson’s recruitment seemed like an all too familiar story for Friar fans. Cooley and his staff have consistently identified high-end talent before the rest of the country (see: Wenyen Gabriel, Abdul Malik-Abu, Donovan Mitchell), and by April Watson received a scholarship offer from Kansas and got a visit at his high school from North Carolina in May.

PC was undeterred.

While Carolina and Kansas were among Watson’s final list of seven in August, it soon became apparent that the stiffest competition would come from North Carolina State (where Abu ended up) and nearby Maryland.

Watson visited NC State in August, and was scheduled to see both Maryland and Miami in October, but his recruitment never got that far.

What does this mean for the Providence?

For one thing, it means ACC schools could soon tire of the Friars dipping into their fertile recruiting ground. PC locked down 2017 6’11 Virginia center Dajour Dickens last season. Dickens could reach seven feet by the time he steps foot on campus, and with length, athleticism and coordination his upside is tremendous.

Providence also won’t be caught shorthanded on the interior anytime soon. With the additions of Emmitt Holt (a transfer who began his career at Indiana) and Kalif Young (a 6’9, 250 pound big man out of Canada) to this year’s roster, with Watson and Dickens set to arrive next year, the Friars should be well stocked upfront.

In Watson the Friars are getting just the type of player Providence fans love. He’s grown from 6’4 to 6’9, 250 pounds in the past two years, and while he isn’t known as an explosive athlete, all reports are that Watson is a tireless worker and rebounder.

This commitment also serves as a pick-me-up for recruiting junkies who may have been stung by last week’s commitment of top 40 point guard Makai Ashton-Langford to Connecticut. PC was in Ashton-Langford’s final two, but he ultimately chose the Huskies in what he deemed a “50/50 decision.”

Watson isn’t rated in any services’ top 40 (although has him #62), he was the player the coaching staff identified as their top target this summer. Ashton-Langford’s enormous talent made him a target, but the Friars should return a pair of point guards next season in Kyron Cartwright and Maliek White.

The frontcourt needed help, and PC got it in a big way on Saturday night.


Twitter: Kevin_Farrahar


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    September 11, 2016 at 2:48 am

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