Friar Basketball

Here and There in Friartown


News, notes, and opinions on Friar basketball (and other topics) while waiting for the beginning of the first live recruiting period of the spring. 

  • Don’t look now, but there may be more raw talent on the 2018-19 Friars than at any time since the Pete Gillen era. David Duke, A. J. Reeves, and Makai Ashton-Langford were all consensus top 50 players nationally. Alpha Diallo was considered a top 100 type, while Nate Watson was on most top 100 lists. Drew Edwards and Maliek White were four star prospects on certain publications. Outside of Villanova, Providence could have as much talent as anyone in the Big East next season.
  • If the Friars can put together another highly-rated recruiting class for 2019 they will be at or near the top of the Big East for the next few years. Has the program ever been in a better long-term place?
  • Sooner rather than later some of these heralded freshmen are going to start as freshmen for the Friars. Not all high school players need a year of playing limited minutes in order to be Big East-ready.
  • Akok Akok and Greg Gantt. These seem to be the two names everyone is talking about in the 2019 class — much like last year when it was Duke and Reeves. If PC picks up one of the two it will be an excellent recruiting class, if they pick them both up watch out. The Friars may be fielding a top 10 team in the country in the not too distant future.
  • Speaking of the class of 2019, the first live recruiting period in April starts this Friday at 6:00 pm. You can bet the Friars will be watching Gantt and Akok very closely. The real question is who else is the staff watching? Follow where the coaches are and you will get a sense of their recruiting priorities.
  • And don’t worry will keep you updated on all the comings and goings on the recruiting trail.
  • Some other names that the Friars may be following are Trey McGowens, Jalen Lecque, Aundre Hyatt, Jaiden Delaire, Josh Nickelberry, Isaiah Stewart, Wildens Leveque, Karim Coulibaly, and Kofi Cockburn among others.
  • Danny Hurly going to UConn make the Friars’ recruiting prospects in New England just a little more difficult. It would have been nice to have Kevin Ollie around for one more year.
  • It seems that more and more assistant coaches are moving around from school to school, never staying at one place too long. The Friars are fortunate in that they have a staff that is loyal to Ed Cooley and does not want to go shopping for other available assistant coach jobs.
  • Congrats to Villanova, the 2018 NCAA Champions. And remember, the only teams to beat Villanova all year were in the Big East Conference.
  • Jay Wright to the New York Knicks? I’d be totally shocked.
  • According to Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal, next year’s out of conference schedule will include Wichita State in the Veterans Classic and the possibility of playing both Michigan and South Carolina in the Mohegan Sun Hall of Fame Tip Off Tournament. In addition, McNamara is reporting that the Friars are still trying to add a home and home with a top 50 type of opponent. All in all it is shaping up to be a solid out of conference schedule.
  • I really like some of the rules changes tested in this years National Invitational Tournament. These include expanding the three point line by 20 inches, widening the lane from 12 to 16 feet, implementing four 10 minute quarters, and resetting the shot clock to 20 seconds instead of 30 after an offensive rebound. I think they all have merit and the NCAA should consider implementing them all.
  • It looks like the idea of transfers being immediately eligible is picking up steam. The most recent proposal would have players that have maintained a 3.0 average being immediately eligible to play after transferring. This could cause problems, as at some schools maintaining a high GPA is a lot easier than at others. I also worry that it would cause a free agency type of scramble for players after each season. One area where it might help is with 5 star players who are playing at blue blood schools who may be forced to declare for the draft after their freshman year. Under the new rule they would have the choice of transferring and being immediately eligible.
  • Once every four years the NCAA allows schools to do an overseas tour against competition from a another country. Cooley will be taking the Friars to Italy this summer and it couldn’t come at a better time, as it will give the coaching staff an early chance to integrate the young players into the Friar system.


  1. FriarMike

    April 20, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    I disagree on Hurley making UConn a factor. What will he be able to do that KO wasn’t? Hurley’s is a fine coach, but coaching wasn’t the problem in Storrs – it’s their Conference.

  2. David

    April 23, 2018 at 10:31 pm

    Ummmmm… If coaching wasn’t UConn’s problem, then why didn’t they make the NCAA tournament?

  3. David

    April 23, 2018 at 10:35 pm

    And upon re-reading your comment, I think you may have been referring to making UConn a factor in recruiting (my mistake). And to Craig’s point, for some weird reason Ollie didn’t recruit kids in New England very hard. Which I’m sure Hurley will deviate from giving Cooley more competition for recruits in his backyard.

  4. FriarMike

    May 1, 2018 at 5:33 pm

    Yes – I was referring to UCOnn’s seeming inability recently to recruit (or retain) the level of talent they had during the decades where they were arguably elite. I’m not sure I see DH making a compelling case for recruits to sign with him that KO wasn’t able to. I don’t think kids are pumped to play in a fledgling conference with low national awareness and increasingly apathetic fan support.

    I wish UConn nothing but bad things in life, but I don’t think changing the coach is going to do anything for the program in the long run. KO wasn’t the problem, and injecting a couple years of instability will just set them further back.

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