But as Providence shifts into the new, basketball-dedicated Big East, the Friars now know they'll have Jalen Lindsey to help them make the adjustment. Lindsey has been a national-level prospect for two years, competing against 17-under competition for the Georgia Stars in 2012 and the Southern Stampede this spring and summer.
Lindsey won't bring quite the fanfare that Ricardo Ledo did upon his matriculation to Providence, but of course the Ledo train derailed due to eligibility issues and then the NBA draft. Lindsey doesn't possess that kind of offensive pop, but he's a big-league talent himself and should boost the program's scoring and athleticism.
Jumping ability may be what fans notice first. Lindsey is a graceful one-footed leaper who finishes impressively in transition, and it was this quality that initially attracted blueblood programs such as Kentucky and North Carolina, among others. In addition to his explosiveness, he typically stays under control and absorbs contact for and-one opportunities.
Lindsey also wields a highly effective jump shot. He possesses sound mechanics and a smooth release that enable him to stroke jumpers from three-point range. Because he has scoring tools at the rim and from deep, he commands respect from defenses all over the floor.
His defensive technique needs refinement as it does for nearly every high school player, but thanks to his quickness and wingspan he should become a fine weapon on that end of the floor as well.
If you're puzzled why he's ranked no higher than No. 65, then, it's because he hasn't always matched production to talent. Most of what he does is good; he simply hasn't done it frequently enough.
But if he blows up for Providence and Ed Cooley, he wouldn't become the first player to tease more than triumph in high school before blossoming in college. He'll definitely benefit from getting stronger — he's 20-25 pounds away from his ideal collegiate weight — and in very competitive practices, his aggression and competitiveness almost definitely will amplify.
He's already had his moments. Lindsey poured in 44 points and 13 rebounds last season for Nashville (Tenn.) Christ Presbyterian in the final of the King of the Bluegrass Classic, proving that he can carry a team in a championship scenario.
He'll get a head start on higher-level practices this year, as he has transferred to loaded Huntington (W.Va.) Prep. There, he'll compete daily against fellow high-majors and face numerous stiff tests on the schedule. He's the kind of player who may require more fire from a coach aiming to maximize his potential, and whether it happens at Huntington or PC, that program will benefit immensely.
For the Friars, Lindsey's presence on the roster will help offset recent disappointment, Ledo being the most significant. Providence also will feature Kris Dunn and Brandon Austin as big-time recruits, and in the reshaped conference they appear to standing on steadier footing than several of the others.