When the Providence Friars lost Paschal Chukwu unexpectedly to a transfer this off season, it left the Friars in a bit of a bind. Providence wasn’t prepared for the departure, and it made them both a small and thin team on the front line after being one of the biggest teams in the nation last season.
Likely Providence will have the same problem in 2016-17, and it could be worse depending on the pro status of star power forward Ben Bentil, but Ed Cooley and his staff went out and landed one of the highest upside bigs in the 2017 class on Friday in Dajour Dickens.
Dickens, who had an inconsistent spring and summer with Boo Williams, is a legit 6-foot-10, really runs the floor, has pretty good hands, and a decent touch. However Dickens is still a ways away from being an impact player.
At this point Dickens, who only weighs slightly over 200 pounds, isn’t physically ready to compete at the highest level. He shows flashes here and there with a post move or when he grabs an out of area rebound, but he can struggle to hold up against stronger players on the low block.
As he continues to get more physically mature, and has a better understanding of the game, that is when Dickens could really take off as a player. Cooley and his staff have done a good job with their players in the weight room, and there is no question that Dickens will need that.
While he isn’t quite ready physically, there is no denying what type of upside Dickens has. Quite honestly there are just a very small number of prospects in the country that have his combination of height, length, athleticism, and ability to run the floor. On top of that he is already fairly coordinated, and has some ability to score around the rim.
With that in mind, Providence decided to really go out and make Dickens a priority recruit. The Friars are looking to add one or two more bigs to their 2016 class, and likely will want another frontcourt target in 2017 as well.
Dickens is a very good start and gives Providence something to build around in future recruiting as they will need to replace Kris Dunn as well as Bentil starting as early as next season.