Providence Elite Camp: "Friar 5" coming?

Providence, RI – Saturday marked the 2nd annual Providence College Elite Camp held on the PC campus. There were over 50 players, many of which have been evaluated as high major prospects, at the camp along with almost every AAU coach in New England as well as many parents and spectators.

The Elite Camp has become a great recruiting tool to lure prospects onto the Providence campus as well as allow for the coaching staff to evaluate potential recruits and how they may fit into the Providence system. The buzz around Friartown in August right now is something special.

The four remaining primary PC 2014 recruits, Abdul Malik-Abu (Boston, MA), Kaleb Joseph (Nashua, NH), Jared Terrell (Weymouth, MA), and Paschal Chukwu (Fairfield, CT), were the center of attention at the camp. When the camp started, these four players, along with Ed Cooley were nowhere to be found. It turns out that the four recruits were in Coach Cooley's office talking together for a significant amount of time.

Their meeting ended with a phone call from former Michigan and NBA star Chris Webber, who gave some insight to the players about his experience with the "Fab Five" at Michigan. Why Chris Webber? Well, coordinator of basketball operations Mike Jackson's relationship with members of the "Fab Five" from his days in Michigan is the connection. The "Friar Five," which would be rounded out by forward Jalen Lindsey, who has already committed to the Friars, would give PC the best recruiting class in the Big East and potentially one of the best recruiting classes in the nation.

Assistant coach Bob Simon orchestrated much of the camp along with other members of the Providence staff and they did a phenomenal job. The camp started off with Strength and Conditioning Coach Ken White leading the players through warm-ups, conducting stretching and floor exercises in the Peterson Center. The players were then broken down into three groups, divided primarily into guards and big men. Ed Cooley, Bob Simon, and Andre LaFleur were the main coaches on each court. Some other notable players at the camp included Donovan Mitchell (2015), Jeremy Miller (2015), Josh Sharma (2015), Ian Sistare (2016), and Tomas Murphy (2017).

After the fundamental drills were complete, the players were ready to play pick-up basketball. Ed Cooley and Andre LaFleur then brought a group of players up to Alumni Hall to play, while the remainder of the players remained downstairs. Ed Cooley made a statement by who was on his team, which consisted of Joseph, Terrell, Abu, Chukwu, and Mitchell. While the 2014 targets all played well, Donovan Mitchell certainly looked like he belonged. Mitchell enjoyed his time at Providence and decided to stick around for the charity game featuring Magic Johnson on Sunday. The chemistry and charisma amongst the team was remarkable, as they appeared to enjoy playing together and complemented each other well.

Here's are some predictions for the 2014 four primary targets and their chances of suiting up for the Friars:

Kaleb Joseph – The talented point guard showed off his great athleticism and work ethic yesterday. Joseph had a sweet stroke on display in the gym yesterday along with a great feel for the game. Joseph has great quickness, but plays under control on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, which allows him to finish through contact and attack defenders off the dribble. Joseph appeared to be having a great time playing alongside Abu and Terrell. Kaleb Joseph is down to West Virginia, Syracuse, and PC. He has yet to schedule a visit to Syracuse, but has scheduled a visit to West Virginia on September 27th. While many in the national media believe Syracuse leads for Joseph, a source close to Joseph said yesterday, "I think Kaleb will commit to PC really soon." Joseph to Providence: 75%

Paschal Chukwu – As one of the most underrated centers in the class of 2014, 7'2 Chukwu is a dominant physical presence. With his wrist wrapped due to a recent injury, it didn't seem like Chukwu was going to participate much in the camp after skipping some drills with the big men. However, when Cooley told him to go upstairs and play on his team in the scrimmage, Chukwu put on a show. Paschal showed some great offensive post moves, dominating the other team with his size. Chukwu, who is thin physically, uses his length and height to his advantage. Chukwu was a force on the defensive end, altering many shots that came his way. It's been rumored that Providence has always been a favorite for the big man, and it's very possible that Paschal will suit up in black and white next year. Chukwu to Providence: 95%

Jared Terrell – Jared is a very powerful and athletic guard who gets to the rim with ease. He showed his aggressive style of play yesterday, with a handful of fast-break dunks and fast paced offense. Jared's shot still needs some improvement, but there is no doubt he will be a great guard as he has tremendous potential. Terrell could be compared to another version of former Providence guard Weyinmi Efejuku. It has been rumored Terrell has fallen in love with URI, as he has a great relationship with Preston Murphy and Danny Hurley. (It didn't help Terrell wore baby blue shorts to the camp yesterday!) Terrell has scheduled another visit to Rhode Island once school is back in session, but has yet to schedule visits to the other two schools in his final four, Oklahoma State and Cincinnati. A source close to Terrell said yesterday, "Jared is probably the person I'm least optimistic about out of the group about committing to PC. I just don't know with him at this point." Terrell to Providence: 40%

Abdul Malik-Abu – Abu has a motor on the court that is unmatched. He hustled for every ball and tracked down his man on every possession. He showed off his athleticism with many power dunks, shooting the outside shot, and working in the paint. Watching Abu and Chukwu play together in the frontcourt was remarkable. They both showed a defensive presence that would dominate in Ed Cooley's defense in the Big East. Abu was having a great time all day joking and talking to Ed Cooley, demonstrating the strength of the relationship the two have built over the past few years. It's been no secret that Abu has been Cooley's primary target for the past two years. As he has narrowed his list down to UConn, Florida, NC State, and Providence, Abu will unofficially visit NC State on Sunday, UConn on Wednesday, and Florida next Sunday. It has been rumored that Abu and Terrell will announce their decision together in early September. Abu to Providence: 85%

Watching Abu, Terrell, Chukwu, and Joseph play under Cooley's coaching was something special. Cooley directed the offense and showed how good they can all be while together on the court at the same time. Having any sort of combination of these players along with Jalen Lindsey would be the makings of a tournament team capable of making a run year after year. A few months ago many people would have been pleased with landing just one of these prospects, but now Friar fans have high expectations for all of them. Friartown is anxiously waiting for the next recruit to commit to Ed Cooley.,, and Friartown could be very happy, very soon.

The extravagant weekend ended with the charity basketball game on Sunday at Alumni Hall. At one point during the day, Magic Johnson took the microphone and said, "Ed Cooley is one of the greatest coaches in America."

With contributions by Ryan Bousquet

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