As Ed Cooley has proven, both with Kris Dunn and now with Paschal Chukwu, getting in early with recruiting prospects and building close relationships with those players and their families and coaches, will sometimes pay huge dividends.
The Friars recruit with a high reward/high risk strategy, as do many schools. Each year, they identify their top targets and then attempt to outwork every school for those targets. Ed Cooley becomes a fixture at every one of their AAU games over the summer and as many high school games as he can get to. PC schedules as many in-home and in-school visits as is allowed and invites those targets to campus on unofficial visits as often as possible.
And Providence makes use of its own backyard. New England, with its perennially strong prep school programs and outstanding AAU teams, is a talent-rich environment. This past year, Cooley went out of the region to nab Jalen Lindsey, but Chukwu, Abdul-Malik Abu, Jared Terrell and Kaleb Joseph all played high school ball in New England and all had Cooley and staff glued to their hips throughout the summer.
With all of that in mind, you can be sure that Cooley and Company have targeted specific New England prospects in the Class of 2015, along with other, out of the area players. And we've already seen clues as to who these players are. Because proximity works in the staff's favor in shadowing targets, let's take a closer look at New England's Special Seven, in alphabetical order.
Cushing Academy, MA, PG, 6-0, 160, AAU: Mass Rivals, Scout #18 PG, ESPN #18 PG, Rivals #41 overall
Adams is a slight point guard with skills. A very athletic, long player, Adams can get to the rim using the dribble, can catch lobs, and can also hit a few jumpers. A true scorer, he also does a decent job when asked to run the point. Will need to get stronger. Played well at PC's Elite Camp and showed glimpses of his talent. PC's competition for the four-star point is Boston College, Butler, Connecticut, Creighton, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Kansas State, Minnesota and Rhode Island.
St. Mark's, MA, PF, 6-7, 210, AAU: Scout NR, ESPN #39 PF, Rivals #81 overall
Falzon is garnering high major attention for himself as he develops more of an inside-outside game. Always blessed with a smooth stroke, Aaron can get hot and rain threes on a team, but needs to work on his post play. Not a true banger at this point, Falzon will bear watching over the next year. The three-star forward is being pursued by Boston College, Connecticut, Duke, Maryland, Georgia, Massachusetts, Ohio State, Rutgers, Stanford and UCLA.
New Hampton School, NH, PF, 6-8, 185, AAU: Albany City Rocks, Scout #19 PF, ESPN 25 PF, Rivals #77 overall
Lydon is a true four but can play anywhere from the three to the five. Like others, he'll need to gain strength to bang inside, but he can run the floor well and can really shoot from deep. Finishes well at the basket with good bounce. The four-star forward is a good student and is considering Boston College, Clemson, Florida, Harvard, Iowa, Iowa State, Minnesota, Syracuse, Virginia and Virginia Tech. Florida is one to watch.
Northfield Mt. Hermon, C/PF, 6-9, 200, AAU: Mass Rivals, Scout #17 PF, ESPN #11 C, Rivals #94 overall
Miller burst onto the scene as a freshman and was quickly ranked as one of the top prospects in the class, but has seen his rankings drop with injuries and quiet summers. Still, the versatile post player remains a prime target and looked good at PC's Elite Camp. A lean 6'9, Miller needs bulk, but is active on the glass and not afraid to bang. Long and agile. The four-star post player has kept his recruitment quiet and has a short list of Boston College, Georgia Tech and Maryland.
Brewster Academy, MA, SG, 6-3, 185, AAU: The City, Scout NR, ESPN #26 SF, Rivals #104 overall
Mitchell made a big impression at PC's Elite Camp. When Chukwu, Abu, Terrell and Joseph needed a fifth player to round out their team, Mitchell was Cooley's pick and he didn't look outclassed at all. A true wing, if he keeps growing, he could play the three. Can shoot, put the ball on the floor, is strong and is a glue type player. To land the three-star wing, PC will have to beat out Boston College, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Iona, Iowa, Maryland and Syracuse. The Orange will be a school to watch.
Brewster Academy, MA, C/PF, 6-8, 235, AAU: New England Playaz, Scout #20 C, ESPN #17 PF, Rivals NR
A space-eater inside, Reuter is a tough post player with skills. He can bang inside, step out and knock down a mid-range shot and is tough on the glass, bulling over smaller players. Good motor. Injuries have slowed him down during the past two summers and Indiana offered first, but Reuter remains a prime target. The four-star post player is looking at Boston College, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, North Carolina, Rutgers and St. John's.
Northfield Mt. Herman, C/PF, 7-0, 210, AAU: Mass Rivals, Scout #16 C, ESPN #23 C, Rivals #87 overall
Sharma is an excellent shot blocker who is athletic, can get out and run, can face up, can catch and has a nice touch. Despite needing to get stronger, he is not shy around the rim. He'll challenge opponents both offensively and defensively. Academics are important to Sharma and will come into play. The four-star center is piling up offers and the involved schools include Boston College, Connecticut, Davidson, Harvard, Kansas State, Massachusetts, Oklahoma State, Maryland and Stanford. Maryland could be tough here.
These seven players all bear watching by Friars fans over the next year and the staff will be watching as well for improvement. Other New England prospects, like Curtis Cobb, A.J. Turner and Jared Wilson-Frame are also on various levels of the wish list, as are a number of out of the region players, but these seven form a solid nucleus of New England talent that will no doubt draw Ed Cooley to their gyms over the next year.
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