PC'S FULL COURT PRESS FOR A GUARD

If there is anything Ed Cooley and Providence can offer a recruit playing the guard position for 2014, it's playing time. With Bryce Cotton graduating and former McDonalds All-American point guard Kris Dunn likely sidelined at the start of next season rehabbing, Providence needs some backcourt depth.

Coaches across the country are seeking guards for 2014, and the Friar staff has a slew of targets on their radar.

There is a lot of buzz around Friartown, as the name JaQuan Lyle has been mentioned with Providence numerous times lately. Lyle, who plays alongside 2014 Providence commit Jalen Lindsey at Huntington Prep (WV), is arguably the best guard available in 2014. JaQuan is a 6-5-combo guard who possesses great vision on the court. He has always succeeded in dishing the ball and getting his teammates the ball effortlessly. Lyle is a great finisher around the rim, as he can drive by his defenders with his speed and athleticism. A big weakness for the one time Louisville commit, is his shooting. Working on his outside shot will be imperative for Lyle as he transitions into college.

JaQuan has the total package pertaining to a combo guard, and he has caught the eyes of many college coaches. It looks as though Lyle's schools of choice are down to Providence, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Oregon, and Memphis and Connecticut are also in the mix. After talking to Jalen Lindsey recently, the Friar commit stated he is trying to lure JaQuan to Providence, but it in the end it will be Lyle's decision. Ed Cooley and assistant Bob Simon visited with Lyle's mother and grandmother in Indiana a couple weeks ago, as they were the first coaches to visit at their home since JaQuan decommited from Louisville. Lyle and his mother, Lumecha Garrett, plan on visiting Providence March 3rd or 4th. If Ed Cooley can work his magic with Lyle, Providence would have one of the best recruiting classes in 2014.

Ed Cooley is a very familiar face at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, as he attends more practices and games than any coach in New England, maybe even the country. Cooley has been recruiting 2015 recruits Donovan Mitchell and Jared Reuter for a while now, along with 2014 recruit Devonte Graham.

Along with Lyle, Graham is another highly touted guard left on the board. However, Graham is not allowed to speak with college coaches because he hasn't been released from his National Letter of Intent with Appalachian State from 2012. Graham chose to go the prep route this year, and he has gained numerous high major offers from across the country while playing for Brewster. Graham is a versatile guard, who can play on and off the ball. He has a phenomenal shot and can light it up from long range in the blink of an eye. Devonte has great vision on the court, always getting his teammates the rock with ease in transition. He is a leader and great communicator on the court as well. A weakness Graham possesses is his strength. If he could put on some muscle, he would be a dominant penetrator driving through the paint. Graham is a true point guard that will be an asset to any college team, especially Providence. Whether or not he gets his release, Graham will be able to speak to coaches in May. Providence will be an ideal landing spot for Graham, especially if he gets his release from Appalachian State.

If there is any high school player that's increased his stock in the past few months, it's Tarin Smith. Smith is a 6-2 guard who plays for legendary Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley at St. Anthony in New Jersey. Tarin has shown this year his ability to lead a team, and is playing very well thus far. His leadership and work ethic are very noticeable, as he gives everything he's got on the court every night.

Providence assistant coach Bob Simon, who is the lead recruiter for Smith, has watched him many times in the last few months. A crucial part of his game that Smith needs to improve is his offensive game. Tarin has a silky stroke from inside the three-point arc, but needs to make those shots consistently. Providence loves to run their pick and pop play with Bryce Cotton at the top of they key, and Smith might struggle with his offensive capability running the same plays.

Not only is Smith a workhorse on the court, but he is off the court as well. Tarin is currently number one academically in his senior class, and he holds numerous scholarship offers from Ivy League schools. Providence has not yet offered Smith, as it looks like they are waiting to see what unfolds with JaQuan Lyle and Devonte Graham. Tarin currently holds offers from Massachusetts, Ole Miss, Duquesne, Fordham, and more. As Tarin has expressed his desire to play in the Big East, Providence will continue to keep an eye on him. Time will tell if the St. Anthony Friar could continue to be a Friar at the next level.

Another Providence target is Tyquone Greer from Chicago, who can play multiple positions on the floor including shooting guard. Greer is a very lengthy and skilled player, who can handle the ball extremely well up and down the court. A big strength Greer contributes on the court, is defense. He is capable of guarding many positions and has shown he can rebound against any big man. Tyquone can score in many ways in and around the paint. He needs to work on his jump shot the most. With a knock down mid-range shot, he would be very hard to guard in the half-court set. Greer runs with the Wisconsin Playground Elite AAU program, where he has gained a great deal of interest from schools. Greer has interest from Providence, DePaul, Notre Dame, Miami, Illinois and more.

A late bloomer onto the recruiting scene is Delshon Strickland, out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. At 6-4, Strickland is a versatile guard who uses his length to his advantage. He has great speed while handling the ball and has been said to have a great basketball IQ. For a guard, Delshon has shown he can excel on the defensive side of the ball and rebounding in the paint. One weakness Strickland needs to improve is his jump shot. With a consistent jump shot, Strickland would be an offensive weapon night in and night out. He is sometimes streaky with his shot, either drastically slumping or on fire from beyond the arc. If there is one thing for certain, Strickland has a lot of upside. He currently holds offers from Providence, Minnesota, Miami, Auburn and more.

An under the radar Providence recruit is KADEEM SMITHEN from Toronto, Canada. Smithen, who is a 6-3 guard can run the point and play the two-guard position at the next level. Kadeem has a quick release on his shot, and it can be tough to guard for any defender. A Bryce Cotton catch and shoot type of player can go a long way in the Big East as we have seen thus far. Smithen can shoot from behind the arc and can knock down jumpers anywhere on the court. One weakness Kadeem possesses is his defense. Working on his defense would improve his overall game drastically, especially if he wants to make it to the next level. With an offer from Siena, schools like Providence and Creighton have shown the most interest in Smithen.

Next we have recruit RASHARD FIGURES, who runs AAU with Team Scan (NY). Figures is a 6-3 guard who is very athletic and versatile. He has shown his shooting skills throughout the past two years making tough and athletic shots numerous times. He also has great vision on the court, always finding room to get into the open floor. Figures needs to bulk up and build some muscle to compete in college, but has shown his toughness banging down low and on the block. His jumper needs some work, as he relies on his jump shot too much in instances. Figures can score within and beyond the arc, but needs to work on having a consistent shot as he can score in many ways. Figures has offers from Providence, Seton Hall, Delaware, Florida International, and more.

With a loaded and highly rated frontcourt coming to Providence next year, Ed Cooley knows he will have some pieces in place. However, Providence has dealt with its fair share of adversity this year, especially with losing starting point guard Kris Dunn. With depth being an issue in the backcourt this season thus far, Ed Cooley needs and wants to add at least one or two guards for next season. Look for Providence to add to their already impressive 2014 recruiting class very soon.

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