Saturday night, Class of 2017 shooting guard Javon Taylor pledged his allegiance to the Friars, and on Monday morning, prime target Alex Owens committed to Providence.
The four-star Owens, a 6-8, 240 pound power forward/center from Oak Ridge High School in Orlando, Florida, chose Providence over finalists Missouri and Central Florida. Before narrowing his list, Owens was pursued and offered by Florida State, Florida, LSU, Memphis and Tennessee, among others.
Originally, Owens had committed to the hometown team, Central Florida, on September 17, 2013. By November 5, Owens had decided to reopen his recruitment. Each One Teach One coach Steve Reese told Scout.com, "He likes UCF. They have a great staff. He just said he wanted to open it back up and go through the process.” Prior to committing, Owens had taken no unofficial visits.
As of May, Owens felt that three schools were recruiting him the hardest – Central Florida, LSU and Tennessee, and he confirmed LSU as the favorite. He told Scout.com, "Right now that's the one that's in the front. I just like the coaching staff and their relationships with their players." He added, “I've been learning my post moves and playing more in the post. I'm actually playing on the perimeter a lot more and dribbling. Coach allows me to switch my game up a little bit."
But Providence kept plugging along. The Friars, with Bob Simon as the lead recruiter, had been recruiting Owens for over a year, and by the time July rolled around, Owens trimmed his list to PC, Missouri and Central Florida, knocking LSU and the others out altogether.
Accepting the invitation to the Elite Camp would prove to be pivotal in Owens’ decision. He bonded with the coaches and players and performed well at the camp. Of Owens’ play, I wrote:
Alex Owens (2015) – Owens manned the middle for Cooley’s team and had a terrific battle with the taller (Jordy) Tshimanga. As advertised, Owens threw a couple of eye-popping interior passes and rebounded well. He attempted one jumper, which missed, but his form was solid. An active rebounder, he looks to dunk whenever possible, although not an explosive leaper. He uses his butt well to fend off players and is a willing defender. Owens keeps balls alive in rebounding situations, has a nose for the ball and hit the layup to give Cooley’s team a 39-38 win.
By Monday morning, Owens had made his decision. Reese, his AAU coach, told Scout.com, “I just think it was the perfect fit for him,” Reese said. “Ed Cooley is a really good person on and off the basketball court. Alex just felt really comfortable with the visit and everything went well. Ed Cooley and coach Simon did a really good job. Alex just felt like Cooley was not only a great coach, but also a father figure that can help lead him to be successful.”
Edward `Boobie’ Francis, one of Owens’ AAU coaches who accompanied him on the trip to Providence, told the Providence Journal, “Coming from the background that Alex does, it wasn’t about the basketball as much as it was the family outside basketball. The togetherness and support around the program and the whole city was a perfect fit for Alex.”
Other evaluations of Owens were equally glowing.
Rob Harrington wrote: Alex Owens, C — You have to like Owens' style. He's a very undersized, 6-7 center but didn't appear to realize that fact, as he goes to battle like he's a seven-footer. Owens plays big and has the body to reinforce the powerful attitude, resulting in numerous rebounds and overall physical post play. Not only that, he's an excellent — if overly reliant — interior passer capable of sizzle and flash as an assists-man. Developing a more reliable jump hook and other compensation tools for the inevitable size disparities he'll face in college loom large, and a face-up jumper will be key as well. Still, he has registered highly on the activity meter here and will continue to hold majors in pursuit.
And Evan Daniels wrote: Alex Owens, PF/C, E1T1 16's – In an evening game on Saturday, Owens, a 6-foot-7, 235-pound post player, made an effort to own the glass. He went after every rebound and it led to a number of put back opportunities. Owens plays with effort and energy. He also has a good set of hands. The next step in his development is to work on a go-to move on the block.
ESPN.com has Owens rated as their #10 center in the 2015 class and 94th overall. Scout.com has him just outside its Top 100 and the #23 center in the class. And Rivals.com ranks him 108th overall in the class. Last season, at Oak Ridge, in 27 games, Owens averaged 17.0 ppg, 15.3 rpg, 2.8 blocks and shot 64% from the field. The only negative was a 51% free throw rate, but Owens possesses a good stroke and is expanding his range. Still, he is, at heart, a low post player who carries his weight well, has great hands and passing ability and rebounds very well.
“Nice pick up for the Friars. Kid can really rebound.” - Evan Daniels, Scout.com
“Owens will be a tough four-year player. I love the way he competes against bigger men without ever demonstrating any signs of fatigue.” – Rob Harrington, Scout.com
Alex Owens Pops For Providence
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