Nine To Watch

Now that the July evaluation period has been over for a few weeks, Friar Insider thought it might be a good idea to take a closer look at nine Providence targets, and make some educated evaluations of our own.

With two scholarships to give for the Class of 2006 (three depending upon Montez Downey's still uncertain fate), the Providence coaches crisscrossed the country throughout July in search of talent to fill the remaining slots. With a verbal commitment already in hand from Newton High School point guard Corey Lowe, the Friars could concentrate on filling other needs.

If Providence has two scholarships to give, a good guess might be that the Friars will be looking for a big man to help beef up the frontcourt, and a wing player who can shoot it. With that in mind, Friar Insider considered summer performances, listened to whispers from those in the know, and selected nine players from a relatively large crop that PC is looking at for 2006, and designated them "Our Nine To Watch". Now, it may be that none of these nine ultimately signs with Providence; however, it's a good bet that the Friars would love to ink a player or two from this list.

Here, then, in alphabetical order, are the Friar Insider's post-summer "Nine To Watch":

JUSTIN BURRELL
Burrell is a 6-7, 220 pound forward who made quite an impression this summer, first at the Rumble in the Bronx, then at the And One Tournament and then at the Eastern Invitational with his Long Island Lightning AAU squad. A leaper who takes it to the rim hard, he is considering St. John's, Fordham, Marist, Georgia Tech, Georgia, Marquette, Rider, Richmond and Drexel, along with the Friars. He played for Our Savior Lutheran and led them to the Final Four of the Metro/East qualifier and has been offered by St. John's, Fordham and St. Francis, but a number of other schools have gotten very interested, including Providence. He averaged 17 points and 14 rebounds last season and is very dangerous along the baseline and on the offensive glass. He'll take the SAT for the first time in October, so no official visits can happen until then, but PC would like to get him here for an unofficial visit.

KEITH COTHRAN
With offers from Providence and Fordham already in hand, Cothran, a 6-4, 175 pound shooting guard spent the summer looking to expand his profile. He played in Las Vegas with the New England Playaz after his regular Connecticut Select team chose not to attend. A Top 20 All-Star at the Eastern Invitational, Cothran was also hearing from Canisius and UNLV, and expected to see his list grow. He played at Hillhouse High in Connecticut last year and will attend the Winchenden School this year. Averaging 19 points, nine rebounds, and five assists per game for Hillhouse, Keith was a First Team All Stater in Connecticut by both the Hartford Courant and New Haven Register. Cothran is considered a very heady player with an excellent outside shot.

JEROME DYSON
Dyson is perhaps the highest rated target on the Friars' list, and interest for this 6-4, 180 pound guard grows by the day. A native of Potomac, Maryland, Dyson played for Winston Churchill High and received little notoriety until he arrived at Proctor Academy. Dyson was being recruited by Maryland, Georgetown, UNLV, Villanova, UConn, Notre Dame, Purdue, Florida and Georgia, among others. He recently chopped his list from 16 schools down to seven – Maryland, Connecticut, N.C. State, Boston College, Notre Dame, West Virginia – and Providence. Jerome averaged 31.5 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists for Proctor, while hitting 64% of his field goal attempts and 55% of his three-pointers. He recently took an unofficial visit to Connecticut, who has made him a top priority, and Maryland is a favorite, but PC believes they will be there with Dyson until the end.

LAZAR HAYWARD
Hayward has emerged as one of the top shooters and scorers in the Class of '06. He likes to get his offense from outside the arc and work his way in. A 6-5, 205 wing from Buffalo, NY, Hayward played at Notre Dame Prep this past season, and averaged 27 points and 9 rebounds. With his long arms, Hayward can post up inside, but his reputation is primarily based on his three point range. He is interested in Marquette, Michigan, Pittsburgh, UConn, and Providence College, and the Friars have offered. Don't believe internet reports that provide school lists for Hayward and fail to mention Providence. Some reports have Marquette leading, but, like Dyson, PC believes they will be in it until the end with Hayward.

FRANKLIN JONES
Franklin Jones is a 6-11, 275 pound center who played for Mt. Zion Academy in North Carolina. Prior to that, Jones had played at Niagara Falls High School in New York, and was a teammate of former Friar forward, Jeff Parmer. While Jones' offense lags behind, he could help clog up the middle defensively for many high major programs. He is being monitored by UConn, Pittsburgh, Providence, South Florida, and St. John's. The problem here is academics and it's possible that Jones could end up at a junior college. Unfortunately, he may be problematically similar to Anthony Ivory, but the aforementioned schools will continue to watch him, because his size would be a major plus to any frontcourt.

JASON LOVE
Jason Love is a 6-8 1/2, 270 pound big forward from Abington Friends School in Abington, PA, who is getting a lot of interest from the Friars, Xavier, LaSalle, Penn State, and George Washington. Not tremendously athletic, Love likes to face the basket and is a tough rebounder, and a strong performance at the adidas Superstars camp helped to elevate his profile. Love can step out to 15 feet, can post inside but needs to work on quickness and speed. His two leaders right now appear to be Providence and Xavier. About the Friars, he says: "They coached Ryan Gomes to the NBA. Also they are in the Big East Conference, and that is a pretty big deal." He'll visit Xavier on September 16 and PC on September 23. A definite to sign in November, Love plans on taking all five of his visits.

DAMIEN SAUNDERS
Damien Saunders is a 6-7, 210 pound senior combo forward from Crosby High School in Waterbury, CT. Damien, who also played some center at Crosby, has shown that he can play multiple positions and excel at all of them. Saunders is a natural shotblocker, and averaged 12 points and 12 rebounds for Crosby. Most likely a power forward in college, Saunders is very athletic and his defense is ahead of his offense right now. Saunders said that he likes Syracuse, Providence College and Miami. Other schools on his list are Massachusetts, Boston College and St. Bonaventure. Damien attended both the Syracuse and Providence team camps, and said that he will take some visits after the 16U Nationals in July.

LAMONTE ULMER
Lamonte Ulmer is a 6-6, 190 pound senior wing from Hamden High School in Hamden, CT who claimed the MVP trophy from the second session of the Eastern Invitational. Lamonte dominated the Top 20 All Star game with a double/double, finishing with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Ulmer can hit from the perimeter and take the ball to the rim and finish. Lamonte averaged 17 points and 11 rebounds per game for Hamden this past season, and was a 1st team All State Class LL selection. Ulmer and his Connecticut select AAU team also participated in the Las Vegas Big Time Tournament. A diamond in the rough, Lamonte told sources that he is hearing from Providence College, Quinnipiac, Sacred Heart and East Carolina. Expect more schools with bigger profiles to get involved with Ulmer after his excellent showing in July.

AUSTIN WALLACE
Austin Wallace is a 6-8, 210 pound junior big forward from LaSalle Academy in the Bronx. He played at South Bronx High as a sophomore before transferring to LaSalle. Wallace already has an offer from Louisville, if he decides to take a prep year next season. Wallace is currently a member of the 2006 class. His favorites are Georgia Tech, Georgetown and Purdue, but the Louisville offer is tempting, and Providence has also offered. The Cards would like Wallace to prep with his friend and ‘Ville signee Edgar Sosa. Wallace is a big forward who impacts the game with excellent shot blocking and rebounding skills, while adding in an emerging offensive game. A member of the NY Gauchos, Wallace said that "Providence comes to all of my games". Connecticut, Rutgers, Syracuse, and South Florida also continue to monitor Wallace.

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