Providence Recruiting NY Metro Area Trio

BRONX, NY-- The New York Metro Area has long been a hotbed for basketball talent, with talent coming from the Big Apple up to Buffalo and into New Jersey and Connecticut. Many of the top players in the area were on display this weekend at the Rumble in the Bronx, one of the spring's top events each year.

The Providence Friars have tapped into the New York area recently for some key players and are looking to do so once again in the class of 2011. Three rising seniors being recruited by Keno Davis and his staff spoke with to update their recruitment over the weekend.

Jermaine Sanders of Rice (NY) helped lead his New Heights NYC team to the U17 Gold semifinals. In fact, he even knocked down a buzzer-beating three in overtime on Saturday to clinch first place in the team's pool.

Sanders, a 6'5, 205-pound wing is a thick player who is deceptively quick and athletic. While his athletic ability will not wow you, it is more than serviceable. His range extends to three-point land, but he also can handle well enough to get to the hole and score. Sanders has a body that allows him to bully smaller defenders and his main calling is scoring the basketball.

Villanova (offer), Providence (offer), Virginia, Virginia Tech, St. John's (offer), Seton Hall, Rutgers, Marquette, Boston College, Maryland, Miami are the programs that Sanders could remember from his list. "Everybody is equal," Sanders said. Asked when he plans to make his commitment, Sanders replied, "I'll see how the summertime goes. Before the start of the high school season."

Sanders provided his thoughts on the Providence program. "I think it's a good school. [Recently departed Assistant] Coach [Pat] Skerry was recruiting me. A new coach told me they are still interested and offered me a scholarship. They want me to come for a visit," he said. "They have a lot of New York players and . . . I could be a good fit in the system."

Vaughn Gray is a vital member of the Playaz Basketball Club from New Jersey, arguably the best U17 AAU team in the nation. Gray, who said he is transferring from Don Bosco Prep (NJ) to St. Benedict's (NJ) for his senior year, had a nice showing at the Rumble.

The 6'5, 185-pound wing is a talented player with a well-rounded game and good athletic ability. He could use some work on his outside shooting, though he did knock down a game-winning buzzer beating three on Friday night in overtime. Gray can also use his sturdy frame to attack the basket.

Asked to assess the main strengths of his game, Gray said, "My athleticism, slashing to the basket and being a complete player with my jumpshot and defense." As for what he needs to work on the most, Gray remarked, "Probably rebounding and getting stronger."

Gray lists Virginia, Richmond (offer), Oregon, Xavier (offer), St. Joseph's (offer), Temple (offer), and Providence (offer) as the programs involved in his recruitment. On his favorites, Gray remarked, "I really like the University of Virginia. I like Richmond too."

"It has a great campus in a great area. It's a great family and a comfortable place to be. It's a great program," said Gray of his thoughts on Providence.

The Long Island Lightning was the surprise champions at the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions a few weeks ago, and Kamari Murphy of Lincoln (NY) was a main reason why. The team did not fare quite as well at Rumble, but did win its pool.

Murphy is a 6'8, 200-pound forward who can slide over to either the three or the four. He is more of a power forward at this point because he does not have great range, but he has superb length if he is to be on the wing. Murphy rebounds the ball well and has a solid overall skill set.

St. John's (offer), Siena, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Iowa, Iowa State (offer), Providence (offer), and Western Kentucky were the schools listed by Murphy. He does "not yet" have any favorites in his recruitment. He is unsure of when he will be making his college choice. "I don't know. I may go to prep school [for a year as post-grad]," Murphy said. It is not a definite that he will reclassify, but rather "an idea" at this point.

"I actually took a visit there," Murphy said of Providence. "It's very nice [and has good] academics. . . . The area is good and the people are good. It's the only sports team there, so it's a good vibe."

Jermaine Sanders, Vaughn Gray, and Kamari Murphy are three of the top players from the New York Metro Area. They are also three of the players in the class of 2011 at the Providence Friars are targeting, and before long it will be known if they will head to the Big East school or somewhere else.

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