With Providence coming off three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances and producing two NBA draft picks in Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil, Friars’ head coach Ed Cooley is starting to see the benefits of such a run pay off on the recruiting trail.
Cooley is already bringing in two four-star recruits (Alpha Diallo and Maliek White) for the 2016 class, but it is the early commitment of 2017 four-star center Dajour Dickens that may make the biggest impact on the program in the years to come.
Dickens is most likely Cooley’s most significant recruit since he signed Bentil.
He fills a huge, glaring need. He is also immensely talented with a limitless ceiling.
— Krossover (@Krossovr) June 13, 2016
Ever since the Friars lost Paschal Chukwu to Syracuse last offseason, they have so badly needed the services of a talented center. And with Bentil now gone, low-post production is a major weakness for the Friars.
While Friar fans will have to wait another year before he arrives, Dickens will be well worth the wait.
Dickens, a 6-foot-11, 205-pound center from Hampton, Va. is rated as a four-star recruit according to 247Sports. The site ranks him as the No. 109 overall prospect in the 2017 class and the 12th-best center in the country.
While he is a tad on the skinny side, Dickens has so much untapped potential that once he fills out his body, he could become one the next great big men in the Big East.
He is extremely quick, agile and can run the court like a gazelle. He has a nice drop step going to the basket, and with great length and timing, he should be an imposing force in the Big East for years to come.
With rim protection a major weakness for Providence, Dickens will immediately shore up the back line of the Friars’ defense. While the loss of Chukwu has stunted the defensive progress of the Friars, the arrival of Dickens will alleviate any concerns about their defense moving forward.
Although he possesses a good amount of upside on the offensive side of the ball, its defense where he’ll likely make his biggest mark. With tremendously long arms and a wingspan to die for, Dickens will prove to be an immediate factor on defense.
He has all the makings to be an elite shot blocker and elite defender at the college level.
By the time he gets to Providence, Dickens will not really have to concern himself with scoring all too much — at least initially. With Rodney Bullock, Emmitt Holt, Jalen Lindsey, Kyron Cartwright and Ryan Fazekas (as well as Diallo) all expected to be around for the 2017-18 season, Cooley will have more than enough scorers and playmakers to lean on.
With at least one more scholarship to give out for the 2017 class (per VerbalCommits.com), Cooley is hoping the commitment of Dickens will lead to him signing another four-star or better. Again, considering Providence has a pressing need for power forwards and centers, don’t be surprised if Cooley tries to sign another big man.
Cooley is clearly parlaying Providence’s recent success on the court to the recruiting trail, and Dickens’ verbal is proof positive of that. Again, what makes Dickens’ commitment so significant is that Dickens is not just supremely talented but he also fills a crucial need. Plus, he looks like the perfect fit for Cooley’s system.
Simply put, Cooley could not have asked for a better start on the recruiting trail with the pledge of Dickens.