PROVIDENCE – When Kyan Anderson and Markus Crider signed on with Providence College, each player was under the premise that Keno Davis would be coaching them.
Now that Davis is out of the picture and Ed Cooley is at the helm, the status of the Friars’ recruiting class for next season presently resembles that of one foot in the door, one foot out. The respective high school coaches for Anderson and Crider acknowledged that neither one has asked PC to release them from their signed letters-of-intent, though things should become clearer once they have a chance to make contact with Cooley, possibly in the coming days.
“Kyan signed with Providence, but you want to have that relationship in place with the staff that’s there. He committed to the college, not to a particular staff. Then again, when you’re making decisions like that, you want to feel comfortable in all aspects of it,” said Tommy Brakel, Anderson’s coach at North Crowley High in Fort Worth, Texas. “It’s just not basketball. It’s just not your education. It’s a huge part of your life because it’s where you’re going to live for the next 4-5 years, a lot of times the rest of your life. You want all of those things to blend and fit together.”
Colleges and universities are not above relinquishing a recruit from their commitment upon changing coaches. Sometimes, though, things work out and the new coach is able to convince the recruit that everything will be fine. When Davis came aboard three years ago, he inherited Bilal Dixon, recruited by Tim Welsh and his staff.
“Fortunately I’ve never had a situation where a kid has committed and the coach is fired or left, but ultimately they do commit to the school. At the same time Markus had built a relationship with (assistant coach) Chris Davis and Keno Davis. He appreciated the way they handled him and what not,” said Travis Trice, Crider’s coach at Wayne High in Huber Heights, Ohio. “He’ll have to sit back with his family and it’ll be something they have to re-evaluate and kind of go from there.”
Anderson, a 5-foot-11 point guard, fought through an injury-plagued senior campaign after suffering a thumb injury that knocked him out for four weeks. Brakel reiterated that Anderson, who returned in time for the Panthers’ playoff march, has been feeling fine and healthy for quite some time.
“He had some ligament damage, and for someone that’s had the basketball in his hands for our team the last three years, and then to lose that, it was challenging for our team,” said Brakel, noting that Anderson was part of a North Crowley outfit that during his tenure compiled a staggering 135-18 record. “He came back and finished the season strong. It’s just that when you come back, it takes some time to get back in the groove.”
Crider’s situation figures to be a little clearer with Providence since the 6-foot-5 combo forward is familiar with Cooley, though on a limited basis.
“Bob Simon (an assistant under Cooley at Fairfield) recruited one of our kids last year, so Markus was able to get an opportunity to know (the staff),” mentioned Trice. “I know Markus is pretty excited that at least somebody he knew got the job. He shot me a message as soon as heard and said that (Cooley’s hiring) was a good thing.”
Asked when to expect a definitive answer regarding Crider’s status, Trice replied, “I’m sure coach Cooley has a million things to take care of at the moment, but I’m sure he’ll get with me in the near future. He’ll have to express to Markus that he wants him (at Providence) and that he fits (Cooley’s) style and system. Once that conversation takes place, then both sides will know more about where they stand.”
Speaking about the future of Anderson and Crider prior to having a coach in place, PC athletic director Bob Driscoll expressed that, “obviously they signed a letter-of-intent, so they committed to coming to the institution. My assumption is that they’ll continue to come.”
In news closer to home, PC officials confirmed Friday that Cooley has brought aboard Simon and Carmen Maciariello as assistant coaches. Simon was the associate head coach at Fairfield and thought to be a frontrunner to replace Cooley while Maciariello was one of two assistants the Stags employed. It’s unclear what the pair’s specific duties will be at Providence. Two other possibilities to round out Cooley’s staff include Chris Driscoll, an assistant under Davis who at Cooley’s introductory press conference on Wednesday voiced a strong desire to remain at Providence, and Abdul Abdullah, the former PC point guard and teammate of Cooley’s at Central High. Currently Abdullah is an assistant at Brown.