PROVIDENCE – On a campus where the men’s basketball program serves as a valuable gateway for public attention, nights like the one that took place at Providence College Friday are held in high esteem, not only by students, but the community at large.
With much fanfare, head coach Ed Cooley, his assistants and players rolled out the Black & White carpet for “Late Night Madness” festivities at Alumni Hall.
All three members of Cooley’s 2014 recruiting haul were in attendance Friday as soon-to-be-Friars Jalen Lindsey, Ben Bentil and Paschal Chukwu received a glimpse as to what their lives will look like a year from now. In addition, Providence also welcomed several high school players that the coaching staff is pursuing hard, one of them being Tomas Murphy, a freshman at The Prout School.
With FoxSports1’s cameras rolling and noted performer Nick Cannon working the turntables, Cooley knows that Friday and the ensuing days are vital in terms of continuing to build and strengthen relationships with the hope that all the cajoling eventually pays off in the form of a commitment.
“(Late Night Madness) is about our community coming together and having a big night surrounded by our men’s basketball team,” said Cooley. “The second part of that is recruiting. We’re trying to sell our brand and where we’re going to go. We’re trying to build a program and a lot of that comes from our players.”
Cooley brings up an interesting point. It’s one thing for a recruit to hear about Providence College from an adult. It’s an entirely different matter for a current member of the squad to extol the virtues of pledging to the school.
“The players have to become recruiters themselves,” stated Cooley. “If we tell them that we have people on campus, we want to sell the kids that are coming. If they do a good job, most of the time we get them.”
Getting players to attend events such as “Late Night Madness” is a victory in its own right.
“There’s a lot of work that goes into this. It’s a win-win for sure because he sees Providence College and the energy and spirit that surrounds our program,” Cooley noted. “It’s a chance for them to engage with other students, not just our student-athletes.
“I feel that our staff doesn’t get enough credit from where we were two short years ago to where we are today as far as our recruiting name,” Cooley added. “Whether or not we get over the hump, that remains to be seen, but the players that are here is due to the job that our staff has done.”
RIM RATTLERS: Cooley said that freshman guard Brandon Austin will hopefully be able to participate in non-contract drills Saturday. Austin sustained a concussion last week. … PC’s closed scrimmage with Harvard will take place next Wednesday. “We wanted to play a tough opponent in a scrimmage situation that will prepare us for Boston College,” said Cooley, referencing the Friars’ season opener against the Eagles on Nov. 8. “We have a great game to start the year, so we’re doing everything we can to build toward winning.”
Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair03