Ed Cooley’s first recruiting class at Providence College in 2012 was arguably the best the program had ever seen. And although Kris Dunn’s injury and Ricardo Ledo’s academic status have delayed that group’s impact on the floor, the class still sent a clear message that Cooley and the Friars have every intention of recruiting with the big boys.
Ironically, the guy who was often overlooked in last year’s class, Josh Fortune, now figures to be Providence’s most impactful freshman this season.
Fortune originally committed to the Friars under former head coach Keno Davis, but when Cooley arrived in Providence, he and associate head coach Andre Lafleur worked hard to retain that commitment.
Those countless trips to Virginia have now paid off two-folds as Providence landed its first commitment in the 2013 class in Rodney Bullock (Hampton, Va./ Kecoughtan), Fortune’s former AAU and high school teammate.
A 6-foot-7 combo-forward, Bullock is a bit of a hybrid with his long build, active two-way game and high-level athleticism. He’s a high volume rebounder who can play on the block or face-up on the perimeter to make an open shot.
Even more important than his offensive versatility is his defensive value. Prior to arriving at Providence, Cooley led Fairfield program’s to unprecedented heights by building the top defensive team in the MAAC. When he arrived at Providence, he wasn’t just taking over a team that needed to upgrade its talent base, but he was inheriting one of the worst defensive units in the Big East.
The Friars made consistent strides in that area last year, but there is still work to be done. Bullock will be a major asset in that endeavor because he’ll provide Cooley with just the type of long and mobile athlete he built his defense around at Fairfield.
Because Bullock can defend multiple positions, he’ll allow Cooley flexibility in his lineups and matchups. As the Friars add more and more versatile defenders, they’ll be able to extend their defense with more consistency while also utilizing more switching concepts within their halfcourt coverage -- two things which have historically been key components to Cooley’s defensive playbook.