by Sam Scanlon ’19
With the 2017-2018 season just around the corner, Men’s Basketball Head Coach Ed Cooley has reeled in a new wave of talented recruits looking to make a splash here in Friartown. Four new faces have been added to the roster to complement the skillful group of upperclassmen. The Friars are returning Kyron Cartwright ’18, Emmitt Holt ’18, Jalen Lindsey ’18, and Rodney Bullock ’18, who have proven to be extremely vital to the success of this team. However, the focus this year will turn to the Class of 2021, and what their role will be in giving the Friars the final push into being a top Big East Championship contender.
The highly touted point guard, Makai Ashton-Langford ’21, will be a pivotal piece to the puzzle by adding depth to Cartwright and Maliek White ’20 at the guard position. Ashton-Langford has been extremely anticipated as he is a four-star recruit, ranking 38th on the 2017 ESPN 100 recruiting list and capturing an overall scouting grade of 89. Look for him to have a sizable offensive role for an underclassman, as he will be a great accent to Cartwright.
The Friars also added two big men from Virginia who bring some serious size to the Friars’ roster. Standing at 6’10″ and 260 lbs., Nate Watson ’21 will look to be the starting center in this year’s lineup. His size will greatly benefit and add some much needed depth to the big men up front. His counterpart and fellow center, Dajour Dickens ’21, is a 7’0″ 220-pounder who is an outstanding rebounder, something that this squad is desperately looking for. Rebounding has been an issue for the Friars, as they finished sixth in the Big East for rebounds last season. In addition to the rebound problem being addressed, the Friars have lacked a true center for the last two seasons, but now Holt will be able to return to his position at forward, where he is more comfortable and effective.
Another guard has been added to the roster as well. Andrew Fonts ’21, a local kid hailing from Portsmouth, Rhode Island, will look to be a threat from beyond the arc and add depth for three-point shooting, another area that could use improvement.
This season is one that the Friar Fanatics should be excited about. The Class of 2021 additions are the perfect pieces that were missing from this team. With everyone remaining healthy, our size up front to go along with the speed and scoring ability in the back court is going to be tough for any opponent to stop. As returning players gain another year of experience, and with most of the talent lying in the senior class, Ashton-Langford, Alpha Diallo ’20, and Kalif Young ’20 should slide into their roles and complement the senior class perfectly. With everyone performing to their potential, the Friars will certainly be in the Big East Championship conversation once the postseason comes around.