Ed Cooley and Providence College landed a huge verbal commitment on Monday night from Brewster Academy and Mass Rivals point guard Makai Ashton-Langford.
A consensus top 50 prospect in the country, Ashton-Langford is the highest ranked prospect to commit to the Friars since the loaded 2012 class which included both Kris Dunn and Ricky Ledo.
Ashton-Langford initially signed with Connecticut, choosing them over both Providence and Louisville, but requested a release from his scholarship just two weeks ago following the departure of associate head coach Glenn Miller as well as several prominent players who transferred out of the program.
He took just one visit to Providence the second time around, just last weekend, which included their team banquet. Roughly twenty-four hours later it was a done deal.
“My relationship with Coach Cooley and the opportunity to impact a Big East program was just too much to turn down,” Ashton-Langford said.
While rankings aren’t always a completely reliable way of projecting immediate impact, this pickup is as crucial as it sounds for the Friars.
First and foremost, Cooley has his next point guard with star potential. The Kris Dunn comparisons may not be totally fair yet, but what we know about Ashton-Langford is that, like Dunn, he is impactful on both ends of the floor, has very good positional size, and a virtually unmatched winning pedigree.
In fact, Ashton-Langford literally hasn’t lost a basketball game in almost a year. His Rivals squad went a perfect 22-0 in tournament play this summer, winning four different championships during the July evaluation period, while Brewster Academy finished the prep season a perfect 33-0 including both the NEPSAC AAA title and National Prep Championship.
The timing of this decision is also ideal. While Ashton-Langford will be capable of playing immediate minutes and making an impact from day one, he will also have the luxury of playing alongside Kyron Cartwright for a full season before completely taking the reins of the program as a sophomore.
Finally, this is a commitment that isn’t only going to help Providence be successful on the court in future seasons but also one which will pay further dividends on the recruiting trail. To follow up four straight trips to the NCAA tournament with a commitment from a prospect of Ashton-Langford’s stature gives the Friars a major boost of momentum as they court other top prospects, especially from their home base in New England. Given that local products including David Duke, Cole Swider, and A.J. Reeves are all among their top priorities in the upcoming class of 2018, this factor is only that much more relevant.
While the virtues and benefits of the commitment are important, so too are the roots. Providence had missed out on some key local recruits in recent classes at both Brewster Academy (prior to Alpha Diallo’s commitment last year) as well as with the Mass Rivals, but their enthusiasm and commitment for mining those two local programs never wavered, even when others suggested it should. As a result, they have been able to build true relationships with both programs as well as numerous other top prep and travel programs from around New England. These types of relationships allow schools to quickly scoop up talented national prospects like Langford when they suddenly become available late in the recruiting cycle.
Now, a class that was expected to be characterized by incoming size and depth up front suddenly has a potential star in the backcourt. Put it all together and it’s a collectively strong group for Cooley that should help maintain the momentum they’ve been able to build up in recent seasons.