By KEVIN McNAMARA
If anyone knows that life in the Big East is always about talent and depth at guard, it’s Ed Cooley.
That’s why the Friars are happy this morning after New Jersey lead guard Jayden Pierre committed to Providence Sunday night. Pierre joins Quante Berry in PC’s Class of 2022, two guards who could grow as mainstays in the coming years.
Pierre is a quick, slick ballhandling guard with NJ/NY pizzazz. He began his high school years at the Patrick School in New Jersey, jumped over to Elizabeth High and then moved to Long Island Lutheran last year but that school’s season was limited to just three games. Pierre has been a major name in basketball circles since his early teens and really showed out this summer playing for Team RIO University on the Under Armour circuit.
Pierre, who is listed at 6-1 and 165 pounds, chose the Friars over Minnesota, with Florida and Xavier both heavily involved.
Due to the brief high school season and curtailed AAU action in the summer and fall of 2020, Pierre somehow slipped under the radar a bit. That changed this summer with Team RIO and by September, scouts pegged the point guard as the top prospect in New York and one of the country’s fastest riders in the national rankings.
Here is what 247Sports had to say about Pierre:
An aggressive and quick lead guard who can make things happen off the dribble, Jayden Pierre left a terrific mark on the Under Armour Circuit with his play this July and he is now a four-star prospect after moving from No. 149 to No. 105. He excelled at scoring the basketball from the point guard position and did so in an efficient fashion. His mentality and ability to get buckets will translate well to the high major game.
The Friars are set to lose (at least) four players off this year’s team, one being guard Al Durham. The one-year transfer from Indiana is joined by frontcourt players Nate Watson, Noah Horchler and Justin Minaya.
PC’s guard depth now stacks up with Jared Bynum (redshirt junior), junior Brycen Goodine and sophomore Alyn Breed. Berry, who plays at Winston-Salem (N.C.) Prep, can play with the ball and also on the wing, similar to Goodine and Breed. Pierre is a true lead guard in the mold of Bynum.
Here is an extensive interview done with Pierre last September.
The Friars would like to sign four high school prospects in the 2022 class. With Berry and Pierre in the fold, the focus is certainly looking big and the Friars appear to be in very good shape with a 7-footer, Christ Essandoko. He’s narrowed his college picks to seven schools with Providence, Illinois and Maryland looking like the favorites. Essandoko is a native of Paris, France who’s been in the States for two years and is improving by leaps and bounds as his body matures.
The Friars have been recruiting Essandoko hard with Ed Cooley and Ivan Thomas visiting Winston-Salem last week. PC also owns an ace in the hole as Berry is Essandoko’s teammate. Essandoko is going to announce his college pick Friday and Providence appears to be the leader.