Christ Essandoko is joining Quante Berry in PC’s Class of 2022
By KEVIN McNAMARA
Christ is coming to Providence College.
His name is pronounced Chr-eest Essandoko, and he’s a 7-footer from France now in his second year at Winston-Salem (N.C.) Prep Academy who committed to Providence on Friday. Essandoko had previously narrowed his list of schools to seven with PC joining Oral Roberts, Illinois, N.C. State, Maryland, Seton Hall and Georgetown.
Essandoko’s teammate at Winston-Salem is guard Quante Berry, who picked Providence back in the summer time. New Jersey point guard Jayden Pierre picked the Friars last week so Ed Cooley and his staff now have three promising players on the way for next season.
Essandoko is regarded as one of the top prospects in North Carolina, targeted as high as the third senior in the state according to 247Sports. He became a top target once the Friars lost out on center prospects Donovan Clingan (UConn) and Patrick Wessler (Va. Tech), among others.
While it’s clear that Essandoko’s relationship with teammate Berry certainly did not hurt, it was his bond with Cooley and assistant Ivan Thomas that won out in the end.
“Providence has a very good relationship with him,” Winston-Salem Prep coach Antonio Lowe said. “His relationship with Ed Cooley really is a great one. He’s had a good bond with his and coach (Ivan) Thomas for awhile now. They’ve told him how they see him growing and progressing in their program.”
Essandoko’s stock steadily increased from last spring into summer as he showed rebounding and scoring skills both with Team Curry on the UAA Circuit and for Boo Williams on the EYBL Circuit. He’s lost over 30 pounds from when he arrived in the United States and is a solid passer, owns good hands and runs the floor. Lowe says his big man is still working to get into better shape as his young body matures.
“He can score inside and out and stretch the defense,” Lowe said. “On defense, he’s a five-man for sure, so he’ll have to work on (defending) ball screens and improving all over.
The Friars would like to add other newcomers to the 2022 class, but it’s unclear whether Cooley will keep shopping on the high school ranks or wait until the inevitable flood of transfers hit the market. PC could use some frontcourt help with collegiate experience to help replace Nate Watson and Noah Horchler.
In his Instagram post Essandoko wrote “A special thanks to Coach Lowe, Coach Phil and Coach Jake who have believed in me, trusted me and pushed me, good and bad moments. I want to also thank Winston-Salem Christian School for providing me the opportunity to attend an American school experience and who opened their arms to me since Day One. Thanks to all the coaches who recruited me this past year. To everyone who has been a part of my journey, thank you. With that being said, I will be committing to Providence College. #GoFriars.”
Lowe said that Berry, who is from Tennessee, is playing very well right now. He’s now sharing point guard duties and moving off the ball more where his complete game is showcased.
“Quante is playing his best basketball and there are a couple of reasons why,” Lowe said. “Quante is more off the ball and scoring the ball more, which is what he does best. He’s also shooting the ball better after a very good summer.”
The Friars would love to bring in four high school prospects and with Nate Watson and Noah Horchler entering their final season of eligibility, adding some quality size is a major priority.