Clear a path for a second PC Friar Class of 2022 basketball commit from Winston-Salem Prep Academy.
Christ Essandoko, a 6-foot-11, 260-pound prospect who hails from France, officially joined high school teammate Quante Berry as part of the next wave of high school talent to choose to enter Providence’s fold. Essandoko supplied the Friars with a verbal commitment on Friday to cap off a productive week on the recruiting trail for Ed Cooley and his staff. The news comes on the heels of PC receiving a commitment from point guard Jayden Pierre this past Sunday night.
“That’s my guy right there. It’s a great feeling,” said Berry when reached Friday. “I couldn’t believe it myself. I’m not going to lie, but we’re on our way.”
If you think that Berry – a Friar commit since July – twisted Essandoko’s arm hoping he would join him at Providence, Antonio Lowe, head coach at Winston-Salem Prep, helped set the record straight.
“Being high school teammates was good, but at the end of the day, Christ chose Providence because he and Ed Cooley have a wonderful relationship. He just believed in the coaching staff,” said Lowe not long after Essandoko took to social media to announce he had chosen PC over a final list that included Maryland, Georgetown and Illinois. “It’s the first time I’ve had two kids go to the same school, but at the end of the day, both of them are happy. They’re where they want to be.”
Essandoko took an official visit to PC in late June. Last week, Cooley flew to North Carolina to meet with Essandoko and check in with Berry, a 6-foot-3 guard.
“It was big for Cooley to come down. I know that meant a lot to Christ. We spent about two hours just talking,” said Lowe. “Providence was high on his list. Knowing that he’s going to college, the weight of the world is off his shoulders.”
Berry shared that Essandoko had made up his mind regarding the Friars prior to Cooley setting foot on the Winston-Salem Prep campus.
“It was under the table, but he was already committed before that,” said Berry. “It was a done deal.”
Based off the description provided by Lowe and Berry, Essandoko’s game is a dead ringer for how today’s big man seeks to attack on the offensive end. Essandoko is entering his second year in the United States. When he crossed the Atlantic Ocean, he did so with zero scholarship offers and weighed over 300 pounds when Lowe started coaching him.
“He’s really skilled … someone who can put the ball on the floor and shoot threes. He’ll be different than a normal Providence big man,” said Lowe. “He can do a little bit of everything.”
Added Berry, “He’s literally whatever you need him to be. He’s the most versatile big I’ve ever seen. He shoots pretty well from the perimeter and with his body, he can bully you in the paint. He can do everything.”
Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair03