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Hosley signed his letter of intent on May 18. He is on track academically to enroll in December.
The end of the recruiting process did not, however, permit the Providence coaches to take a breath and contemplate their rotation. The following months would bring good news and bad. In June, after attending the NBA predraft camp in Chicago, Gomes decided to stay in school for his senior season, which he again enters as one of the favorites--this time, possibly the favorite--for the Wooden Award. Though his return will cut into the playing time Welsh & Co. had promised the freshman Burch, Welsh insists that all his newcomers will have to play major minutes for Providence to be successful this season. "We are counting on them," Welsh says. Other than Gomes, Providence has only two returning frontcourt players.
The Friars' front line, however, will not include Anthony Ivory, at least not this season. Ivory did not qualify academically; he is attending Coastal Christian Academy in Virginia Beach, Va. Seymore will have to recruit him all over again. "That is just how it goes sometimes," says Seymore.
Then, in September, the Friars saw the departure of JaJuan Robinson, who had attended summer school at Providence but missed his family and his pregnant girlfriend. In mid-September, after attending fall-semester classes for a week, he traveled to Baltimore for the birth of his son. After returning to school for a few days, he told Seymore he was leaving for good. "With all the conflicts going on at home, he couldn't focus on what he needed to do here," says Seymore, who immediately began calling coaches at schools closer to Baltimore in hopes of finding Ice a scholarship.
"It leaves us thin at guard, where we are already very young," Seymore says of the loss of Robinson. "If one guy gets injured, not having JaJuan could really hurt."
Back on May 18, when Hosley affixed his signature to his letter of intent, the Providence coaches knew at last that their pursuit of the class of '04 had officially, mercifully and successfully ended. Even on that day, though, there was no pause to celebrate. Welsh was trying to get out of town for a few days of rest before a recruiting stretch that would take him to New Jersey, Indianapolis and Las Vegas. DeMeo was shuffling travel plans so he could make multiple tournaments during July. And Phil Seymore was in his office talking about his latest dream recruit, a wing player from the class of 2005.
"He could be," Seymore said, "this year's James Gist."