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Recruiting Update: Chukwu’s game getting offensive

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


On Saturday night Fairfield Prep was given its first opportunity to redeem themselves after falling to Hillhouse in last season’s Connecticut SCC and Class LL championship games.  Front and center for this matchup was Providence College bound Paschal Chukwu.  With a significant size advantage over every player on the Academics of Hillhouse High School, Chukwu put on what Fairfield Prep Head Coach Leo Redgate called his best performance of the year.

15 points, 12 rebounds and 7 blocked shots was Chukwu’s stat line in the 72-62 victory over the Academics. Eight of Chukwu’s 15 points came off of alley-oop dunks as Fairfield Prep certainly made an effort to lob the ball to their 7’1" center.  Throughout the game, Chukwu received the ball on the block eight times, giving him the opportunity to work on the post. He showed that he has the ability to knock down a turnaround hook shot, but admits that his post presence is something he needs to improve on.

“I am basically a defensive player but I always try to work on my offense to become an all around player. My teammates did a good job getting me the ball where I wanted it. I think that was the key, getting me the ball where I am able to finish,” Chukwu said after the game.

Chukwu’s seven blocks were impressive but two early fouls in the first quarter forced him to play a little timid for the remainder of the half. On several occasions, Hillhouse scored around the basket fairly easily due to Chukwu’s passive defense.

Fairfield Prep surrounds the future Providence center with an abundance of guards as sophomore Ryan Murphy and junior Thomas Nolan led the Jesuits with 20 points each.

Chukwu entered Saturday night’s contest averaging right around 5 points per game according to coach Redgate. ”He has been dealing with a bit of a back problem.  It’s a little tender, but he’s fighting through it and he’s close to 100%.”

For a guy who isn’t feeling fully healthy, he sure didn’t show any signs of it last night.  Chukwu played nearly all 32 minutes before fouling out with 1:45 left in the fourth quarter.

Fairfield Prep now stands at 6-0 after handing Hillhouse their first loss of the year.  In terms of what fans should expect out of Chukwu for the remainder of the season, he says he wants to “get stronger, everyone is telling me that. I really want to improve my hook shot also. In college, everyone I am going to playing against will be much taller so I am going to need to improve my shot. I would like to develop a face up shot, too.”

What fans need to realize is that Chukwu is not going to be a program changer on his first day at Providence. What Chukwu will be, is a project.  Not a project in a negative sense, but one with loads of potential. Chukwu’s 7’1" frame provides Providence’s coaching staff with a great foundation to sculpt the Nigerian native into a force on the post. A force on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor.

It is evident that he has a long road ahead before he becomes a dominant big man on the Division I scene.  More importantly though, Chukwu brings an extremely coachable personality and Redgate confirmed that after Saturday night’s game. “He works really hard and he’s great in practice, I love him. He adds so many intangibles and he’s very unselfish.”

Chukwu has the tools to be a great player at Providence College but it will definitely take some time.  In watching him on the floor, his basketball IQ is better than expected, he gets to where he needs to be to score, he closes out well on defense and he can run the floor.

Paschal Chukwu (247sports.com)

On a day when Friartown was slammed by Hurricane Austin, Ed Cooley and the entire Providence College administration received criticism for the announcement of Brandon Austin’s intention to transfer from the school. Refreshingly, Chukwu pointed out that he hears from Coach Cooley very often. “I heard from him today, he called me before the game to wish me good luck and to play hard. I am going to call him tonight to tell him how we did, but I hear from him a lot.”

For all of the new found doubters of Cooley and the PC basketball program, Paschal Chukwu may be the type of player wanted on the campus of Providence College.  Having visited with him on several occasions, his attitude and the way that he carries himself should help him develop into a top tier center in the Big East.  You can just tell that he wants to learn as much as he can to improve and PC can help him with that.

It just won’t happen immediately.

Patience is not a characteristic many Friar fans possess at the present time, but take a look at the list below of Big East centers - none of which finished with eye-popping freshman season numbers.  Most of these guys wound up playing in the NBA and are having very good professional careers.  Could Paschal Chukwu be the NBA’s next Roy Hibbert?  Not exactly.  The point is, while he is definitely going to be an integral piece to future Friar success, pressuring him for anything substantial during his freshman season would be unfair.

Samuel Dalembert – Seton Hall

Freshman season – 6.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 3.6 BPG
Sophomore season – 8.3 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 2.1 BPG
Junior season – Left for NBA
Senior season – n/a

Emeka Okafor – Connecticut

Freshman season – 7.9 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 4.1 BPG
Sophomore season – 15.9 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 4.7 BPG
Junior season – 17.6 PPG, 11.5 RPG, 4.5 BPG
Senior season – Left for NBA

Josh Boone – Connecticut

Freshman season – 5.9 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.7 BPG
Sophomore season – 12.4 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 2.9 BPG
Junior season – 10.3 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.0 BPG
Senior season – Left for NBA

Roy Hibbert – Georgetown

Freshman season – 5.1 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.3 BPG
Sophomore season – 11.6 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 1.6 BPG
Junior season – 12.9 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 2.4 BPG
Senior season – 13.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 2.2 BPG

Hasheem Thabeet – Connecticut

Freshman season – 6.2 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 3.8 BPG
Sophomore season – 10.5 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 4.5 BPG
Junior season – 13.6 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 4.2 BPG
Senior season – Left for NBA

Fab Melo – Syracuse

Freshman season – 2.3 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 0.8 BPG
Sophomore season – 7.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 2.9 BPG
Junior season – Left for NBA
Senior season – n/a

Andre Drummond – Connecticut

Freshman season – 10.0 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 2.7 BPG
Sophomore season – Left for NBA
Junior season – n/a
Senior season – n/a

Gorgui Dieng – Louisville

Freshman season – 5.7 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 1.9 BPG
Sophomore season – 9.1 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 3.2 BPG
Junior season – 9.8 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 2.5 BPG
Senior season – Left for NBA

Steven Adams – Pittsburgh

Freshman season – 7.2 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 2.0 BPG
Sophomore season – Left for NBA
Junior season – n/a
Senior season – n/a

Chris Obekpa – St. John’s

Freshman season – 3.9 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 4.0 BPG
Sophomore season (In Progress) – 3.2 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 4.2 BPG
Junior season – TBD
Senior season – TBD

Email Craig – [email protected]
Follow Craig on Twitter – @Craig_Belhumeur


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