Providence Commit Paschal Chukwu Shines in Early Season Conference Clash

Paschal signing his letter of intent

Being from a small suburb in southern Connecticut, I don’t often get to see definitive division one basketball talents get to play very often. Fortunately for me, that isn’t necessarily the case this season. Paschal Chukwu, the 56th ranked player on ESPN’s top, is a senior at Fairfield Prep in Fairfield, Connecticut.  On January 4th, Prep took on conference rival Hillhouse, a perennial powerhouse in Connecticut High School basketball, and I got my first chance to see Chukwu play. It is the first time I have gotten to see such a highly rated high school player in action, and the kid did not disappoint.

At 7 ‘2, Chukwu is a mismatch essentially every time he steps on the floor at this level. He finished with 15 points, 12 rebounds, and seven blocked shots, but I was most impressed by his ability to play through foul trouble. Chukwu picked up his second foul about halfway through the first quarter, but was able to play a large portion of the rest of the half, all without picking up his third foul. His game is still a little raw, and definitely needs to put some muscle on his current lanky frame, but with solid footwork and the ability to defend the rim, the Providence Friars have landed a promising paint presence for the next four seasons.

Chukwu is currently headlining a solid Friars 2014 recruiting class, joining forces with small forward Jalen Lindsey, who is ranked number 73 on ESPNs top 100 list, and power forward Ben Bentil, who is ranked number 81 on top 150 list. The Friars are currently awaiting word from Jaquan Lyle, who is the 39th ranked player on ESPNs top 100 list. If Lyles does decide to sign, although many people consider that a long shot, the Friars could jump from the 23rd ranked recruiting class (according to ESPN), to possibly somewhere in the top 15.

Chukwu has a chance to develop into a dominant center, and I for one, will hopefully get to see improvements in his game first hand for the rest of the season.