July 31, 2012

Paschal Chukwu Could be the Next Big Thing

The story of how 7-foot-2 Nigerian native Paschal Chukwu got to where he is today is mostly a mystery. The story of where his immense basketball talents will take him as yet to be told. But the story of what he is doing in his life right now, in an effort to turn an American basketball dream into a successful life is ready to be told; and it's quite a story.

In the final week of July, 2012, Chukwu blew up on the recruiting circuit after some breakout play in Orlando where he manned the center position for his Connecticut Basketball Club team. College coaches were anxiously flipping through their roster books trying to figure out just who the giant-like big man was, and where he was from.

Before too long the word had spread, Paschal Chukwu has a chance to be a great player.

Coming from humble routes in Nigeria, Chukwu has only been in America for about two years. After bouncing around some the rising junior has finally settled into a place he can call home as he recently enrolled at Fairfield (CT) Prep School. In fact, it wasn't even until Chukwu got to America that he really started to take the sport of basketball seriously. Like most children from the continent of Africa, Chukwu grew up playing soccer. Before long his height dictated that he should try and move from a white ball to an orange one, and a love affair was born.

Don't get it confused when we say that Chukwu is the next great thing. He has a long, long way to go. But for someone who has already come so far, his chances of getting to his destination don't seem that unlikely.

Coaches around Chukwu, who wish to remain unnamed to keep the young center's hype from reaching a breaking point, believe that before long he will be one of the top prospects in the country. In fact this July, one college coach went as far as to offer to bet his job on the fact that before his career is over Chukwu will be in the upper part of the Rivals150 rankings.

Referencing the big man's size, outstanding wingspan, mobility, and effort on the court, the coach said that he is one of those rare big men prospects who has unlimited potential.

Right now Chukwu's development and recruitment are being handled a little differently then the typical way a top recruit goes through the process. Chukwu pays little to no attention at this point to who is recruiting him, and doesn't plan on for at least a year. A coach close to him told Rivals that, "He could care less right now. He's so focused on getting better and being a great student. Academics are something that he really prides himself in. He won't even begin to look at the college decision process for a year. He's not concerned with who calls, or sends a letter, because he's smart enough to know that almost any coach is going to look into a rising junior who is 7-foot-2.

Colleges might not look into any kid that tall, but they will look at Chukwu because of the way that he produced in Orlando. The CBC center was swatting away shot after shot, running the floor, and was one of the best hustlers on the floor; constantly being the first one to dive to the ground for a loose ball.

With so little formal basketball training, it's safe to say that the Nigerian's potential is downright frightening. His coach went on to say that, "He doesn't even know how to dunk the ball yet he's so raw, it's going to be scary how good he'll be after some time getting coached. There's no reason that he can't one day be a pro.

As we mentioned earlier, Chukwu's circle wishes to keep many of the schools recruiting him a secret. But schools like Seton Hall, Cincinnati, Kansas, Virginia Tech, and Pittsburgh where seen at his AAU games this past month; while Xavier, Connecticut, and Providence are believed to have reached out.

Recruiting Chukwu for Xavier will be assistant coach Ashley Howard, who is very familiar with the recruiting landscape of that part of the country. As Chukwu's name continues to get bigger and bigger, the Musketeers just might have a slight advantage in the courtship process as not only can they offer a stringent academic schedule, but they were one of the very first programs to take notice of one of the top young center talents in the nation.

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