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For Providence coach Ed Cooley, the commitment is a result of years of hard work, dating back to his time as the coach at the University of Fairfield. Providence made Chukwu a top priority not just this year, but also in the summer of 2012, when he was still flying very low below the national radar.
“I’m close to the coaching staff, I’ve been up to Providence many times and I thought it was a good fit for me,” Chukwu told ESPN. “I like how Coach Cooley relates to players.”
The commitment is an absolutely huge one for Providence as Chukwu joins Jalen Lindsey (Franklin, TN/Hungtington Prep) to become the second ESPN 100 product to commit to Providence this year. That’s significant for a number of reasons.
First, the 2014 class is expected to be a big one for Providence, with potentially as many as five scholarships to fill. Lindsey and Chukwu give Providence just the early anchors it was looking for, while also addressing its top priorities in the frontcourt.
Chukwu's size and length are his most obvious assets, but he also has a great pair of feet for a guy his size, giving him outstanding agility and mobility to cover the court. He's an excellent shot-blocker whose ability to change direction only makes him that much more dangerous patrolling the paint and protecting the rim from wide radius's. He's also a diligent rebounder who is content to dominate a game on the defensive end. While he doesn't need a ton of touches to stay engaged, Chukwu has tools to work with in a soft touch, a passer's instinct, fairly good hands, and the ability to change ends of the floor.
Physical strength is his top priority right now. His lean body type and high center of gravity make it difficult for him to hold his position against contact at times. His defense is far ahead of his offense right now. He needs to become a more consistent finisher at the rim, establish a go-to move with his back to the basket, and begin to learn how to play pick and roll.
He needs to get stronger and develop his offensive game, but this is a seven-footer who can anchor your team defensively, will give you a diligent effort, and has tools to continue to develop in the years to come.