Each day leading up to Orange Madness we will be releasing our player previews for the 2016-2017 Syracuse basketball season. Today’s player preview: Paschal Chukwu
Last year Syracuse was short-handed at the center position with DaJuan Coleman coming off an injury plagued season and stretch-four Tyler Lydon was forced to play the five. In hindsight, Lydon played exceptional and Coleman was able to put together a respectable junior season.
This year figure to be different as Jim Boeheim has options at center. After sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules, Paschal Chukwu — formerly rated No. 61 in the 2014 ESPN 100 — is now eligible for the 2016-2017 campaign.
Chukwu comes to Syracuse by way of Providence. There in his freshman season, he was still raw but managed to put up 2.6 points and 2.4 rebounds in less than 10 minutes per game. With a year under his belt to build strength and learn the 2-3 zone, Chukwu figures to be an integral piece for Syracuse this year.
Chukwu will undoubtedly be a force in the back line of the 2-3 zone. Standing at 7-foot-2, he’ll have plenty of opportunity to rebound and block/alter shots in the paint. Offensively, don’t expect Chukwu to score aside from put-backs and lobs at the rim. He has worked industriously on his post game since arriving at Syracuse but he’s still best suited on the defensive end.
The key for Chukwu will be his ability to get up and down the court and to make shots around the rim. If he can do those two things well and capitalize on rebounding and playing defense, he will have a great sophomore season.