The optimism’s grown in Providence since Ed Cooley returned to his hometown to take over the Providence basketball program. And there’s even more room for positive thoughts, as 7-2 center Paschal Chukwu committed to attend the Big East school via Twitter on Thursday.
Chukwu, who attends Fairfield Prep (Conn.) and played for the Connecticut Basketball Club this summer, joins wing Jalen Lindsey as commitments in Providence’s 2014 class (both are ranked in the Top 100 of many of the major scouting services). The hope amongst the Friar faithful is that those two aren’t it, as Expressions Elite (Mass.) teammates Abdul-Malik Abu and Jared Terrell will announce their college choices on September 7.
Both players cut their respective college lists to four earlier this month, with Providence being the lone school being considered by Abu and Terrell. The other three finalists for Abu’s services are UConn, Florida and N.C. State, with Cincinnati, Oklahoma State and Rhode Island being the other three schools on Terrell’s list. How likely is it that Abu and Terrell will decide to attend the same school? That remains to be seen, but the fact that Providence remains in the discussion is another sign that Cooley and his staff have things headed in the right direction.
As for Chukwu, he’s an important addition to the front court considering Providence’s current rotation. Kadeem Batts, who was the Big East’s Co-Most Improved Player last season (shared with Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams), and Lee Goldsbrough are seniors and Wake Forest transfer Carson Desrosiers will be a junior in 2013-14. Also in the junior class are returnees LaDontae Henton and Brice Kofane, with N.C. State transfer Tyler Harris (sophomore) and freshmen Brandon Austin and Rodney Bullock being the underclassmen.
With Desrosiers having just one more season of eligibility after the 2013-14 campaign the Friars needed to add some size in the 2014 class. Landing a verbal commitment from Chukwu, one of the best shot blockers in his class, accomplishes that goal.