Chris McCullough’s shocking decision to declare for the NBA draft despite a serious knee injury left many Orange fans worrying about Syracuse’s depth in the front court. Fans hope that the return of DaJuan Coleman can fill in the absence of Christmas and McCullough but looking past next season, there is more hope. Some of this worry may be alleviated as Providence Big-Man Paschal Chukwu is transferring and is considering Syracuse.
Paschal did not play much in his Freshman year at Providence, averaging just 2.6 points and 2.4 rebounds. However, Paschal stands at 7-2 and you cannot teach 7-2. The Orange play that famous 2-3 zone and, as Christmas showed this year, a big, shot-blocking Center in that zone is, no pun intended, huge.
No one knows what the Orange will get out of their big men this year. DuJuan Coleman hasn’t played in almost two years, Chinoso Obokoh hasn’t shown much in his limited playing time and forward/center Moustapha Diagne is entering his first season.
However, a freshman year with less than impressive statistics is not necessarily a cause for concern. The hero of the 2014-15 season, Rakeem Christmas posted similar numbers to Chukwu in his freshman year, 2.8 points and 2.9 rebounds.
In 2016, as of today, the Orange have one commit in Matthew Moyer. If Chukwu were to come to Syracuse, he would take the last available scholarship for 2016 due to the scholarship reductions. This would eliminate the possibility of the Orange bringing in a Center in the Class of 2016 like Sedee Keita.
However, there is something to be said for bringing in a guy who has NCAA Division I experience. Syracuse is all too familiar with players with big expectations coming in and falling flat in his freshman year (i.e. Kaleb Joseph).
There is no clear reason for Chukwu’s decision to transfer other than that he said he was looking for a “a change of scenery”. This seems a little bizarre but if he does indeed come to Syracuse, none of that matters. The Orange have a chance to maybe, just maybe, find their next Rakeem Chrismas.
Posted: Logan Grossman