Kansas coach Bill Self told The Kansas City Star last week that he was intrigued by the idea of adding a transfer big man to his 2015 recruiting class. Here’s another possible name to monitor: Former Providence center Paschal Chukwu.
Kansas reached out to the father of Chukwu early this week, according to Rivals.com. The news came just one day after it was reported that Chukwu would leave Providence after one season. A 7-foot-2 center, Chukwu was a top-75 recruit in the class of 2014 out of Fairfield College Prep School in Fairfield, Conn.
Chukwu averaged 2.6 points and 2.4 rebounds as a freshman and likely would have been Providence’s starting center as a sophomore. Instead, he will sit out the year after transferring and have three years of eligibility remaining.
Self and his staff have been reaching out to a slew of possible transfer big men in recent weeks, including former Mizzou forward Johnathan Williams III. The Jayhawks will have four returning big men on the roster in 2015-16 and have already signed All-American forwards Carlton Bragg and Cheick Diallo.
But Kansas could face a frontcourt shortage in 2016-17. The Jayhawks will lose Perry Ellis, Jamari Traylor and Hunter Mickelson to graduation, while Diallo projects as a possible one-and-done player. From that sense, Self said last week, a transfer makes sense. A player such as Williams III or Chukwu could sit out next season and then add another veteran frontcourt presence the following season. Per NCAA rules, Self is not allowed to comment on specific recruits.
Earlier this week, Providence coach Ed Cooley told the Providence Journal newspaper that he was blind-sided by Chukwu’s decision to transfer.
“The Chukwu thing,” Cooley said, “I was blown away.”
He added: “I didn’t know he was unhappy. It was a total shocker. It blew me completely out of the water.”
According to Cooley, Chukwu said he wanted a “different college experience.”
At the moment, Kansas officially has two open scholarships, but one of those could belong to LaGerald Vick, a 6-foot-5 wing who committed to KU on Sunday after an official visit last week. Vick, a former SMU commit, will likely end up in the 2015 class, but he has considered spending a year in prep school next season.
On Sunday, Vick’s AAU coach, Norton Hurd, said Vick was still speaking to the KU staff about when he’ll arrive at Kansas.