Paschal Chukwu shows just a glimpse in 44-point win over Holy Cross

first_imgJim Boeheim has made it abundantly clear: Paschal Chukwu still has a lot to learn. The 7-foot-2 sophomore redshirted last season after transferring from Providence, and it’s noticeable, even after spending last year practicing with Syracuse, Chukwu’s not yet molded himself into SU’s system.His movement in the zone has been far from seamless. He’s struggled to catch the ball, especially in transition. But his measurements are undeniable, and he’s the tallest player in program history. Chukwu doesn’t have to do much more than stick his hands up to barricade most players from the basket. That’s largely what he leaned on Tuesday night, and he offered the Orange a glimpse at the elite front-court presence he could become.In No. 18 Syracuse’s (2-0) 90-46 win against Holy Cross (0-2), Chukwu recorded a game-high three blocks. He went through his usual progressions with Boeheim, committing a team-high three fouls and getting shuttled on and off the court. But in those fleeting moments, with his arms speared in the air to cover a shooter, Chukwu’s game looks stitched together.“Keeping my hands up helps a lot,” Chukwu said. “That means I’ll be quicker to the ball. In this league we have talented guards that can maneuver and move the ball well, so you have to be able to time the ball and their release.“If you try and jump with them, the refs tend to call a foul.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Published on November 16, 2016 at 3:31 am Contact Connor: [email protected] | @connorgrossman So, just 23 seconds after being subbed in for the first time, Chukwu stayed grounded. Crusaders forward Malachi Alexander fed a ball down low to 6-foot-6 teammate Robert Champion. Champion caught the ball as he cut under the basket and tried to lift a shot as he collided with Chukwu.But before the ball could even leave Champion’s hands, it stuck in Chukwu’s. The SU center didn’t even have to jump.“If you have length, it’s much easier (to block a shot),” Chukwu said. “But you have to get your timing together.”Once again, in a brief moment, Chukwu was reined in. But it didn’t take long for him to momentarily unwind, and perhaps it was never more evident than on offense in the final minutes of the first half. As John Gillon advanced toward Holy Cross’ basket with the ball, Chukwu set a pick for his point guard at the top of the arc.It worked perfectly as Gillon zipped around Chukwu near the free-throw line. But as the point guard let go of a pass intended for the trailing Andrew White, the ball was thrown right into the face of Chukwu. It slammed into his right eye, dislodging his contact lens and forcing the center to play bleary-eyed as the ball landed right back in the hands of the Crusaders. No matter, he still blocked another Champion shot before being subbed out minutes later.“He’s got a way to go,” Boeheim said. “We just have to be patient with him. Just hang in there, it’s going to take a while. I just hope it’s in my lifetime.”At least in nonconference play, Chukwu is still going to get significant minutes on the court. The leash will remain short, the learning curve steep and at least for the time being, Boeheim’s postgame remarks stagnant until he sees more than just a glimpse of the player he wants Chukwu to be. Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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