Interesting piece on those members of the 2014 class that are currently outside the top 50 in the rankings that will have an impact immediately next season at their respective schools. Contributions in the article are from ESPN’s Recruiting Nation staff of Paul Biancardi, Adam Finkelstein, Joel Francisco, Reggie Rankin and John Stovall:
Freshmen have been the talk of this college basketball season, and while the likes ofAndrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid, and Julius Randle have all been as good as advertised, there have certainly been plenty of surprises as well.
Tyler Ennis rose up the rankings to the No. 20 spot in the final ESPN 100 of 2013, but few could have predicted that he would this good this early for Syracuse.
Then there are those like Texas’ Isaiah Taylor, Kansas State’s Marcus Foster, and Villanova’s Josh Hart, freshmen who have exceeded the prevailing expectations at the time of their signings and have made an immediate impact.
In some cases, these contributions can be more predictable than others, such as when there is an immediate opportunity or a particularly good fit with the program’s style of play. With that in mind, we asked our team of RecruitingNation experts to look ahead and identify one current ESPN 100 prospect outside of the top 50 who they believe can make a notable immediate contribution.
Reggie Rankin: I think center Paschal Chukwu (Westport, Conn./Fairfield College Prep), a Providence signee, will be a player outside of the top 50 that will make an immediate impact next season as a college freshman. The No. 61 player brings Friars coach Ed Cooley an immediate rim protector on the defensive end of the floor with his length. The 7-foot-1 Chukwu’s mobility and shot-block timing on or away from the ball is a thing of beauty. He is also a very active and productive rebounder. His defense is clearly ahead of his offense, but Chukwu will develop his already soft touch once he arrives on the Providence campus. Adding strength should be at the top of his to-do list in addition to his offensive development, but make no mistake about it: Chukwu will make opponents think twice about challenging him at the rim.