September 17

Paschal Chukwu’s high school coach: ‘The guy’s an NBA player’

first_imgLeo Redgate is tired of hearing that Paschal Chukwu isn’t an explosive offensive player.Redgate, who coached the recent 7-foot-2 Providence transfer and Syracuse commit for two years at Fairfield Prep in Connecticut, raved about the untapped potential in his former player and how SU’s system will play much more to Chukwu’s advantage than Providence’s did.During his freshman season with the Friars, Chukwu played every game but averaged less than 10 minutes and averaged only 2.6 points and 2.4 rebounds per contest.“I’m not trying to put down Providence, but not once was he given the ball,” Redgate said. “I think that’s important, if you’re just going to sit him down at the block and hope he gets rebounds, then you’re wasting his time because he’s so much more than a 7-foot-2 player.”At Fairfield Prep, Redgate said Chukwu wasn’t the type of player who’d feed a guard with an outlet pass and go park himself on the low block on the other end of the court.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textRather he’d dart down the middle of the court looking for the ball back to create offense in transition, which is an aspect of his game his former coach thinks will mesh well in SU’s system.“I’m very confident that after he sits out the year at Syracuse, we’ll see a dramatically different stat line than what Paschal saw at Providence,” Redgate said. “One of the reasons why is the way Syracuse plays, their big men run the floor and Paschal is one of the more athletic big men you will see.”Redgate pegged Chukwu’s help-side defense as his best attribute, something that is integral of the middle man in the 2-3 zone as that piece needs to slide across the paint depending on where the drive is coming from.Granted, 7 feet 2 inches in the middle of a zone is daunting enough, but a big man’s footwork will always be in question, an attribute of Chukwu’s that Redgate has seen vast improvement in over the past four years.“If they have plans on putting him in the middle of the 2-3 zone, look out,” Redgate said.In recent years aside from Rakeem Christmas’ senior season, Syracuse hasn’t been known for getting much offensive production out of its big men. Baye Moussa Keita wasn’t an offensive threat, Christmas wasn’t for his first three years and DaJuan Coleman has been hampered by injury.But Chukwu, if simply given the ball, could show a dynamic that has yet to be exposed. Redgate noted that at Fairfield Prep, Chukwu would constantly get the ball in the short corner, pump fake and throw down a “monstrous dunk.”“Well, you never saw that at Providence because he never got the ball there,” Redgate said.An elbow jumper, foul-line jumper and efficient pump fake are all mid-range aspects that Chukwu can bring, Redgate added, and his soft touch is something that’s underrated because of his length.With the Friars, Chukwu wasn’t able to get into a rhythm since he played in spurts, something Redgate said stunted his level of production. He repeatedly praised Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim and assistant coach Mike Hopkins, pointing out that Hopkins kept in constant contact with Redgate and always felt having Chukwu at SU would be mutually beneficial.Now, it’s just about tapping into the potential that hasn’t yet been unveiled.“I think you’re going to see a completely different player because it’s in him,” Redgate said. “The guy’s an NBA player, he’s not a college basketball player, he’s an NBA player.” Comments Published on June 28, 2015 at 6:12 pm Contact Matt: [email protected] | @matt_schneidman Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

August 26

J.J. Redick moves his way past back injury for Clippers

first_imgIt was Monday morning at Clippers shootaround ahead of their game that night at Staples Center, where they would lay a 40-point smackdown on the Golden State Warriors to even their Western Conference playoff series at 1-1.Guard J.J. Redick was asked how big a role Doc Rivers coming to coach the Clippers played in him coming to the team in a three-team sign-and-trade deal.“He was the selling point and I let him know that, too,” Redick said. “I told him I wanted to play for him. I had wanted to play for him for five or six years.”Funny man that he can be, Rivers’ response later Monday — about two hours before tip-off at Staples Center — was not surprising. Rivers coached Allen and the 2007-08 Celtics to the NBA title.Redick, who is 6-foot-4, came to the Clippers from Milwaukee, his third team of the 2012-13 campaign. He spent the first six years of his career in Orlando and has a career scoring average of 9.9, but he’s averaged a career-best 15.2 this season. He’s also a career 88.5 percent free-throw shooter.Redick’s overall career field-goal percentage of 43.2 percent is not fantastic. But he takes half of his shots from beyond the 3-point arc, and his 39 percent from there is solid.The way he goes about his business in that regard is electric. He’ll be out there running around more than anybody, with deft moves while trying to get open. He’ll catch, quickly pop and often make.Redick has the attention of Warriors coach Mark Jackson.“We talk about, obviously, their two best players in (Chris) Paul and Griffin, two of the top 10 players in the world,” Jackson said ahead of Game 2. “At the same time, we break down how other guys can hurt us. J.J. Redick has a body of work, we know exactly how he can hurt us and we’re just trying to be committed to make him work and not giving him open looks.“I thought a couple of times we made some mistakes (in Game 1), but overall I thought we did a good job of defending him.”Redick scored 22 points in the Game 1 loss, making 8 of 11 from the field, 4 of 5 from 3-point range. It’s that kind of effort he is capable of giving every night. When he doesn’t, he’s mad.“J.J. could go 8 of 9 and he’d be pissed,” Rivers said of the fire in Redick’s belly.Griffin loves it.“He means a lot, man,” Griffin said. “He’s played in big games, his basketball IQ is high level, very high level. He knows exactly what his role is, he knows how to get shots and he knows what he has to do to be successful.“And he plays hard. Above all else, he’s always going to play hard, whether he’s making shots or not. He’s going to be the guy that you have to chase off screens and he’s a bit of a pest defensively. He’s never going to give up, and that’s the type of teammate you want.”Yeah, he is tenacious.“I grew up in a family of five kids; I was the middle one,” he said. “We weren’t well off. So I grew up in a very competitive environment, whether it was getting our parents to come to your basketball game or getting second servings of pizza. Everything was a competition. There was only so much to go around, only so much time. And so I think it gives you a certain mental toughness when you grow up in that environment.”If Redick weren’t so tough, he’d have never been able to get through what has been a painful season, no thanks to a bulging disc in his back that kept him out of the lineup for two months before he returned to play five of the last six regular-season games. Of the 82 games, he played in 35. He was almost shut down.“It was days, yeah,” said Rivers, noting how close he came to doing that. “It says a lot (about Redick) because I mean, honestly, I think the guys know that there was a time when, I mean, he wasn’t coming back. I was getting myself comfortable with that idea.“And then all of a sudden he decided, ‘I’m just going to go play, and if we gotta do something this summer, we’ll do something this summer. But I’m going to play.’ It’s been good for us.”The sometimes-smile on a face that might rather depict pain — but won’t — says a lot.“I feel like I’m still making progress, but I’m very close to feeling my normal self,” Redick said. “As an athlete who is very in tune with his body, it’s a very, very small margin that I’m talking about. But I know it’s still there a little bit.“But to look back two weeks ago when I first started playing, I’ve come a long way, so I’m very happy. There was a point a few weeks ago where there wasn’t really any improvement made. The nerve wasn’t responding. There was talk of operating, but we didn’t want to have to go that route. Hopefully, my nerve and my body will heal.” It is healing, and that’s why any reluctance to do what he does is vanishing.“I feel like that kind of hesitancy is gone,” Redick said.Rivers showed no hesitancy in helping bring Redick to the Clippers. Nor in getting him his dough. “You sure it wasn’t that $6, $7 million? I think that had a little to do with it,” Rivers said, alluding to Redick’s $6.5 million salary this season. ”But what do I know?”The packed room of local and visiting Bay Area reporters laughed and laughed.Rivers got serious. He had a specific player in mind when Redick’s name came across his table, like one like he had coached while with the Boston Celtics.“I’ve always loved his ability to move without the ball,” Rivers said of Redick, 29, out of Duke. “And when you looked at our team and with having DJ (DeAndre Jordan) and Blake (Griffin) on the floor, I thought it was really important to have a guy that moves off of them. … I like guys who move without the ball.“Ray Allen, we had him in Boston and it worked out for us there. And I just think when you have a guy like that, it’s really important.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more