The Dentistry Plus Cockburn Cougars have moved quickly to bolster a key need for 2022, locking away 7-foot-2 big man Paschal Chukwu for the Coles Express NBL1 West season.
Chukwu is a Nigerian native, and Syracuse alumni, making a name for himself as a rim-protecting shot blocker over his four years in orange.
He has since played professionally in Europe, lining up for Lavrio in the Greek Division One league, and Spinelli Massagno in the Swiss Division One league.
“I am a guy who values playing hard above all else – I have a huge desire to win,” he said.
“That can come in any form, it just depends what the team needs from me each game.
Cougars head coach Andrew Cooper indicated someone of Paschal’s size and character will make an immediate impact on the men’s program.
“We needed a defensive fix and we feel we have that with Paschal, particularly with his ability to protect the paint,” he said.
“Certainly that’s not the only part to his game and we are looking forward to seeing him develop in the program, but it definitely fills a need for us that we haven’t had for sometime.
“He will make everyone better and that’s ultimately a great thing for our wider group.”
Cockburn Basketball Chief Executive Tyrone Thwaites said Paschal brings an excitement to the Cougars that will resonate throughout the club.
“Paschal is 7-foot-2, friendly and intelligent man, no doubt this will quickly be picked up by our community,” he said.
“He fully understands the commitment to community required in the Cougar Family, and he knows our juniors are going to look to his work rate and replicate it themselves, so it is important he sets the standard.
“He also wore goggles in college, so we expect that will become the new fashion trend amongst our junior boys.”
Cooper said Chukwu is a high-character athlete, which is a key requirement for the program.
“We know how important getting top notch humans is for the development of our program, and Paschal (Chukwu) ticks all of those boxes,” Cooper said.
“They will be great advocates of both the program and the club in our community, and he will be straight into coaching with our juniors when he gets out here, which no doubt the kids will love.”
Chukwu is the first restricted player signing of the Dentistry Plus men in 2022, with more announcements to come later this month.
“This is a program with significant community support, which is all any player could ever ask for,” Chukwu said.
“The coaches and front office all get along, are prepared to have a laugh, but also are determined to perform.
“It’s the right mix and I am looking forward to working hard alongside everybody else.”
Pre-season training commenced for the local athletes this evening, with Chukwu expected to join the group in late-March.