FAIRFIELD >> With the start of the high school basketball season just right around the corner, one of the state’s best players is headed in 100 percent focused.
Fairfield Prep’s Paschal Chukwu, who announced via Twitter in late August his decision to attend Providence, signed his National Letter of Intent on Wednesday afternoon to play basketball for the school in the fall of 2014.
“(It’s a relief) to get this over and done with before the season starts,” he said. “And now I can focus on the games and winning the games.”
The 7-foot-2 center, who had attracted offers from other Division I programs, including St. Joseph, said he got to know Providence head coach Ed Cooley and they were one of the programs that took notice and showed an interest from the beginning.
Chukwu said he likes the direction where Providence, which plays in the Big East, is headed. Last season the Friars finished with a 19-15 record and lost in the NIT quarterfinals to Baylor.
“I mean (they are) a growing program, they have a great coach in Coach Cooley,” he said.
Chukwu, who was a Register All-State selection, averaged 12.8 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocks a game for Prep last year. He said he’s looking to bring that dynamic to the next level.
“I’m a shot blocker. I can rebound. My offense is still a work in progress, so I think I can definitely bring defense to them and then go from there,” he said.
Bowtell headed to UVA
One of the Jesuits most highly-decorated divers in program history will get a chance to see what he can do on the next level.
Wednesday afternoon, Fairfield Prep’s Jake Bowtell signed his National Letter of Intent to dive at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. in the fall of 2014.
“Well, first of all I’m really excited,” Bowtell said. “The team (at UVA) is great. The coach is new but I’m excited because he’s got a wealth of experience. It’s a good environment to go to. I’m excited to get a good degree.”
Bowtell, who won the SCC and State Open diving title titles last winter, and is a three-time All-American, will be under the direction of Jason Glorius, who was hired this fall. Glorius comes from Denison University where he was the 2013 NCAA Division III Men’s Diving Coach of the Year.
Bowtell said his decision came down to UVA, Georgia and LSU.
“They (UVA) kind of talked to me about how they were looking to do better at the NCAAs and the national championship meets and stay consistent,” Bowtell said.
Bowtell, who came to Prep from Darien, is a fifth-year senior at the school, and will not be able to compete at the high school level this winter because of ineligibility. However, he said he plans to continue swimming with his club team, Whirlwind Diving, which is based from the New Canaan YMCA.
He said he still plans to support Prep this coming season.
“I’m going to help out and go to the meets, obviously some of the home ones,” he said.