BASKETBALL RECRUITING SPOTLIGHT: RUSSELL TCHEWA

Red Raiders head coach Chris Beard talks with forward Zach Smith (11) on the sidelines in the first half against the Texas Longhorns during the Big 12 Championship Tournament at Sprint Center.Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Red Raiders land 7-foot center

Texas Tech basketball landed a 7-foot center as Russell Tchewa became the second player to commit to the Red Raiders 2019 recruiting class when he let the world know of his intentions last week.

The native of Cameroon is a senior at Putnam Science Academy, a private school that the Red Raiders coaching staff has developed into a recruiting pipeline. Current Texas Tech players Malik Ondigo and Josh Mballa are both products of the elite academy.

While playing in the EuroLeague in 2017-18, the athletic 18-year-old Tchewa produced respectable numbers of 13.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Listed at 7-0, 250, Tchewa fits the bill of a traditional center. He’s comfortable playing with his back to the basket, and he has a good low-post game for a young center. Tchewa has quick feet for a guy his size and finishes well underneath the basket. On the defensive side of the ball, Tchewa is an imposing figure and alters shots. Although he’s not a dominant rebounder, Tchewa has shown the ability to pound the glass during his limited EuroLeague action.

Tchewa’s commitment brings an element the Red Raiders have been missing for quite some time. In an era where centers have now become stretch-fours, traditional centers are hard to come by. Over the past few years, the Red Raiders have been filling the center void with athletic forwards. The commitment of Tchewa couldn’t have come at a better time for the Red Raiders, who are set to lose upper-classmen Norense Odiase and Tariq Owen after this season.

Tchewa’s unique skillset has the potential to form a complete offense for the Red Raiders. An inside game for the Red Raiders will generate space for the guards to penetrate and knock down open shots. Not to be overlooked, Tchewa’s towering size also provides a rim protector for the Red Raiders who finished 5th in the Big 12 in blocked shots per game a year ago.

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