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Tracking the Stars of the Future

Hoops Recruiting Report
Friday, February 3, 2006

By Thad Mumau

ECU's big man of the future honing raw skills


Chad Wynne is much like a chunk of clay that needs a bit more shaping and then some aging before it will be a fine piece of pottery. In his case, the maturation process will continue at East Carolina.

A plus for both Wynne and the Pirates is that the 6-11½ center is gaining an extra year of experience before jumping into Division I basketball.

He is spending it at North Atlanta Prep Academy in Covington, GA, landing there in what has to be viewed as blessing in disguise. He cast his lot with Georgia State last year when he was a senior at Marietta (GA) High School, but came up short academically.

That is why Wynne is at North Atlanta Prep playing for coach John Wilkins, and that’s a good thing for the big guy. And for ECU.

“Chad has come so far,” Wilkins said, “so very far since he arrived here. He has improved unbelievably, and he continues to get better every day. We have worked together on a lot of things he had never even thought about before, and he has worked hard on his own.”

Wynne is averaging around 16 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots through 22 games (15-7) after getting 12 points, 10 boards and four blocks in his final season at Marietta High. This year, of course, he is playing against tougher competition.

He has season highs of 27 points and 14 rebounds (in separate games) and has taken over games on occasion.

“Chad is a beast in the making,” Wilkins said of the 255-pounder. “He is pretty strong right now, but he’s got to get stronger, and he will. He is very long, with a wing span that puts him at 7-3 in actual playing size.

“He is unique in that he is a very good post player, and one who has one of the better shooting touches I have seen for someone his size. You want him inside, but he can make it difficult for defenses because he can step outside and hit jump shots.

“He has good footwork and runs the floor pretty well. He needs work on quickness, especially on lateral movement, and strength. He needs to be more instinctive with his moves.

“But that will come,” Wilkins said. “He has learned so many things, and he goes through them in his mind before choosing what to do. He’s thinking about it instead of just doing it. It takes time to do it by instinct.”

Wynne is developing an assortment of post moves that include a turnaround jumper, a jump hook and a sky hook.

“His first option is the turnaround jumper from the baseline,” Wilkins said. “That’s his best weapon. Second is his turnaround jumper from the lane. Then comes his jump hook and then the sky hook.

“That’s something he doesn’t use enough. He shoots the sky hook from the baseline, and it’s unstoppable. I think he has a good one, but he isn’t real confident in it yet.”

Confidence has been one of the missing ingredients for Wynne.

“He really didn’t have any when he got here,” Wilkins said, “especially on offense. He was happy to rebound and block shots, then let everybody else play offense. He was a big body without a lot of skills. Now he’s getting that swagger.

“His defense is coming along too. Chad is learning how to front the post, how to put his body on the guy he’s guarding. A lot of the kids he’s defending are smaller, and that makes it tough for him because they are also quicker. But that will help him in the long run because he has to move his feet.”

Auburn, Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech, South Florida and Centenary offered Wynne scholarships in addition to East Carolina and Georgia State, according to Wilkins. Miami also showed interest.

Wynne’s only visit this year was to Greenville, and he enjoyed it so much that he canceled scheduled trips to South Florida and Centenary.

“Chad just loved Coach (Ricky) Stokes and his staff,” the North Atlanta Prep coach said. “Coach Stokes is going to work with him and give him the chance to play.

“East Carolina needed a big man, and I think Chad is going to be that guy. He has only been playing basketball since the 10th grade. He still has a way to go, but he has come a long way in a short time.”

Send an e-mail message to Thad Mumau.

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02/23/2007 02:42:42 PM


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