UC Irvine lands big man from France

New UC Irvine coach Russell Turner has spoken of the school's desire to recruit internationally, and his staff's mining efforts apparently have already begun to pay off in France.

Turner said the program has signed 6-foot-8 French forward Maxime Chupin, and the 21-year-old could be a significant get for the Anteaters if the NCAA clears him to play.

Chupin played alongside professionals for the club team Cholet, which developed recent NBA draft picks Kevin Seraphin, Rodrigue Beaubois and Nando De Colo.

New NCAA rules could allow Chupin to gain immediate eligibility if he has not received compensation.

Recruited from videotape of his play and through the connections of UC Irvine assistant coach Ali Ton, Chupin will likely be somewhat of a mystery upon his arrival in Orange County.

One sign Chupin might fit in well playing college ball the United States? He already has his own fan club on Facebook.

UPDATE: Chupin, who averaged 12.5 points, 7 rebounds and shot 45 percent from 3-point range, is slated to be used at center.

"He is a mature, inside-out player who has developed his skills competing with, and against, some outstanding players," Turner said in a statement.