The race to try and land talented transfer forward Akok Akok began today.
The three programs that are attempting to get out to a quick start with the hopes of signing the UConn transfer are Pitt, West Virginia and Georgetown.
Akok’s former AAU coach Vin Pastore tells Pittsburgh Sports Now that Akok is getting a visit today in Storrs, Connecticut from WVU head coach Bob Huggins. From there, Akok will make an official visit to Georgetown on Wednesday, followed by a trip to Pitt on Friday and Saturday. If a decision hasn’t been made by then, the expectation is that Akok will then take an official visit early next week to Morgantown.
In a phone conversation Monday afternoon, Pastore went over the possible attractions that the Pitt program could have for his former star player.
“The bottom line is that he (Akok) tore his ACL,” he said. “He was a freshman starter at UConn and then tore his ACL and has been recovering and getting healthy the last year. He came back last year and didn’t end up getting the amount of minutes that he was hoping for and of course, he was still in recovery (from the ACL injury). He has two years left to play and he’s really just looking for a good opportunity. Pitt really needs that position badly. He really is a high, high level kid. He’s 6’10”, can shoot the three at a high level and is a premiere rim protector.”
Before deciding to originally sign with UConn, Akok’s finalists were Pitt, Georgetown and Syracuse. I asked if the previous familiarity with Capel could be a positive for the Panthers in their efforts to land him.
“Yeah, he knows them, he’s already had a little bit of a relationship with them since Pitt was one of his finalists. Yeah, that absolutely helps to some degree because he already knows the people there. Really, that happens a lot in these cases as the teams that previously recruited a player, if they still have interest, will call which is a help. Plus, I happen to have a great relationship with Milan Brown that go back to his days in New England when he was at Holy Cross. He’s a great guy, so that helps as well.”
The final thing I talked to Pastore about was the intriguing possibility of Akok teaming up with star forward John Hugley and would give Pitt a pretty formidable 1-2 punch in the front court.
“Yes, those two players have different skill sets,” said Pastore. “So, I think it would give Pitt one hell of a front court. The opportunity would be there for Akok to be a four-man, who can shoot the basketball offensively, opposite the strengths of John.”