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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Saturday / December 15.
  • Akok Akok still weighing college, NBA options

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Akok Akok is one of two players at the National Prep Showcase eligible for the 2019 NBA Draft because of his age and the fact he’s one year removed from his graduating class.

    But unlike N.C. State commit Jalen Lecque, the 6-foot-8, 175-pound Akok has not yet committed to a school. And also unlike the 6-4 Lecque, Akok is not on ESPN’s 2019 mock draft while the bouncy Lecque is a projected first-round pick.

    “I’m just taking it day by day,” Akok told the New Haven Register before going for 8 points and 6 rebounds in a 78-68 win over CBD Montverde Academy Saturday night at Albertus Magnus College. “Considering the NBA is just an option. School is an option, too. It doesn’t mean I’m going to the NBA, maybe it does mean I’m going to the NBA.”

    ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, for one, believes Akok isn’t ready for the NBA.

    “Probably should head to college,” he Tweeted.

    Akok lists UConn, Georgetown, Providence, Pittsburgh and Syracuse as his final five schools, but it appears more like he won’t sign anywhere until the spring. Lecque said he’s leaning toward signing by Wednesday’s NCAA early signing deadline while keeping his NBA options open.

    “I’m just weighing out the options,” Akok said.

    UConn coach Dan Hurley and his staff have made Akok a major priority in the Class of 2019, and have visited him several times. Fresh off coaching in the 2K Classic at Madison Square Garden this week, Hurley is expected at the National Prep Showcase on Sunday for 2019 commit James Bouknight of the MacDuffie School (MA) and uncommitted Woodstock Academy (CT) center Tre Mitchell.

    UConn is in the mix for several 2019 bigs, including Akok, Mitchell, Kofi Cockburn and Flint Hill School (VA) big man Qudus Wahab. Both Cockburn and Wahab will sign late.

    “I feel I can picture myself going to UConn,” Akok told the Register. “It’s a great school, it would be a great situation where I could stay at home and contribute.”

    “They said I could come in and be a big contributor,” he added, “and that I could change the team and bring the team different places and help them win a national championship.”

    Akok could also opt to enter the NBA G League next year, a route that Lecque said he definitely won’t do. The G League will offer $125,000 to select high school players beginning in 2019-20.

    Putnam Science coach Tom Espinosa, for one, doesn’t think Akok would be ready for the NBA next season.

    “I think it’s a very slim chance he does that,” Espinosa told the Register. “I think he could, but very slim. Physically, I think he’ll even struggle next year in college. Physically, he needs to get stronger. That’s his biggest weakness. We’ll see.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.