Emmanuel Akot was a late addition to the Arizona Wildcats’ 2017 recruiting class last May.
The five-star forward was originally a 2018 prospect, but he reclassified to 2017, putting him on track to join the Wildcats in the upcoming season.
Though talented, the 18-year-old skipped his senior year of high school, and will likely come off the bench at Arizona in his first season.
Thus, Akot is not expected to be a one-and-done in Tucson, but because of his long-term potential, Kerry Miller of Bleacher Report listed Akot as one of the “elite college basketball freshmen most likely to stay for multiple seasons.”
Emmanuel Akot is a 6'7" wing-forward who can both play and defend any position from 2 through 4. It's hard to imagine a reason he would need to play the 1, but in a pinch, he's got the ball-handling skills and vision to run the point.
Unfortunately for him, Arizona's starting 2 through 4 jobs are already just about set in stone for Allonzo Trier, Rawle Alkins and Ayton. And with Keanu Pinder, UNC-Asheville transfer Dylan Smith and incoming freshmen Ira Lee and Brandon Randolph also in the conversation for playing time at those positions, Akot may have a tough time carving out minutes.
Some guys reclassify so they can hurry up and get to the NBA. For Akot, the decision was probably made so he could get a year of experience in the system before taking over as its leader.
Miller’s assessment is fair, though Sean Miller did say Akot is one of Arizona’s options to back up Parker Jackson-Cartwright at point guard. Plus, because of Akot’s size, it’s plausible that he could play up to four positions, giving him plenty of ways to crack into Arizona’s rotation.
We didn’t get much of a look at Akot in Arizona’s Spain exhibition tour last month because he got injured in the second (and final) game, but physically he did look like he’s ready to compete at the collegiate level.
And while it’s probably true that Akot’s best years at Arizona will be his sophomore year and beyond when he can take on a major role, his versatility on both ends of the floor could make him a valuable role player from day one.
Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire