While Arizona Wildcats fans are probably excited about adding Georgetown transfer James Akinjo to their team, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim would probably advise them to pump the brakes.
In December, the 75-year-old Hall of Fame coach had some harsh criticism for Akinjo after Georgetown beat Syracuse without him. At the time, the 89-79 victory was the Hoyas’ third straight win since Akinjo and two other players—Myron Gardner and Galen Alexander—left the program.
“They got rid of a guy that wouldn’t pass the ball to anybody and just shot it every time and that’s why they’re good now,” Boeheim said (via NunesMagician.com). “They’ve got seven guys that are as good as anybody’s. Two guys weren’t really contributing at all and that other guy was throwing the ball up all the time. I know Patrick [Ewing] can’t say that but I can. I watched him play three games. He lost two games for them by himself.”
While it’s odd to see a coach take shots at players like that, Boeheim does have a point. Akinjo was shooting a dismal 33.7 percent from the field and 24 percent from 3 before leaving Georgetown. His assist-to-turnover ratio—31 to 16—was just OK.
The Hoyas went 4-3 with Akinjo in the lineup and are 6-1 since he transferred. One of the losses Boeheim was likely alluding to came against UNC Greensboro. Akinjo shot 4 for 15 and had one assist and two turnovers in the 65-61 defeat.
In Georgetown’s 81-73 loss to Duke, Akinjo shot 7 for 18 with six assists and seven turnovers. In its 81-66 loss to Penn State, he had 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting to go with two assists and two turnovers.
Georgetown’s offensive efficiency spiked once Akinjo left. It has shot 49 percent from the field and 39 percent from 3 without him, compared to 44 percent and 33 percent, respectively, with him.
In addition to beating Syracuse, Georgetown also knocked off Oklahoma State on the road without Akinjo. The Cowboys have a top-30 defense, but the Hoyas still managed to average north of 1.1 points per possession in that game.
That’s pretty concerning since there is a good chance Akinjo will be starting at Arizona at some point next season. However, it must be noted that his numbers were considerably better in 2018-19 when he was the Big East Freshman of the Year.
Akinjo shot 37 percent from the field and 39 percent from 3 that season. He also averaged 5.2 assists per game, though 3.0 turnovers to go with them.