After narrowing down his list of schools under consideration last fall, Emmanuel Akot, Arizona's first commit of the 2018 class, zipped through his recruitment, eventually deciding on the Arizona Wildcats on Thursday morning.
But why Arizona?
“They chose Arizona because they felt that was the best spot for him,” Wasatch Academy Coach Curtis Condie told Arizona Desert Swarm right after Akot announced the commitment.
“A lot of it is tradition and style of play,” Condie stated. “Emmanuel wants to play in the NBA and he feels that’s going to give him the best chance to get there. [Plus], he loved his visit.”
Akot also talked to Rivals.com about the allure of the NBA and how Arizona set itself apart from the competition.
“They have big plans for me and see me in the NBA someday,” said the five-star wing. “I feel like Arizona will give me the best opportunity to reach my goal.”
“Arizona always has very good teams and I like to win and they have a winning culture at Arizona. The overall school and atmosphere also played a part in my decision. It is somewhere I can focus on winning and reaching my goals but also enjoy life at school.”
While the behind the scenes of recruiting is always shrouded in a bit of mystery, this decision was simply a family affair.
“The decision was completely between Emmanuel and his parents, I was there only to answer questions,” Condie said about the decision making process. “There was no one else involved.”
With a 23-4 regular season behind them, Akot’s team is waiting to find out if they will make it to the ‘expansionals’ as they call it in high school basketball. Ranked 15th overall by USA Today, they are in the same spot as they were this time last season.
The 6-foot-8 wing has blossomed over the last year thanks to bulking up and focusing on fine tuning his jump shot. And he is still getting better and stronger in both areas.
“Emmanuel is a pretty good player, but he’s still going to try to improve in every aspect. He wants to win,” Condie said of his wing.
“He's going to get bigger but he’s already gotten bigger and he has really adapted to the weight room,” Condie added. He also said that Akot will be focusing on getting his lower body in shape.
When it comes to his jumper, it’s “more consistent” than it used to be. Condie even mentioned he draws up “plays specifically for him to shoot jumpers.” According to his season stats, Akot leads his team in three-point makes with 42.
The new Arizona commit averages just under 17 points per game while grabbing 6.7 rebounds. He also dishes out an average of 2.2 assists.
Many might think due to his height he would be slated to play the four, but his coach quickly shot that down saying he’s “a big, lead guard that can put the ball in the basket and defend. He’s not a four. He won’t be playing the forward at Arizona.”
Akot doubled down on this sentiment to Rivals.com, saying, “I plan to score the ball and find my teammates, but I also want to be known as a tough guy. I want to come in and stop the other team’s best player, rebound and do all the little things to help my team win.”
While his coach didn’t want to offer up any comparisons to whom Akot might resemble, he did say the “sky’s the limit” for his five-star guard.
Adding, “Emmanuel is going to be the best Emmanuel Akot he can be,” and at this point, that’s all anyone can ask.
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