After transferring to Putnam Science Academy last fall expectations for sophomore forward Akok Akok were sky high. During preseason workouts and open gym sessions he was a high flying, shot blocking beast.
When the calendar turned to the beginning of the season it became more difficult for the young forward to find minutes in a crowded front court that featured older, more seasoned players. His teammates in the front court this year are now freshman at high major schools such as Georgia, South Florida, Texas Tech and Xavier. With all of them now moved on the stage is set for Akok to take over.
Last season Akok saw limited playing time on the 34-7 Mustangs Prep team, but come the off season he was ready to work. Akok focused on getting stronger in the weight room and developing his skill set on the court.
“It was definitely tough for Akok to sit on the bench and watch because he is a competitive kid and wants to play,” said Head Coach Tom Espinosa. “I give him a ton of credit that in the face of adversity he came to practice each day and worked hard. Then come game day he was always supportive and cheering on his teammates.”
All of the hard work and long practices in the season prepared Akok for the big AAU season in April. After having an outstanding April live period in front of hundreds of division 1 colleges numerous ACC schools were knocking on his door. His offers from April included Louisville, Virginia Tech and N.C. State to name a few.
Now with offers in hand Akok is ready to prove himself in the world of prep school basketball. Espinosa says Akok will be his starting power forward this year and that he is expecting big things from the junior.
“This fall Akok has been great on the court and in the classroom. He is a completely different kid this fall,” said Espinosa. “Last year he was quite and at times lacked confidence, but this year he is always talking, being a leader and extremely confident.”
Akok has been a priority for a numerous high major schools this fall as Virginia Tech, Michigan, N.C. State, Tulane, Providence, Rutgers and others have made the trip to the quiet corner of Connecticut to see PSA’s budding star.
“Akok does things that a lot of kids can’t do. He is 6’8”, can knock down the 3 point shot and defensively he blocks everything in sight. If he continues to work hard the sky is the limit,” said Espinosa.