West Virginia Basketball lands another transfer pickup out of the portal in Akok Akok. And while he doesn’t score a ton, he offers a lot of defense.
The frontcourt for West Virginia Basketball was decimated this offseason after head coach Bob Huggins was let go. After having already losing Jimmy Bell, they suffered three more departures inside, including James Okonkwo, Mohamed Wague, and starting forward, Tre Mitchell.
The good news for the Mountaineers is that they maintained Syracuse transfer Jesse Edwards, who was an All-ACC player on the defensive end, with over two blocks a game. The team also added former Iona stretch forward Quinn Slazinski and bring back both Patrick Suemnick and Josiah Harris.
But with two scholarships left on the roster, West Virginia could afford to get another late addition to add some depth. And luckily for them, a former starter hit the portal late.
Akok Akok is a former top-100 prospect that started his career at UConn. After three years of limited productions and a lot of injuries, he left for Georgetown. Last season. the 6’9 forward averaged 6.5 ppg and 6.2 rpg in 30 mpg in 31 starts. That includes a 14-point and 10-rebound performance against Xavier.
Akok’s biggest strength is on the defensive end, where he blocked 2.0 shots a game. That includes three separate games of at least five blocks. His addition gives West Virginia two bigs that are capable shot-blockers in Akok and Edwards that’ll cause some problems against Big 12 opponents. And another benefit is that Akok can also play the five-spot behind Edwards since on paper, there really isn’t anyone else with the size that can do that on the roster.
It’s not a perfect move when you think about the offensive impact. Neither Akok nor Edwards can spread the floor and shoot the ball so the spacing could be an issue. We saw that for both players last season when Edwards was with Benny Williams and Akok had Qudus Wahab and neither was ideal. But if that’s a real issue, the team can use Slazinski more and have a more offensive-focused lineup out there.
Either way, West Virginia’s roster rebuild 2.0 is just about done and considering the timing, is an impressive feat overall. How the new pieces all fit in a few months is yet to be determined but new coach Josh Eilert does have some solid pieces to work with now.