Pitt head coach Jeff Capel is focused on building up his frontcourt as he assembles his 2019 recruiting class, and to that end, he has prioritized 6’10” power forward Akok Akok of Putnam Science Academy in Putnam, Connecticut.
Akok holds a five-star rating from 247Sports in addition to four-star assessments from Rivals and ESPN. Each outlet considers him one of the top 40 recruits in the country, and in September, Akok included Pitt in his top five alongside Georgetown, Providence, Syracuse and UConn.
The blue-chip recruit visited Pitt on Oct. 23, and on Friday, he spoke with Corey Evans of Rivals about his recruitment and shared his thoughts on Capel and Pitt.
“Coach Capel just feels like I could be a great addition to his program, and that by going there we could become one of the top teams in the country,” Akok said. “He came up to a lot of my practices this fall and has really made me a priority. He feels like he could get me to the next level, and with his past in coaching those kinds of guys, he thinks he could do just the same with me.”
Akok has earned a reputation as a formidable rim protector and a sound shooter, which would make him a great fit at Pitt and many other schools. However, UConn has been floated as a favorite to land him, likely due to its proximity to Putnam and the Danny Hurley hire. It’s also one of two schools Akok directly said “could be a good place” for him. The other was Providence.
While that may not be a good sign for Pitt, it’s also worth noting that Capel was the only coach he singled out for treating him like a priority.
As for when a decision might be made, Akok previously told Evan Daniels of 247Sports that an announcement would not come until spring. However, Evans suggested in a tweet that Akok could make a decision during the early signing period next week. Akok was less committal in his most recent comments on the matter, though.
“I really don’t know yet. I am just thinking things through, and whenever it comes to me, that is what it is going to be,” he said. “I need to talk to my family about it all, but I don’t know if I want to sign early or not. Whenever it comes to me, I will know.”