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Three elite frontcourt recruits name Pitt a finalist

Akok Akok, Kofi Cockburn and Qudus Wahab all have Pitt as a potential landing spot

FloSports: FloHoops Hoophall West
Pitt target Kofi Cockburn puts up a shot during a game on Dec. 10, 2016.
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Akok Akok, a power forward out of Putnam Science Academy in Putnam, Connecticut, trimmed his list of potential schools down to five on Tuesday, and Pitt made the cut alongside Georgetown, Providence, Syracuse and UConn. The development was revealed by Evan Daniels of 247Sports. He added that Akok is scheduled to visit Pitt on Oct. 23.

Akok, who is listed at 6’10” and 195 pounds, is a consensus top-40 recruit in the 2019 class. He also holds a five-star rating from 247Sports and four-star ratings from Rivals and ESPN. In addition to his impressive recruiting accolades, Akok also brings a unique skill set to the table.

“Akok has one of the most unique skill sets of any prospect in the country,” Putnam Science Academy assistant Josh Scraba said, per Zagsblog. “He is an elite shot-blocker and an elite three-point shooter. As he develops the ability to create his own shot and take guys off the dribble, I see no reason he will not be considered a top-25 prospect in the Class of 2019.”

From Pitt’s standpoint, Akok would represent a vital infusion of talent into a frontcourt currently devoid of elite players. Adding bigs of that caliber appears to be a top priority for Pitt head coach Jeff Capel, too, as he’s also spent a significant amount of time pursuing Kofi Cockburn, a 6’10”, 255-pound center currently playing at Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia.

Like Akok, Cockburn holds one five-star rating and two four-star designations, with the only difference being that his top rating comes from Rivals. He’s also a consensus top-40 player in the 2019 class, and he recently included Pitt among the final eight schools he’s considering, according to Andrew Slater of The Athletic, who shared the news in a tweet on Monday.

Aside from Pitt, the other schools Cockburn is considering include Florida State, Illinois, Kansas, LSU, St. John’s, Syracuse and UConn.

Capel keyed in on Cockburn shortly after his arrival in Pittsburgh and has been recruiting him heavily ever since. In fact, one of his first recruiting trips after being named the head coach of the Panthers in late March was to New York City to see Cockburn play alongside fellow blue-chip recruit and Pitt target Cole Anthony. Now, it seems that effort might be paying off.

In addition to the Akok and Cockburn developments earlier this week, Qudus Wahab, a consensus four-star recruit out of Flint Hill School in Oakton, Virginia, also reduced his list of schools to five and included Pitt, keeping Capel’s solid run going on Wednesday.

The 6’10”, 230-pound center also included Georgetown, Syracuse, UConn and Virginia Tech in his final five, meaning Pitt is competing with Syracuse and UConn for all three recruits.

All of these developments serve as evidence that Pitt is moving in the right direction after an extended period of decline under Kevin Stallings. And if Capel is able to land any of these recruits, it will go a long way toward restoring Pitt’s status as a nationally relevant contender.