No Joshin’… This Guy Can Play! Josh Akognon Hangs With The Mavericks

Who is this guy??

Maybe the hottest shooter at the Dallas Mavericks’ training camp.  He doesn’t even have a guaranteed contract but Josh Akognon (pronounced uh-koy-nun) may end up being the biggest surprise of all in a group of impressive rookies.

Finishing up practice before heading to Barcelona, four players were locked in a three-point shootout – Dirk, Mayo, Roddy and Josh Akognon.

The Dallas Mavericks released Tu Holoway and DJ Mbenga Tuesday leaving Akognon as the sole remaining player outside of the presumptive “Gang of 15.”  But if you don’t know who Akognon is and you thought you were paying attention, it’s hard to believe he slid under the radar.

This is the same guy who impressively came off the bench playing for the Sacramento Kings just this summer in Las Vegas to lead the team, averaging 19.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game.  But that type of performance isn’t unusual.

Josh’s play in college was nothing short of electrifying. Playing his first two years of at Washington State, he was voted the Pac-10′s “Most Underrated Player” by Sports Illustrated and as with his play this last summer for the Kings, Akognon led the team in scoring despite coming off the bench most of the year.

He transferred to Cal State-Fullerton for his junior and senior years and achieved numerous accolades.  His senior year was named the 2008-09 Big West Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Year, averaging 23.9 points per game, good for 8th in the nation.  A scoring machine, he hit 136 three-pointers (2nd best in the nation per game) and 132 free throws (8th best in the nation with 89.2% FT percentage) and set a Big West Tournament scoring record with 37 points including 9 threes.  He reached double figures in 36 of 37 games, scored over 20 points twenty-two times, over 30 points six times and even had two 41 point games.

Josh has something in common with late-to-the-game rookie Bernard James, who is entering the NBA at age 27.  A five-year player in college (with a year off for transferring), Akognon was not drafted and instead spent three years overseas, playing professional ball in the Estonian League, Baltic League and Chinese Basketball Association before finally landing a brief stint the NBA Developmental League’s Canton Charge in 2012.  A Nigerian-American, he also played for the Nigerian team in FIBA competition.  He lands at the Mavericks camp at the ripe old age of 26, just a year younger than James.

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Source: Craig Berlin, SI.com