Arizona Basketball

Akot reportedly leaving Arizona’s program, depth hurt

Arizona’s depth and talent has taken a hit with the reported transfer of Emmanuel Akot.

On Monday night, Evan Daniels tweeted the 6-foot-7 forward sophomore has decided to leave the program. The report did say Akot intends to finish out the school year.

The timing of it all is a bit suspect, but not surprising in as much as it was sometimes speculated a player or two would transfer – but not until the season was completely done.

Emmanuel Akot celebrates a good play with Brandon Randolph in Arizona’s 76-72 win. (Photo courtesy Arizona Athletics)

Turns out Akot had seen enough – and didn’t play enough – for Arizona. More recently, Akot had been starting after coming off the bench to begin the season, but his productivity never improved as a starter or otherwise. He averaged 19.3 minutes a game, including 3.8 points and 2.8 rebounds a game. He started 11 of 17 games.

He came to Arizona as a five-star recruit, classifying early after he was to have been part of the 2018 class.
Last season, he played in 31 games, including four starts.

When Akot was recruited and decided to come to Arizona a reclassified player, Sean Miller said, “He has a lot of talent and his versatility strikes me. As a player, Emmanuel isn’t relegated to just one position. He can play a lot of different positions. He’s an adept passer, in fact, one of the best passers for his size that I have seen. That’s an exciting quality. Defensively, the sky is the limit.”

What it all means is it’s likely senior transfer Ryan Luther returns to the starting lineup and either sophomore Alex Barcello or Devonaire Doutrive get more minutes. It could also mean Dylan Smith will get more minutes. That soon will be determined. What’s clear is Arizona, 4-0 in the this early part of the Pac-12 season, will have little wiggle room with depth. Akot may have also seen the handwriting on the wall given Arizona’s strong recruiting class coming in behind 6-6 Terry Armstrong joins guards Nico Mannion, Josh Green and center Christian Koloko.

The timing of the departure rivals those of former UA players Dennis Latimore and Will Bynum, both of whom left in the second semester just out of the blue given Arizona has already started the semester. Latimore eventually made it to Notre Dame while Bynum left to Georgia Tech. Where Akot goes to is anyone’s guess. Those two, however, left the program immediately and were eligible a year later.

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