USF eyeing 6-foot-11 center from IMG
There's a new name in Stan Heath's search for a big man to take over next season after center Kentrell Gransberry's USF career ends: Teeng Akol, a 6-foot-11 center from Sudan who is turning heads at IMG Academy in Bradenton.
USF is actively recruiting Akol, who transferred to IMG in November after playing two seasons at Our Savior New American, a well-known program in Centereach, N.Y., (Long Island) and is averaging about 18 points and 13 rebounds a game for IMG's postgraduate team.
"South Florida is at the top of the list," IMG's Dan Barto said Wednesday, listing Pittsburgh, Oklahoma, Rutgers and Houston among his top suitors. "I know he's very interested in (USF), and he's interested in staying around here. He has friends and relatives up north, so the Big East is very attractive to him."
Barto said Akol played well this past weekend in the Great Southern Showcase, a prep-school tournament in Jackson, Miss., and was rated as the No. 5 overall prospect out of 27 prep schools in attendance. Akol (pronounced "ting" and "a-KOHL") is still a bit undersized at 220 pounds, but Barto said he was at 207 when he got to IMG, so bulking up has and will be a priority.
"He's extremely skilled. He has a very good feel and is a very good finisher," Barto said when asked for Akol's strengths. "He's very long and very high-hipped, so he's much quicker off the floor than most kids his size."
Barto said he expects other programs to jump on Akol as they recognize that current centers who are underclassmen might be leaving for the NBA Draft. With Gransberry done after this season, USF has a major need for post players, and Barto said USF has been "very forward and upfront" about the playing time Akol would likely have with the Bulls. Assistants Reggie Hanson and Byron Samuels have been recruiting Akol, though Heath watched him personally when IMG played against Hillsborough Community College, which has another top USF target in forward Keith Brumbaugh.