Five-star power forward Akok Akok’s future is in the air.
The one thing that’s clear: Putnam Science Academy (Conn.) will no longer be part of it.
Head coach Tom Espinosa told the Courant over text message, “We have parted ways.”
To the Register over the phone: “It’s time to move on.”
Espinosa told the Register he wasn’t surprised.
“He’s never been the most bubbly, happy kid, but the past two months he hasn’t been very happy,” Espinosa said.
Akok graduated last season and had been set to play a year of post-graduate basketball at Putnam Science Academy, 247 Sports reported Nov. 14. In withdrawing, there are different trajectories he could take.
One, which Evan Daniels of 247 Sports reports will happen, is that Akok could enroll in college next semester.
“I will be focusing on the SAT in the immediate future and will then address basketball to determine what college is the best fit for me,” Akok told 247 Sports.
In doing so, he would be following in the footsteps of another former Putnam Science Academy player: Hamidou Diallo, who joined Kentucky in 2017.
But that’s not his only option.
As a 19-year-old who would be a year removed from his high school graduation, Akok could choose to skip the college route, similar to Thon Maker in 2016 and Anfernee Simmons in 2018.
Akok told 247 Sports he was considering this in the Nov. 14 article.
He also mentioned the idea to the Courant on Nov. 17.
“Considering the NBA, it’s just an option. School is an option, too. It doesn’t mean I’m going to the NBA. It doesn’t mean I’m not going to the NBA. I’m just weighing all the options,” he said to the outlet at the time.
If not the NBA and not college, Akok could also elect to go the G-League route, as the league is offering elite talent up to $125,000.
There’s also the path that Darius Bazley is carving. The former Princeton High School (Ohio) player signed a $1 million deal — an “internship” — with New Balance as he trains for the upcoming NBA Draft. In doing so, he decommitted from Syracuse and decided against playing in the G-League.
Whichever Akok decides, there’s precedent — but very little.
He’s in position to join the others as case studies for players of the future.