Emmanuel Akot is the latest transfer to join Penny Hardaway’s Memphis basketball team.
Akot (6-8, 210), originally a 5-star prospect who prepared at Wasatch Academy in Utah, has spent the past three seasons at Boise State. Prior to that, he played two seasons at Arizona. In 54 games (39 starts) as a Bronco, he averaged 9.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists. He chose Memphis over NC State and Western Kentucky, his other two finalists.
Akot’s arrival eases some of the sting of losing 3-and-D guard Lester Quinones, who recently announced he remains in the NBA draft. Hardaway has gone to great lengths to add gunplay, and Akot fits the mold. The Winnipeg native shot 38.7% (55 for 142) from 3-point range last season at Boise State, which was the team’s second-highest mark among players with 100+ attempts. Akot’s 1.8 triples per game was good enough for Mountain West’s 10th last season.
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The addition of Akot is a big step forward in filling an important need. Losing Tyler Harris, Landers Nolley II, Emoni Bates and Quinones – who combined to shoot 36.8% from 3-point field – meant the Tigers said goodbye to 83.8% of their 3-pointers made in 2021-22. Akot’s 55 3-point shots would have tied for most of the team last season.
Along with Akot’s presence, Davis will also help account for some of this lost production. The former SMU star shot 35.7% from beyond the arc in three seasons with the Mustangs. Last season he attempted more 3-pointers (207) than the previous two seasons combined (157) and hit 37.2% of them. This large increase in attempts can largely be attributed to a change in the team’s personnel. In 2019-20, the Mustangs perimeter offense relied heavily on Isiaha Mike and Tyson Jolly, who combined for 303 attempts from beyond the arc. Davis and Emmanuel Bandoumel were called to account for Mike and Jolly’s losses.
While Akot is a 3-point threat, his versatility makes him even harder to defend. While he also shot 40% from the field overall last season, his assist numbers indicate he’s just as good at creating shots for others as he is for himself.
Defensively, Akot represents a significant improvement over every guard the Tigers lost after last season. Akot recorded a defensive Bayesian performance rating of 22.4 (per EvanMiya.com), which measures the defensive value a player brings to his team. Quionnes sported a 15.1.
Akot becomes the fourth player Hardaway has scored from the portal since the start of the offseason. Davis, guard Elijah McCadden and big man Kao Akobundu-Ehiogu were added in April and May. But the Tigers still have some ground to make up for. Hardaway still has four scholarships to fill. If Alex Lomax decides to skip his COVID season, five scholarships will be available.
Contact sportswriter Jason Munz at [email protected] or on Twitter @munzly.