Now that Tennessee’s basketball season is over (sooner than most wanted or expected), Rick Barnes and his coaching staff can go focus on recruiting and trying to find one more piece to add to what will be a defending SEC co-champion roster next season. And the Vols have sent out a scholarship offer to a talented point guard from California on Tuesday.
James Akinjo, a four-star point guard out of Richmond, California, picked up an offer from Tennessee on Tuesday. The 6-foot, 160 pound guard committed to UConn back in September but reopened his recruitment on March 10th shortly after the Huskies elected to fire head coach Kevin Ollie. Since then, Akinjo’s recruitment has picked up a lot of steam.
Akinjo hosted Georgetown head coach Patrick Ewing on a visit to his home on Monday, and he’s picked up interest from West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Providence, Wake Forest, and others as well. He holds offers from Indiana, Virginia, Texas A&M, Cal, Maryland, Pittsburgh, and others.
According to D1Circuit.com, Akinjo averaged 13.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and shot 39.1 percent from three during Nike’s EYBL, Peach Jam, and Bracket play over the summer last year. His play steadily got better as the summer progressed, and he shined particularly in the Peach Jam portion, earning MVP honors. In five recorded games this season during high school, he averaged 24 points per game and five assists.
His highlight film shows off a quick guard who has superb vision and awareness and can create shots for himself and his teammates. He can facilitate like a point guard is supposed to, but he can also hit jumpers, cut to the basket, and nail threes. He’s a bit undersized, but he plays bigger than his 6-foot frame and battles for rebounds regularly. He’s a physical player despite his smaller stature.
According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Akinjo is the No. 95 overall player in the 2018 class and is the No. 17 point guard in the cycle.
Tennessee is expected to have just one scholarship available in their 2018 class. The Vols have been pursuing five-star guard Anfernee Simons and three-star point guard Tyler Harris in the class thus far. But with Penny Hardaway accepting the head coaching position at Memphis, both of the Vols’ top targets in this class may be harder to get. That would certainly explain the sudden interest in Akinjo.
The Vols are only expected to lose James Daniel III off this season’s roster. Barring any offseason transfers, Tennessee will only have room to add one more player to their roster for the 2018-19 season. And it looks as though they want that one player to be a guard.