Dexter Akanno shows out in scrimmage against NBA players

(Author’s Note: Look, it’s been over a month since I last put up a post, so you’ll forgive me for grasping at these straws. But it’s been so long since we saw new, actual real life basketball, I couldn’t help but dive in. Apologies in advance.)

Earlier this week, D.J. Carton received a waiver from the NCAA to be able to gain immediate eligibility for this upcoming 2021 season, rather than have to sit out a year. It was huge news in that D.J. will be the focal point of the offense next season and completely changes the trajectory of the team, but it wasn’t really “news” in that it was expected to happen.

Then along comes a real, live action video of a Marquette player in the wild. Not just any player though, Dexter Akanno, a redshirt freshman who wasn’t highly ranked or scouted. Someone most haven’t really seen play.

But this wasn’t just any old pickup environment. It was a scrimmage against most of the Utah Jazz’ backcourt in Donovan Mitchell, Jordan Clarkson, Royce O’Neal and Rayjon Tucker. It’s a squad that will be heading to the Disney NBA bubble in a few months to compete for an NBA title. This is a legit group of players.

So I didn’t really know what to expect when I saw this Tweet in my mentions this morning:

And then I watched it. Again. And again. And probably 40 more times since.

It wasn’t just that Dex, the player in the light blue tank top, fit in, he seemed to be the standout player of this 2 minute mixtape.

Personally, I had Dex pegged as a Sacar 2.0 in that he’d be a 4th or 5th option on offense early in his career and would play mostly for defensive purposes. And while that may still be the case, I would be lying if I told you these 2 minutes didn’t alter my perception of him completely.

Just take a look at how easily he takes one of the top 20 players in the NBA off the dribble and finishes through him at the rim.

Or watch how he’s able to pull up from all over the court and just make some really tough shots. (Pardon the audio, I would just mute the video if I were you.)

I understand this is a private scrimmage where defense is mostly conceptual. I’ve been burned before in overestimating a summer league performance. I’m not saying Dex belongs in the NBA right now and will lead Marquette in scoring this season.

Simply put, my expectations for Dex were pretty non existent for 2020-’21. I had him behind all of the guards on the roster, as well as the wings that might play the 3/4.
TRank has him projected to see the fewest minutes on the team, so it’s not like the historical comps are favorable either.
Capture

Seeing his style of play, his confidence and his production, I’m personally slotting him ahead of the non-Dawson freshmen for next year, able to play 2-4 with his size and ability.

Or maybe we’ll come back to this post in 6 months after 4 straight DNPs and laugh? Again, I am living proof that there’s no repercussion for terrible analysis based on a few summer highlights.

What I can say is that I am tremendously impressed by the little I did see. Don’t mind me while I watch it 40 more times.

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Categories: Analysis, Home, Offseason

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