Tim Miles and the Nebraska Cornhuskers have a talented young core led by Chicago products Glynn Watson and Ed Morrow. Now they are set to add another Windy City product into the mix next season in Nana Akenten, and he should only help to build Nebraska back to where the fanbase expects.
Akenten was under the radar for much of his high school career. He wasn’t a star at one of the city’s super powers, instead he was more in the suburbs at Bolingbrook, and he didn’t play on a high profile AAU team, so he didn’t get the attention of some, but Akenten is a potential early impact player in the Big Ten.
The first thing that stands out about Akenten is his athletic ability. At around 6-foot-6 with good size, Akenten is also a tremendous athlete, even near elite in that regard. He can run and jump as well as any prospect in the country, and also shows the ability to move well laterally.
When you combine his physical size and length with that high level athleticism, Akenten is someone who projects to be very good on the defensive end. He should be able to guard most shooting guards, small forwards, or even power forwards, and that gives Nebraska a lot of versatility in how he will be used and what they can do with their ball screen coverages on defense.
On the offensive end he is a bit unrefined, but Akenten does the best thing you can do on a basketball court well, he makes shots.
Now Akenten will need to quicken up his release and clean up his footwork some, but that should come with getting reps in college with his shot. Even with those slight mechanical flaws, Akenten is a very accurate long range shooter. He is capable of making shots from well beyond the three point line, and actually is fairly consistent doing it.
His ability to play defense, be someone who has great athleticism, and make shots is what makes Akenten the new age “three and D” prospected coveted by so many, because made threes and solid defense are so important in today’s style of basketball.
Now Akenten does have some flaws. He is not a very good ball handler. At this point Akenten isn’t much of a threat to beat his man off the bounce, so he is limited in how he can score, and will need to work a lot on being a player capable of helping with ball handling duties, especially if he is going to see some time at the off guard spot.
In that respect Akenten is similar to former Nebraska player Andrew White. Like White, Akenten is mostly a shooter who is also a very good athlete. Now White was more refined and consistent a player at the same stage, but they do have some similarities.
Overall Akenten should be a nice piece to the puzzle for the Cornhuskers, and is another quality addition to a young and developing roster.