U of L hoops feature: Akoy Agau

The sixth in a series of stories published by Cardinal Authority on individual members of the University of Louisville basketball team. The sixth installment looks at freshman Akoy Agau.

Akoy Agau is not your typical freshman college basketball player.

A native of Sudan, Africa, who moved to Cairo, Egypt as a child, Agau did not arrive in the United States until 2002. He is the oldest of six children and is fluent in three different languages: Dinka, Arabic, and English.

The 6-foot-10 Agau also comes to the University of Louisville basketball team with a winning pedigree from Omaha, Neb., Central High School. Agau became the first player in Nebraska history to play on four straight Class A state championship teams.

"He's a kid who is a winner," U of L coach Rick Pitino said. "He's a freshman and it will take him some time, he didn't come in being in great shape, but he has all the skills. I think he's going to be a very good player for us."

As a senior at Omaha Central, Agau averaged 12.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and had 81 blocked shots. But he knows even with all of his success at the high school level that the college game is going to be "much more intense" and more difficult.

"Obviously the conditioning and strength is something that is very big, but something for me personally is learning our plays," Agau said. "In college they are a bunch of reads and in high school I was used to having one specific play and knowing exactly what to do."

One of the most sought-after players in Nebraska high school basketball in recent years, Agau had more than 25 scholarship offers before picking the Cardinals. He signed with U of L over Nebraska, Georgetown, Connecticut and others.

"I'm excited about being part of this program," Agau said. "Obviously, I will have my role and whatever coach Pitino needs me to do this year I will do.

"I just want to be there for my team."

Agau's first introduction to the U of L fanbase was in April at the Derby Festival Classic when he made it to the finals of the three-point contest.

"That isn't something that's a big part of my game," he said with a smile. "But it's something that over the years I've been working on and trying to expand."

After playing a variety of sports - whether it was football, track or soccer – made a decision that his future was on the hardwood. Since making that decision, Agau hasn't looked back.

Now, he's playing for the defending national champions. With Chane Behanan suspended early this season, Agau could be pressed into service sooner than expected but with the depth on the team he's not going to be forced to be a major contributor early on.

"I think that is a great thing for me and the thing that is so great about our team is that we have twelve to thirteen guys who are competitive," Agau said. "I think that's what makes us a really good team is that we compete against each other every day in practice.

"I can learn great things from (Montrezl Harrell)."

Not to mention all the insight he has already picked up from and will continue to learn from Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino.

"Coach Pitino is such an intelligent man and he teaches the game of basketball," Agau said. "He's not just telling us things to do, he makes sure we as players understand why this is happening. I'm excited about that."

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