Akoy Agau is a 6-foot-8, 235-pound graduate transfer forward from Georgetown, where he averaged 4.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 15 minutes in 30 games (eight starts) last season. He shot 50.6 percent from the field and 84 percent from the free throw line. He missed the 2015-16 season with an ACL tear.
Prior to Georgetown, Agau played at Louisville. He signed with the Cardinals out of high school and averaged 0.9 points and 1.1 rebounds per game as a freshman in 2013-14. He played in three games for Louisville in 2014-15 and transferred to Georgetown midseason. He sat out the rest of the year, while his Georgetown teammates went to the Elite Eight. Agau was a three-star recruit and the nation's 19th-ranked center in the 2013 class. He played high school basketball at Omaha (Neb.) Central High School, where he won four state championships. His family moved to the United States from Africa in 2002.
Agau is the second transfer SMU has picked up this spring, joining former Duquesne forward Isiaha Mike, who will sit out next season. Agau joins SMU's four-man freshman class, which signed in November. Before committing to SMU, Agau took visits to Illinois, Maryland and Old Dominion. Agau is immediately eligible for 2017-18 and is applying for a sixth year of eligibility, which would allow him to play in 2018-19. He told PonyStampede he has a good chance at getting the sixth year approved and has started the process of applying for one.
What SMU is getting
SMU coveted an experienced forward who is ready to play a lot of minutes right away. SMU lost forwards Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye from last year's 30-win team. Before Agau's commitment, the Mustangs' only forwards eligible for 2017 were incoming three-star freshmen Everett Ray and Ethan Chargois. Agau's commitment takes the pressure to play immediate major minutes off both of them. On an official visit to SMU earlier in May, the coaches pitched that necessity and ability of minutes to him.
Even at his size, Agau is not a true post player, but he has ability in the paint and on the perimeter. Tim Jankovich likes big men who can play in the paint and on the perimeter. Both Ray and Chargois are skilled bigs who can do just that. Agau told PonyStampede he thinks of himself as a four-man, but can fit at the five and played it at Georgetown. For SMU, he could play either the four- or five-spot, though the latter is SMU's greater need. Ben Moore, who would be a four-man on other teams, played the five spot for SMU last season.
"The four, in its most simplest form, is a hustle, play hard position, even without getting the ball," Agau said. "You get your offensive rebounds, block shots, run the floor."
Agau has the ability to do all that, as well as score. He runs the floor well and plays with energy. He puts in effort and has enough athleticism to be a good rebounder on both ends. On the perimeter, Agau can pick and roll and pick and pop. For a big man, he has good handles and can put the ball on the floor. That helps him take advantage of mismatches when bigger forwards or centers come out to guard him on the perimeter. He can take them off the dribble, like Moore did plenty of times last season. Though comfortable on the perimeter, Agau was only 3-for-14 on 3-pointers and took only 17 two-point jumpers last season. His 84 percent mark from the foul line suggests he has some ability to develop his jump shot. Most of Agau's baskets will come around the rim. He has quick feet and a few moves to be an effective post player. He mainly scores facing up, but has the size to back a defender down if needed.
Defensively, Agau has plenty of ability. He has length and quickness to affect shots around the rim and block shots as a help defender (0.9 blocks per game last season). He is quick enough to defend on the perimeter without serious risk of giving an opponent a mismatch. He can defend ball screens well. Playing him at the five allows for less risk when switching ball screens and gives an ability to switch more exchanges and screens.
What's next for 2017
Agau's addition puts SMU at 11 scholarship players for 2017-18, with 10 eligible to play. SMU has two spots left to use, but is unlikely to use both so it can count at least one toward the NCAA-imposed scholarship reduction sanction from 2015. SMU has four more scholarships to put toward the reductions, which last through 2018-19. While SMU won't add another freshman in the 2017 class, one target to watch as another possible grad transfer addition is MiKyle McIntosh, the former Illinois State forward. McIntosh, 6-foot-7, entered the NBA Draft without an agent, but withdrew right before the deadline. Now that he's not in the draft anymore, he is one to watch for SMU. The Pickering, Ontario native averaged 12.1 points and 5.8 rebounds per game on 41 percent shooting (35 percent from 3) last season. He would bring experience and would help replace Semi Ojeleye, who announced earlier in May that he will remain in the NBA Draft. Since McIntosh waited until the last possible day to withdraw from the NBA Draft, his recruitment process is in its earliest stages.
Agau is not a flashy addition who projects as a top scorer on the team, but he fills exactly what SMU needed in the Mustangs' biggest area of need. He will have the chance to play major minutes and allows SMU's two freshman big men to ease into college without being tasked with playing 25-plus minutes per game right away, unless either proves able. Agau will help on both ends of the floor and give SMU some versatility in the front court.