SAN PABLO, Calif. -- At halftime of the 2016 NorCal Clash on Sunday, between Northern California stars of the 2017 class and the 2018 class, Richmond (Calif.) Salesian point guard James Akinjo had just three points and two assists. His 2018 class was trailing the 2017 bunch 43-42.
That lead swelled to as many as eight points, before the juniors made a late charge, and in the final two minutes, Akinjo pulled down a defensive rebound, hit three free throws and forced a tie-up at mid-court as the buzzer sounded to give his team the 96-93 win.
http://www.scout.com/high-school/california/story/1700143-norcal-clash-a... "We really wanted to win, and make a statement in the Bay Area," Akinjo said. "We feel that our class is the best, so we had to have this win."
Akinjo -- generously listed at 5-foot-11, but every bit of 170 pounds -- didn't take home the MVP, but did finish with 12 points, six rebounds and (officially) eight assists, although by some counts his assist total was over 10 -- either way, a game-high.
With offers from San Jose State, Montana, San Francisco and Texas A&M, Akinjo has also drawn interest from nearby California, as well as Oregon and Colorado. An intriguing prospect who's a bit on the small side, but shows a lot of grit, particularly on defense, Akinjo can drive and finish at the cup, flashes plus handles and shows good court vision as a passer, all of which he displayed both in the game, and at Cal's one-day skills camp on Sunday morning.
"I'm not very tired; I work out two or three times a day, so it's all the same to me," said Akinjo, who related to Scout on Saturday that he's formed a strong relationship with Bears head coach Cuonzo Martin. "[The camp] helped me in preparation for the game, seeing the scouting reports and how seriously the college guys take it. That really helped me. I really enjoyed going to Cal this morning. They really wanted to get me in, get some shots in, because they knew I had this game today."
Akinjo also got to chat with Cal freshman Charlie Moore.
"I got his number, and we talk a little bit, on and off," Akinjo said. "He's a really cool guy. I learned a lot watching him play, and I'm looking forward to seeing a couple of their games this year."