The question on the header of Dexter Akanno’s Player Preview this season was “What will Dexter’s role be in his first year with the Golden Eagles?” That question has been answered.
He will be redshirting.
Right before Marquette tipped off the 2019-20 season, Ben Steele of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported the most obviously giftwrapped news you’ve ever seen in your life: The 6’4” guard originally from Valencia, California will sit out this season for what’s being described as development reasons.
Marquette freshman guard Dexter Akanno will redshirt this season to focus on development. Will ask Coach Wojciechowski about it after the game. #mubb— Ben Steele (@BenSteeleMJS) November 5, 2019
This should not come as a massive shock as Akanno was viewed as a longer-term prospect and is now put on the proverbial “Sacar Anim” program. Akanno played his high school ball at Blair Academy in Blairstown, New Jersey. He was a Swiss Army knife type player, averaging 15 points, 4 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. It’s easy to see a situation where minutes were going to be tough to find this season for Akanno. He would be competing for minutes with Koby McEwen, Sacar Anim, Greg Elliot, and Symir Torrence to be Markus Howard’s running mate in the backcourt or on the wing.
As a 19 year old freshman after his post-graduate year at Blair Academy, Akanno is already very physically developed and has all the tools to be an elite defender. However, it appears his skills need a little more polishing before he is ready for high-major college basketball. I am not sure if I see Akanno occupying the point guard spot in the near future with Torrence and McEwen posed to take on ball handling duties beyond this season. However, Akanno could still grow into Anim’s role of slasher and defensive stopper. The similarities don’t end there as Anim also came in as a somewhat unheralded recruit (Anim was #191 in his recruiting class, Akanno was #399) and after a redshirt season carved out a nice complimentary role. Without having 33 minutes per game gobbled up by Markus Howard next year, Akanno should have ample opportunity to show what he is capable of in 2020-21.
On a slightly related note, Marquette is going to be able to assemble one hell of a defense next year.
This is a little surprising though. Remember the White Board?
@AnonymousEagle @PaintTouches really blurry, but it looks like they have Symir slotted as a RS. pic.twitter.com/t2LBPfrpmJ— Golden Eagles (@BE_GoldenEagle) April 25, 2019
The White Board had it written up to appear that the coaching staff was looking at redshirting Symir Torrence. Instead, it’s MU’s other freshman who will sit out this season. Perhaps we all mis-read the White Board to start with? Was that merely noting that one of the two freshmen guards would redshirt?
Here’s what Marquette’s scholarship situation looks like with Akanno’s first active roster year moved to next season.