James Akinjo, the 6-foot point guard from North Richmond, announced Monday he is headed to the University of Connecticut, a school he visited on a recruiting trip over the weekend.
The Salesian Pride standout’s top five choices were UConn, University of Virginia, UC Berkeley, University of Maryland and Iowa State University.
A video was posted on Twitter Sunday of Akinjo shooting hoops with UConn’s head coach Kevin Ollie.
The Hartford Courant called Akinjo “one of the hottest recruits of the summer.”
“UConn moved to the top of his list once coach Kevin Ollie made Akinjo a priority, and after visiting Storrs this past weekend with his aunt, he was ready to make his decision,” the newspaper reported.
Akinjo’s stock rose this summer after earning MVP while helping his Oakland Soldiers squad win the Peach Jam title, and achieving the same feat at the NorCal Clash with 43 points.
Salesian coach Bill Mellis told the Courant Akinjo is not just gifted, but a true gym rat who is “not afraid of the big moment.”
“While other teenagers like to party and hang out, James literally will go to the gym all the time,” Mellis said. “We’ll have practices during the season that might be, say, 7 to 9 p.m. and he’ll leave our practice and go to 24-Hour Fitness and get another hour of shots up. He’s just really, really driven and his game has really improved over the last couple of years.”
According to his ESPN recruiting file, Akinjo is a “true point guard who exudes toughness, confidence and leadership. Akinjo is an elite on-ball defender and takes pride in shutting point guards down.”