A lot has changed for Akini Adkins over the past two years. There's been the long journey from his native Camaroon, sickness and death in the family, and adjustment to an entirely different way of life. New home, new friends, new family, new everything. Even American basketball has taken a little getting used to.
"It wasn't exactly what I expected," said Adkins, a 6'10" power forward from Leon High School (Fla). "The people were way better than I thought they'd be. When I got here, I thought I was good because I would play with my friends at home. I got beat pretty bad last year."
Getting "beat pretty bad" is somewhat relative, considering Adkins played well enough to earn a spot on many analysts' top prospects lists. He averaged 15 points, 11.5 rebounds and 3.1 rebounds per game during his junior season. Colleges across the country have expressed early interest in his services, with Alabama, Tennessee, Wake Forest, and N.C. State stopping in for visits. Despite the warm reception from the southern schools, Adkins asserts that he is nowhere near making a decision.
The last two seasons of high school ball have been a dress rehearsal for what Adkins hopes to unleash on the basketball world this summer. The standout says that last year was for "learning," and the next few months will be dedicated to making a name for himself. He will be hitting the trail this summer with his AAU team, the Tallahassee Wildcats. The date circled on Adkins' calendar is that of the Nike Camp, where he hopes to give onlookers a glimpse into his vast potential.
Adkins also has his sights set on another goal this summer, gaining weight. Tipping the scales at only 195 pounds, the 6'10" forward must pack on some more meat if he wants to hold his own against the best of the NCAA. The fruits of his conditioning program are starting to pay dividends, and Adkins is confident that coaches, recruiting analysts and fans will see a different player when the Wildcats take the floor this summer.