Waking up at 5:30 a.m. to get some extra shots up or an early workout session, Dexter Akanno doesn’t take a day off or let a couple thousand miles get in the way of perfecting his craft.
In the fall, Akanno, who played for Valencia, will be moving to New Jersey to attend Blair Academy in Blairstown, New Jersey to pursue his goal of playing at an NCAA Division 1 college.
Blair Academy is known for producing elite basketball talent with the likes of NBA players Luol Deng, Royal Ivey and Charlie Villanueva coming through their locker rooms.
“I’m young for my grade. I turn 18 in September,” Akanno said. “So it’s kind of a way to balance things out and help me polish my skills and get ready for college.”
Garnering attention from schools like Cal Poly, Liberty, Dartmouth and other Ivy League universities, Akanno has opted to take a post-graduate year at a prep school to improve his game.
“I knew before I even started my senior year at Valencia that I was going to go prep,” Akanno said.
Playing for BTI Select, a travel ball team, since the spring of his junior year, Akanno holds offers from Bucknell (offered in April) and Northern Arizona (offered at the beginning of summer), but stayed confident that he could attract the attention of some higher-level basketball programs.
He was right.
Officially getting offered by Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts and Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Sunday, Akanno received another two offers two days later from Montana State and Hofstra.
It brings Akanno’s total offers to six.
“It wasn’t ever, like, that big,” Akanno said. “But I would have to say the summer of my junior year is when people started.”
Akanno still holds interest from Virginia Tech, Texas, Santa Clara, University of Louisiana-Lafayette, USC, Hawaii, Denver, Kansas State and San Diego State.
Playing alongside Zaire Williams (Class of 2020) and Drake London (Class of 2019), two of the top prospects in their respective classes on BTI Select, Akanno has learned to study every facet of his and his teammates’ games.
”I’m the point guard for BTI, so I try to evenly distribute everyone’s touches,” Akanno said. “It’s fun playing with those guys. They are very high-IQ players and we played against some high-level competition too.”
Starring on Valencia’s boys basketball team, Akanno headlined a Vikings team that made a deep run into the CIF-Southern Section Division 2A playoffs. The Vikes fell just one game short of the title game losing in the semifinals.
The 6-foot-4 point guard averaged 15 points per game, four rebounds per game and 3.5 assists per game during his senior season at Valencia.
Working on everything from watching film, perfecting his shot, working on his dribbling and passing skills, as well as bulking up, Akanno is excited about the next step in his basketball journey.
“I just want to become a better student-athlete,” he said. “To be able to evenly distribute my time with basketball and school. I want to polish my skills and just get better on and off the court.”