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By THE HUSTLE, 12/01/18, 11:00PM EST


Akok Akok put an end to a long and exhausting process on Saturday afternoon when he met with Dan Hurley’s staff and committed to the University of Connecticut. 

Ironically, Akok’s decision was based on the simplest of reasons: UConn was the program and the place where he felt most comfortable. With Hurley hellbent on surrounding him with one of the nation’s best recruiting classes, Akok can envision a return to the days when UConn was hanging National Championship banners on a regular basis.

”I look up at the NBA jerseys that are on the wall in the practice facility,” Akok said. “There aren’t just a couple, they almost stretch the entire length of the court. I wanna be on that wall one day and I wanna play with guys whose jerseys are on that wall.”

The relationships Akok built with Hurley, Moore, Young and Hunter were ultimately too strong and helped him realize where he wanted to be

The allure of playing for a program with such a rich NBA history wasn’t the only reason Akok chose UConn over Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Providence though. The relationships he built with Hurley and his assistants Tom Moore, Kimani Young and Kenya Hunter are what really sealed the deal. 

The elite 6’10” shot-blocker, who owns a smooth stroke and tremendous touch, will enroll at UConn for the 2nd semester. There will be outside chatter about Akok playing for UConn this season or possibly entering the 2019 NBA Draft. It’s all noise and conjecture. It’s also the type of thing that Akok no longer has to concern himself with now that he’s made his decision.

Akok is happily headed to a UConn program where noise and conjecture mean absolutely nothing. They don’t win you games or land your recruits. Instead, Hurley focuses on personal growth, player development and putting his guys in a position to succeed. He relentlessly preaches passion and toughness, characteristics that are built by actions and not by words. It’s a structure that caught Akok’s attention almost instantly and allowed him to recognize what he was looking for in his future program.

Akok summed things up perfectly when he was asked about his plans now that he’s committed: “It’s time to get to work.”

The Cook-Book: After committing to UConn, there was only one thing on Akok’s mind: “Let’s go see my future teammate.”