The eligibility of Arizona transfer Emmanuel Akot remains in limbo.
Boise State men’s basketball coach Leon Rice said Wednesday the NCAA recently denied the school’s transfer waiver request. The Broncos have filed an appeal on his behalf.
“It’s news, but it’s not news in the fact that we’re still working through the process and until it’s done, it’s not done,” Rice said. “The first step of the process is the waiver, and he was denied the waiver. Now you’re in the appeal process, and a lot of these have been granted by the appeal process, so that’s what we’re keeping our fingers crossed for.”
The Broncos will open the 2019-20 campaign Thursday night without Akot or Oregon transfer Abu Kigab. Boise State hosts an exhibition game against West Coast Baptist at 7 p.m. at the newly minted ExtraMile Arena. Kigab — a 6-foot-6 junior forward — will be eligible to play for the Broncos after the first semester, likely in time for the 2019 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu, which runs Dec. 22-25.
If the NCAA does not approve the Broncos’ appeal, Akot will have to redshirt the 2019-20 season and will have two years of eligibility remaining with the Broncos beginning with the 2020-21 season.
“They bring the energy, and they bring the athleticism,” Rice said. “Teaching kids how to be junkyard dogs is a hard thing to do, but both of those guys have it in them to be that kind of player.”
Rice said earlier this fall that if the versatile Akot were eligible, he would have a “huge” role this season. It’s easy to see why.
The 6-foot-8 junior forward was a five-star recruit in the 2017 class, ranking as the No. 24 overall player and the No. 7 small forward, according to 247Sports.com. ESPN.com gave Akot a scout grade of 88, making him the highest-rated player to ever join Boise State. He also was a member of ESPN’s Top 100 for 2017.
“With the new transfers coming in, they bring a different type of athleticism that we didn’t have last year,” Boise State senior Alex Hobbs said.
Akot spent a year and a half at Arizona, making 11 starts in 17 games during the 2018-19 season while averaging 3.8 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. He announced his intention to transfer in January. He averaged 10.4 minutes per game and played in all 31 of the Wildcats’ contests as a freshman. Arizona coach Sean Miller and his program are currently part of an NCAA investigation alleging pay-for-play.
Akot is a native of Canada and attended Wasatch Academy in Utah. While playing on the Adidas Gauntlet club circuit for Exum Elite, Akot averaged 17.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. He played for Canada at the 2016 FIBA U17 World Championships, where he averaged 9.9 points and 2.9 rebounds per game.
The Broncos are eager to unleash Akot on the Mountain West. Whether that will happen this season remains to be seen.
“I think anyone in this position would completely hope that you’d have all the answers right now,” Rice said. “You wish you could send in one piece of paper and ... they call you back that day, but that’s not the reality of it.”