June 16, 2008
Fullerton, Calif. - Guard Josh Akognon today removed his name from the NBA draft list and will return to Cal State Fullerton for his senior season.
"I'm coming back to improve my draft stock for next year and to help my teammates get back to the tournament," said Akognon, the Titans' leading scorer in 2007-08 at 20.2 points per game.
"I now know what the process is like. I didn't have an agent this time, but next time I will and that will help me."
On the floor at workouts, Akognon learned his future is probably as a point guard and how physical the big men are at the next level.
"I learned you have to know how to make plays for other people and I will be learning the point position," he said. "Coach (Bob) Burton and I have talked about making me a combo guard.
"The big men are really impressive. When you are coming off a screen, they really clear out an area. Now I better understand what a point guard looks at."
Akognon worked out twice in the past few weeks with the Sacramento Kings
and later with the Golden State Warriors.
"Obviously, we're happy to have him back but I think it's also a great move for Josh," said Burton. "He will have a whole year to work on things that will get him to the next level. He will be able to show the NBA and the rest of the country that he is one of the best guards in the nation. I really believe he will be good enough to play in the NBA.
Akognon was selected the Outstanding Player of the 2008 Big West Conference Tournament where he led the Titans to their first title in 30 years. He then scored 31 points in a first-round loss to defensive-minded Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament.
A product of Casa Grande High School in Petaluma, California, Akognon was selected to the NABC All-District 15 second team with UCSB's Alex Harris, Arizona's Chase Budinger, New Mexico State's Justin Hawkins and UNLV's Wink Adams. (The first team was Kevin Love and Darren Collison of UCLA, O. J. Mayo of USC, Jerryd Bayless of Arizona and James Harden of Arizona State). Akognon, who sat out 2006-07 after transferring from Washington State, also made second-team All-Big West.
Akognon set two Cal State Fullerton records and tied another in his junior season as the Titans posted their best Div. I mark ever at 24-9. His 116 3-point field goals were a single-season record, easily surpassing the old mark of 89 by Don Leary in 1992-93. Akognon also set a single-season record for free-throw percentage at .899 (old mark was .876 by Joe Small in 1991-92), making 107 of 119 to rank No. 7 in the nation. At one point he made 37 in a row to tie Kevin Henderson's 1985-86 CSF standard.
Akognon's season total of 647 points was the third best by a Titan, trailing only Leon Wood (719 in 1983-84) and Cedric Ceballos (669 in 1989-90), both of whom later played several seasons in the NBA.
Point guard Bobby Brown was the first Titan to explore the draft but withdraw and return for his senior season in 2006-07, when he made first-team All-Big West Conference after leading he team in scoring at 20.2 points per game. He has completed one very successful professional season in Germany.
Fullerton was seventh in the nation in scoring in 2007-08 at 81.8 points per game. But outside of Akognon's 20.2 points per game, the Titans return only 10.9 points per game in guards Marcio Lassiter (3.3) and Junior Russell (6.1) and reserve center Eddie Lima (1.5).
Akognon played for Nigeria in the 2006 World Championships in Japan. His team was one win away from facing the United States.