Marlin's Cajuns add 6-foot-11 Portland transfer Akwuba

Tim Buckley
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

The UL basketball program is on the receiving end of a big pickup, quite literally, from the NCAA transfer portal.

The Ragin’ Cajuns on Thursday announced the signing of 6-foot-11, 220-pound Theo Akwuba, a transfer from the University of Portland with a 7-4 wingspan.

Akwuba (pronounced ah-KOO-buh) will have two years of eligibility remaining, according to a news release from the Cajuns. It’s not clear, however, when Akwuba will be eligible to begin playing; a UL spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for an answer to the question.

Earlier this month UL lost two players, sophomore big man Kristian Lafayette and freshman guard Calvin Temple, both reserves, to the transfer portal, which helped to open a scholarship spot for Akwuba.

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Portland's Theo Akwuba dunks against Houston in Honolulu in a December, 2019, game. Akwuba is transferring to UL.

“Theo is a high character young man who spent two seasons in the West Coast Conference competing against some great teams like Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s and BYU,” UL Bob Marlin said in a statement released by the team.

“His ability to alter shots, rebound, and finish around the rim,” Marlin added, “will increase our team’s presence in the paint.”

UL's top big man last season, Tirus Smith, was suspended for disciplinary seasons to end the season. But as of now is slated to return in 2019-20, as are, among others, forward Dou Gueye and top-scoring and top-rebounding forward Jalen Johnson.

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Akwuba appeared in 52 career games over two seasons for Portland, starting 26 of 30 as a freshman in 2018-19, when he finished second in the highly regarded WCC in blocked shots with an average of a team-high 1.5 per game.

He averaged 3.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 17.0 minutes per game that season.

During his sophomore season, Akwuba averaged 4.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, 0.8 block in 12.7 minutes per game – all off the bench – over 22 games.

He scored 10 points with 10 rebounds in a WCC game at BYU back in January, when he went 5-for-8 from the floor with four blocks, and a 10-point, 11-rebound double-double at San Diego in early February.

Akwuba’s 46 total blocks as a freshman ranked seventh in Portland single-season history.

He blocked three or more shots in eight games that season, including a season-high five against Sacramento State.

“His upside is high,” Marlin said in his statement.

“He averaged a triple double as a senior in high school and was the leading shot blocker in the state of Alabama for two seasons. His motor is great for a guy his size.”

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Akwuba once blocked 22 shots in a high school game for Montgomery, Alabama’s Brewbaker Tech Magnet, where as a senior he averaged with 11.7 points, 14.1 rebounds and 10.4 blocks per game.

He earned Class 5A first team Alabama Sports Writers Association (ASWA) All-State honors there and led all players in blocked shots during his final, and only, two years of varsity high school basketball.

“I’m looking forward,” Akwuba said in a statement released by UL, “to be a part of this program and the winning culture that has been established there and can’t wait to put on the uniform and represent the Ragin’ Cajuns family.”

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