OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss men’s basketball has added one of the NCAA’s top shot blockers and rebounders in Louisiana transfer Theo Akwuba, head coach Kermit Davis announced Tuesday.
Akwuba – a 6-foot-11, 225-pound forward originally from Montgomery, Alabama – chose Ole Miss over Iowa after playing the last two seasons as a force down low for the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns. He has tallied 17 career double-doubles – 10 of which came during a breakout junior campaign at Louisiana where he ranked among the NCAA elite in rebounding and shot blocking. That year, Akwuba was the only player in the nation to finish top-10 in blocks and offensive rebounds, finishing the season eighth nationally in total blocks (68), ninth in blocks per game (2.6), and ninth in offensive rebounds per game (3.8).
“Theo has tremendous presence with a 7-6 wingspan, and he has ranked in the top-10 of college basketball in blocks and offensive rebounds,” Davis said. “He is a fantastic rim runner, he has great hands and possesses an unbelievable work ethic. Theo has made great strides offensively at Louisiana, and we feel he will continue to make a huge jump in expanding his offensive game in the SEC. We are so excited to welcome Theo to Ole Miss.”
Most recently, Akwuba led the Ragin’ Cajuns to a Sun Belt title game appearance his senior season in 2021-22, in which he averaged 9.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, 2.9 offensive rebounds per game, shot 54.8 percent overall, and was named to the Sun Belt Preseason First-Team and the Lou Henson Award Preseason Watch List for top mid-major player in the nation. Akwuba swatted multiple shots in 11 games, and was one of just three players in the Sun Belt to record five blocks in multiple games – with one of those occurrences being a season-high 21 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks against Georgia Southern on Feb . 2. 3.
That junior campaign in the COVID-shortened 2020-21 season was a productive one for Akwuba, who won Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year following a dominant year. That season, Akwuba averaged 11.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.6 blocks, 1.0 assists and shot 63.5 percent overall and 71 percent from the free throw line.
He started the 2020-21 season off in superb fashion in front of a national audience, putting up 22 points on 9-of-9 shooting, eight rebounds and two blocks against the eventual national champions, Baylor. Overall, Akwuba ended the year with 17 double-digit scoring games, 12 with double-digit rebounds and blocked at least one shot in 24 of 26 games played.
Akwuba was First-Team All-State at Brewbaker Technology Magnet, where he led the state of Alabama in blocks both his junior and senior seasons.
Akwuba is the seventh new addition for Ole Miss for the 2022-23 season, joining a high school signing class that currently ranks No. 12 in the nation by ESPN with Top-100 signees No. 81 Malique Ewin (Forward, 6-10, 220, Lawrenceville, Georgia/Berkmar HS), No. 97 TJ Caldwell (Guard, 6-4, 190, Dallas, Texas/Faith Family Academy (Oak Cliff)), No. 98 Amaree Abram (Guard, 6-4, 190, Port Arthur, Texas/Southern California Academy); fellow four-star high school signee Robert Cowherd (Guard, 6-5, 195, Grayson, Georgia/Southern California Academy); Jackson State graduate transfer Jayveous McKinnis (Forward, 6-7, 225, Brandon, Mississippi); and Loyola New Orleans transfer Myles Burns (Forward, 6-6, 210, Houston, Texas). Caldwell, Ewin and Cowherd were early signees last Novemberwhile Abram was announced back on April 13.