- Year: Freshman
- Height: 6-foot-3
- Position: Forward/Center
- Last year's stat line: N/A
Game Breakdown: Akinbode-James’ recruiting ranking topped out on All Star Girls Report at No. 62. She can step away from the low post to knock down a midrange jumper. But what makes the freshman even more impactful is her hustle, which was on full display in the team’s Blue-White scrimmage. She hustled up and down the floor and will serve a vital role in the transition game this season.
At 6-foot-3, Akinbode-James will have an advantage on both ends of the floor, especially when she is playing alongside forwards Leaonna Odom and Jade Williams. Duke is the tallest team in the ACC and in a lineup with an abundance of quality forwards, the freshman will have room to back down opponents in the low post as well as stepping out for a short jump shot. But there is significant room for improvement, as the Nigeria-born athlete has only been playing basketball for a little over four years now.
Role on the Team: Akinbode-James will start for the Blue Devils from day one and will play significant minutes in the frontcourt for head coach Joanne P. McCallie. The freshman will have ample opportunity to display her tenacity on both offense and defense and will take on a larger offensive role as the season progress.
At the moment, with Odom, Williams and Haley Gorecki likely carrying the majority of the load for the first-team offense, Akinbode-James might slip through the cracks while one of those three players have the ball. But when Odom is driving from behind the arc to the paint similar to last season’s NCAA Tournament, the defense will have to converge on the junior to halt an easy jumper, leaving Akinbode-James open on either block for an easy layup.
Projected stats: 5.2 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 2.3 APG
Stay tuned to the Blue Zone for our continuing player previews with senior Faith Suggs tomorrow. Previous players previewed include Sofia Roma, Jayda Adams, Uchenna Nwoke, Rayah Craig and Miela Goodchild.