“Obviously, going to a good D1 school was a big goal of mine, the next goal that I have is to play in March Madness.”
Utah Valley gets commitments from Drake Allen and Simon Akena
Todd Phillips has been hot on the recruiting trail bringing in former SUU guard Drake Allen and a 6-6 combo guard Simon Akena via McCook Community College. Phillips has done well to rebuild his team, which lost a lot after its run to the NIT Semifinals in March. Guard Jaden McClanahan announced that he was returning to Orem in a recent social media post as well.
Allen is a 6-4 guard with two years of eligibility left to play. He was a former Westlake high school standout and played two seasons at Snow before transferring to SUU to play for Todd Simon. After Simon left to take the job at Bowling Green following this season Allen hit the portal and committed to the team he helped defeat in the WAC Tournament in Las Vegas.
This isn’t the first time the Wolverines have looked within the conference to find players to restock their roster. Last year Mark Madsen and Phillips pulled in Tahj Small, a first-team All-WAC selection from Tarleton. Allen steps in this season coming off a WAC Newcomer of The Year first-team selection.
Committed!! @UVUmbb @ToddPhillips7 @okesonT! Thank you @CoachBrandl and @Coach_Ghost@JUCOadvocate pic.twitter.com/ZrBcJZ1Q3F
— Simon (@SimonAkena112) April 20, 2023
Akena steps in as an immediate help on the wing and a player that can fill the big loss of Le’tre Darthard. In 31 games Akena averaged 15.9 points at McCook, including shooting 46% from the field and 30% from long range. Akena said the success and momentum of last season helped make it an easy decision for him to commit to UVU.
“I want to play somewhere where we can compete. Obviously, going to a good D1 school was a big goal of mine, the next goal that I have is to play in March Madness.”
When asked to describe his game, Akena said he is a do-it-all type of player. One that can compete on both sides of the floor.
“I do anything really, I’m really good at attacking, and I’m versatile at both ends of the floor. I’m used to playing in different types of systems, I can be a 3 and D guy as well as a catch-and-shoot guy as well.”
With former head coach Mark Madsen leaving to take the job at Cal, there were questions about whether Phillips could keep the momentum going from last year’s special season. These two commitments should go a long way in helping the Wolverines stay competitive in the WAC.
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2nd Semester highlight. 16ppg 6rbg 77%FT pic.twitter.com/wg2OtBNlHS
— Simon (@SimonAkena112) March 7, 2023