(Photo courtesy of Auburn University Athletics)
FOGGY BOTTOM – The biggest hole on George Washington’s roster has been filled. On Saturday, former Auburn center Babatunde “Stretch” Akingbola announced his commitment to GW.
6’10” Babatunde “Stretch” Akingbola @stretch4bball has committed to George Washington University & @coach_c_caputo . The former 4⭐️ big man played 50 games for the Auburn Tigers. Stretch was a product of @AOTBasketball & @McEachernBoysBB #RaiseHigh pic.twitter.com/bUoWQVkkTa
— 𝒜𝓃𝒹𝓇ℯ𝓌 𝒮𝓁𝒶𝓉ℯ𝓇 (@Andrew__Slater) June 17, 2023
Akingbola will come to the Revolutionaries as a graduate transfer after spending the last four years with the Tigers. The former four star recruit suited up for 50 games, with most of those coming during his sophomore season in 2020-2021 when he served as Auburn’s primary backup center. That season, Akingbola averaged 1.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks in 10.9 minutes per game.
“I’m an anchor on defense. I talk, put my team where they’re supposed to be and hold it down,” said Akingbola. “On offense, just finishing around the basket, catching the ball, finishing, offensive rebounding, putbacks, stuff like that.”
Akingbola is currently working on expanding his offensive game, focusing on becoming more of a playmaker out of the post.
Last season, Akingbola was limited by injury and was only able to appear in four games at the beginning of the season. He is currently trying to qualify for a medical redshirt, which would give him two more years of eligibility instead of just one.
Off the court, Akingbola was named to the SEC Basketball Leadership Council in 2021-22 and 2022-23 and made SEC Academic Honor Roll in 2021-22 and SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll in 2019-2020.
Akingbola did not have a “final list” before choosing GW, but was in contact with Jacksonville, Alabama State, Kennesaw State, and Sacramento State, among others.
During his visit, the GW coaching staff prepared extensive footage of Akingbola and showed how they would utilize him and what they would work on to improve his game. The way they personalized their recruiting pitch to Akingbola and showed how much they wanted him played a significant role in his decision to choose GW.
“They did the research on me to know what I’m good at, what I’m not,” said Akingbola. “When people do that, that means they invest in you. They want you. When I saw that, I was sold.”
Both the current staff’s commitment to cultivating an environment where international players can succeed and GW’s past track record, and Washington DC’s cultural diversity were all also very appealing to Akingbola, who originally hails from Nigeria.
“When I came to town, I saw a lot of international people around and a lot of different things, places, food, and stuff to do,” said Akingbola. “Some schools you can’t find what to eat and will have to eat what is given to you. Coming to GW, you’ll find people from your own culture.”
Akingbola will join Australian redshirt junior forward Keegan Harvey, German sophomore wing Benny Schröder, and British freshman forward Zamoku Weluche-Ume as this year’s international cohort.
“People from different places can bring that experience to the team,” said Akingbola. “They played overseas, they know how it’s played over there. With me coming from the SEC, I can bring that to the team too.”
Akingbola will bring considerable experience with him to GW after spending four years at Auburn. There, he was a part of multiple NCAA tournament teams, shared the court with NBA talent like Cavaliers wing Isaac Okoro, Hornets forward JT Thor, Jazz center Walker Kessler, and former third overall pick and Rockets forward Jabari Smith Jr., and competed in a loaded SEC.
“For me, I just want to be a leader,” said Akingbola. “I’ve been in college for four years, I know what it takes.”
With one scholarship remaining, GW’s roster is just about finished. As the roster currently stands, Akingbola looks like he will slot into the starting center role.
GW is likely to pursue an experienced ball handler with their final scholarship.