There were plenty of deserving candidates in the season's second week, lots of big-time performances by big-time players on teams in the lower 22 conferences. But we're going to use this space this time to recognize the efforts of a little guy from a little conference that gets little exposure back east. The second Mid-Majority Baller Of The Week for 2007-08 is Josh Akognon of Cal State Fullerton.
On Saturday, the 5-10 junior shooting guard scored 23 points at Southern Utah as the Titans stormed to a 78-63 win. He did so on 8-for-19 shooting and a 5-for-12 mark from beyond the arc. This contributed to a season average of 25.3 ppg (currently first among all Big West Conference players), and national-grade scoring efficiency with 34.5 points per 40 minutes (12th in D-I as of Sunday). He's shooting 51 percent from the floor on the campaign, along with a very nice 47.4 percent from threeland (18 in 38 attempts).
Akognon played for two years at Washington State before transferring south to CSF last July
for his final two years of eligibility. At Wazzu, he led the team in scoring (10.3 ppg), and there was that time on Feb. 11, 2006 when he dropped 16 points in a row on USC. But the sharpshooting Californian, a McDonald's All-American nominee out of high school, was was hemmed in by a methodical system -- one columnist said the shoehorning of Akognon into the Cougars' style was like "trying to convince a firearms salesman to believe in gun control."
The Titans are more than happy to cut him loose in a league that's dominated by little guards.
He's a veteran of international play, having represented Nigeria at the 2006 World Basketball Championship. And he's also a veteran of the nickname factory
, being labelled the "Petaluma Pistol" by broadcaster Steve Physioc (after the city of Akognon's origin) and "The Torch" by the CSF faithful. We'll just call him The Mid-Majority Baller of the Week.