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Akoh down low: transfer forward gives Griz balanced attack

Jamar Akoh waits to be introduced in front of the home crowd prior to Montana's game against North Dakota.

Jamar Akoh has been a key contributor to a Grizzlies basketball team that has found its stride in recent weeks. The 6-foot-8 junior is filling the stat sheet for Montana, but he had to wait for his opportunity.

Following his sophomore season at Cal State Fullerton, Akoh decided he needed a change of scenery.

"I did some research, and I saw the success they (Montana) had previous seasons and they competed for championships each year. So that kind of drew my attention," said Akoh. "When I came here I loved the guys on the team, the coaching staff, the community, all that. So it just felt right."

So Akoh made the move to Missoula, but due to NCAA transfer rules the California native had to sit out last season as a red-shirt.

"He was working on some things," said Griz head coach Travis Decuire. "He was getting healthy, and so he was a good player last year but I am not sure he was the player that he is right now."

Akoh introduced himself to the conference last week in a week way, winning Big Sky Player of the Week honors after a career-high 34-point performance in Saturday's victory against Northern Colorado.

"I think I am in a system that allows me to be dominant and demand the ball and make plays," said Akoh. "I think that is the biggest part is the system that I am in -- allowing me to get the ball and create."

So far this season Akoh ranks 15th in the conference for points per game (14.4) and fifth in the league for rebounds per contest (6.9). His post presence gives Decuire a new element to his team after last season's top four scorers for the Grizzlies were all guards.

"I was excited about an opportunity to have a low post threat in combination with the back court we have had," he said. "I think now we are starting to see what good chemistry between the inside, outside game looks like, and I just hope we can sustain it."

That balanced attack has the Grizzlies currently atop the Big Sky Conference standings with a 4-0 record.

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