Josh Akognon’s NBA dream is still alive with the Mavericks

Posted Thursday, Jul. 18, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Despite his ability to shoot, Josh Akognon has never felt he was a shoo-in to make it in the NBA.

Since 2009, Akognon has played pro basketball in Estonia, China, and with the Dallas Mavericks.

Akognon, 27, is on the Mavs’ summer league roster.

“I feel good that I’m in this situation,” said Akognon, who is averaging a team-high 20.5 points. “Two or three years ago I couldn’t even get in the summer league, so now it’s a blessing.”

Pursuing his NBA dream has been a challenge for Akognon, a father of two.

Akognon’s son, Josiah, turns 3 next month, and his daughter, Ariyah, is 2 months old.

“Having a wife and my two kids, she’s great because she wants me to go out, she wants me to do the stuff, she wants me to understand that she’s OK,” Akognon said. “She understands that this is my dream, but at the same time she’ll send me a text every now and then like, ‘When are you coming [home], I wish you guys lose so you can come home.’”

Mavs summer league coach Monte Mathis said the 5-foot-11, 185-pound Akognon reminds him of Eddie House, who played for nine NBA teams from 2000-2011. Mathis also said Akognon needs to shore up his defense.

“He can’t be a liability on defense,” Mathis said. “So he’s got to be a guy that if there are mismatches, he’s got to understand the schemes and front the posts and things like that.

“I think he can get a job because everybody wants good shooters. It’s just his height and his size that a lot of teams might think would be a liability at the other end, and he’s got to prove that that’s not the case.”

Carmichael pushing

If the Mavs have any roster spots available once training camp is over, one of them might go to Jackie Carmichael.

A 6-9, 240-pound rookie free agent from Illinois State, Carmichael has been a bright spot for the Mavs during summer league play.

The burly power forward had 23 points and nine rebounds on Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Owner Mark Cuban wasn’t ready to commit to whether Carmichael is a shoo-in to make the final roster, which could be as many as 15 players.

“I don’t know, we’ll see,” Cuban said. “There’s always an opportunity, so we’ll have to see how it all plays out.

“But he’s definitely doing his best to earn it, that’s for sure.”

Carmichael, who made 9 of 14 shots against the Clippers, hopes the Mavs will give him the chance to jump-start his NBA career this fall.

“It is early, but I would like to think pretty good,” Carmichael said. “I’m a hard-working, tough, defensive-minded player and I feel like I’d fit in great with the organization and I would love to be a Dallas Maverick this coming season.

“It’s a great opportunity and I’m just trying to take full advantage of it.”

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @dwainprice

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