COLUMBIA, Mo. – Mizzou Men’s Basketball signed 7-foot junior college center Axel Okongo to its 2019 recruiting class, head coach Cuonzo Martin announced Wednesday. Okongo attended Northwest College in Wyoming for two seasons, shooting 52 percent from the field as a sophomore. He joins Kobe Brown, Tray Jackson and Mario McKinney, Jr., as newcomers heading into Mizzou’s 2019-20 campaign.
Okongo hails from Saacy-sur-Marne, France, where he lived throughout his childhood before moving to Canada to continue his basketball career at Thetford Prep Academy in Quebec. At Thetford, he played for the same coaches who mentored current Toronto Raptor, Chris Boucher. Before finishing his collegiate career at Oregon, Boucher landed at Northwest College in Wyoming, paving the connection for Okongo to follow a similar path.
“Axel is a guy who will go to battle to make himself and those around him better every single day,” Martin said. “He’s a talented rim-protector who moves extremely well at his size, and can get out and run and finish in transition. His determination to get better and his willingness to put in time to continually improve will make him successful on and off the court.”
Okongo is lauded for his defensive prowess by his coaches at both the prep and junior college levels, posting five or six blocked shots in a game on multiple occasions and averaging more than three swats per outing. In 22 game appearances in 2018-19, he pulled down 49 rebounds in 231 minutes.
A well-documented hard worker, Okongo balanced time as a student-athlete with a job on the school’s custodial staff to pay his way at his Northwest College. Following his time in Wyoming, the 7-footer earned spots in several Junior College showcases around the country.
Okongo shined at the Evan Turner Showcase in Chicago before signing at Mizzou. The 7-footer is set to bolster the Tigers’ frontcourt alongside experienced veterans Jeremiah Tilmon, Jr., Reed Nikko and Mitchell Smith.
— Mizzou Athletics —