Josh Akognon confirmed Wednesday that he will open training camp with the Dallas Mavericks in a week and a half. His decision to sign on with the Mavs was based largely on an old adage: It's good to have friends in high places.
After a strong summer-league performance with the Sacramento Kings in Las Vegas, Akognon — who starred at Casa Grande High before playing at Washington State, Cal State Fullerton and with several professional teams overseas — had been wooed by at least seven NBA teams. They included the Orlando Magic, New York Knicks, Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks and San Antonio Spurs, in addition to the Mavericks and Kings.
What led him to Dallas?
"Mark Cuban," was Akognon's two-word answer.
The sharp-shooting Akognon led the Kings with a 19.3-point scoring average during the summer. And after one particularly strong game against the Lakers, he said, his agent got a congratulatory call from the Mavericks owner.