Fran Dunphy just finished putting together one of his best recruiting classes he has ever had as the head coach of Temple University. Among the names of the 2015 recruits are Levan Alston, Ayan Nunez de Carvalho, Trey Lowe, and Ernest Aflakpui. Aflakpui is the “big man” recruit of the class and it won’t be surprising to see him make an impact as soon as the Owls start the season against North Carolina on November 13.
The 6-foot-10 Ghanan native graduated from Archbishop Carroll High School this past spring. His alma mater has had a lot of success lately, including reaching the 2015 PIAA State Championship, where they lost by two to Neumann-Goretti High School in the final. Unfortunately for Aflakpui, he was sidelined for the better part of his senior year due to a knee injury and couldn’t help his team out on the court.
He proved his worth, however, by his performances during his junior year. In a competitive league, Aflakpui averaged 10.3 points and 8.1 rebounds a game. He was a key player in Archbishop Caroll’s five loss season that eventually ended in the state quarterfinal. He earned the honors first team All-Catholic League and second team All-State.
Thanks to his great junior year, he was among some of the most highly rated recruits in the state. Scout.com and Rivals.com both had him rated as a three star recruit. ESPN had him as a four star recruit and even ranked him as the 27th best center in the nation’s 2015 recruiting class.
Aflakpui will have to split his time on the court with six-foot-eleven Devontae Watson, a senior who played a bigger and better role for the Owls as the 2015 season came closer to an end. Watson shared his time last season with then-freshman Obi Enechionyia, but Obi will most likely end up being used much more as a Power Forward along with senior Jaylen Bond. Aflakpui will probably get his minutes coming off of the bench because it won’t be surprising to see Dunphy start Watson at center every game especially early on in the season.
All of the freshmen are expected to make an immediate impact as soon as this season starts and Aflakpui is no exception. Although he will more than likely be coming off the bench, I imagine he is going to be a force to be reckoned with down low on both sides of the ball when he is put into the game. He is a productive player and he definitely adds some depth to the big men on the Owls. Depth is something Temple has struggled to consistently have, partly because of fouls last season.
It would be interesting to know how highly other schools would think of him if he hadn’t been injured his senior year. Schools like Villanova, St. Joe’s, La Salle, San Diego State, and VCU gave him offers, but Ernest chose Temple in the end. Who knows, the Owls may very well come out of this recruiting class with a steal.
Here’s a short highlight video of a tournament he participated in with Archbishop Carroll:
Photo courtesy of philly.com