By Joe Henricksen
The Akeem Springs recruitment has been interesting to say the least. And it's about to take another turn.
The Waukegan star has officially requested his release from Mississippi Valley State. The official release from the NCAA is pending, and the Springs family hopes to have everything cleared in the very near future and his recruitment back open.
Springs initially committed to Tennessee State in November of 2010. He ultimately de-committed and opened up his recruitment. Springs, who is an outstanding student academically, committed and signed with Mississippi Valley State this past November in one of the bigger recruiting steals of the year out of Illinois.
The biggest draw to the Mississippi school was family. Springs was familiar with the school due to having a sister, who is a cheerleader at the school, and a brother, who is on the football team, attending Mississippi Valley State. Plus, his mother, grandfather and several aunts and uncles are graduates.
However, since signing with Mississippi Valley State, there have been a few "philosophical differences" between the coaching staff and the Springs family, along with a family issue in Mississippi that has changed the landscape and comfort level.
"When your son is choosing a college, are you choosing a college for your family or are you choosing a college for your future?" says Dwayne Springs, Akeem's father. "Part of this [commitment to Mississippi Valley State] was that we went with comfort over maybe what was best for Akeem and his future. But there were also some things that have popped up since that have changed things."
Akeem Springs says he's not frustrated, despite the fact the process will start over again when/if he's granted his release.
"This has been an eye-opening experience, a learning experience for sure," says Akeem of the recruiting process. "I really don't think people realize how much goes into the recruiting process, all that is involved and all that you really don't know. I think that maybe all of this happened for a reason.
"I'm more eager than anything, eager to find the right place. I want to find that school that I'm comfortable with both academically and with basketball."
Springs, who is currently among the Hoops Report's top 15 prospects in Class of 2012 in Illinois, will be open to all suitors when granted his release. However, with the academics being so important, the Ivy League remains high on the list. Yale was very involved in recruiting Springs prior to his commitment to MVSU.
"Akeem will be back on the board when the NCAA says we are," says Dwayne Springs, who admits the thought of an Ivy League education for his son is very appealing. "Akeem hasn't taken one official visit yet, so he will have that opportunity to really get familiar with a few schools."
Springs has been a four-year varsity performer for coach Ron Ashlaw at Waukegan. As a freshman and sophomore he was a key contributor on Waukegan teams that finished second in the state in 2009 and third in the state in 2010. Last season as a junior he averaged 20 points a game and this season he's putting up 17.6 points and 8.2 rebounds a game.
"He's back to scoring in a lot of different ways for us," says Ashlaw. "That's a strength of his. When one way isn't working for him he has the ability to go to other things, especially at our level."
Springs has been battling a bit of a shoulder injury, aggravating it again Friday night in a win over Niles West as he scored a game-high 22 points. The versatile 6-3 Springs has long been known for his high motor and toughness, but he's refined his skill level over the last four seasons to become a bigger weapon on the perimeter.
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