Got Poke? Scorpions Reportedly Smitten with 'Nova Star
- By Michael Miller, Day 116, 2021
LAS VEGAS - Scorpions management has publicly and privately denied all reports on the record, but confidential sources within the team insist that Las Vegas is aggressively shopping players in an effort to obtain a high draft pick in next year's draft.
Their alleged target is 19-year-old freshman small forward Victor Olojakpoke from Villanova University. Although draft declaration is still weeks away, Olojakpoke, often referred to by his nickname "Poke" is seriously considering entering the draft where he is certain to be a lottery pick. A 5* recruit from Fort Valley, Georgia, Poke chose Villanova over several other highly prestigious collegiate programs. This season, through 22 games, he has averaged 19.1 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.27 blocks per game. On the season, the Wildcats record is only 14-8, although Poke is clearly carrying a team that does not have players who are considered to be good pro prospects.
League news sources have spotted Scorpions' scouts at several of Poke's games this season. Poke is garnering much interest because of his tantalizing talent, with a 7'4"-inch wingspan that is wider than many of the starting centers and big men in the JBL. Poke projects as a defensive force, able to lockdown players on both the perimeter and the post. He also projects to have great offensive skills, although his stats on that front are underwhelming to date. Although he averages over 19 points a game, he is only hitting 2.7 of his 7.9 attempts from 3 this year. Also, Poke has shown an extreme unwillingness to get into the paint for easy buckets. Some scouts believe that those skills will come over a matter of time with development.
It is curious as to why the Scorpions would be so interested in Poke. This past offseason, the team traded for SF Derrick Griffin from the Bullets through the Thunder, who seems to have many of the same skills that Poke does. Additionally, as the Scorpions system revolves around getting to the hoop and finishing, it is curious that the team would be interested in a player that does not have those skills. On the other hand, perhaps Las Vegas intends to move to a more traditional transition style offense and take advantage of Poke's elite athleticism on the wing.
Reportedly, Las Vegas has had high level talks with other teams anticipated to land in the lottery, offering significant players for a shot at a lottery pick. Shockingly, one player whose name has been bandied about in those discussions is PF/OC Omar Grant, an elite All-Pro in his prime who is anticipated to make the All Star team this year after leading the Scorpions to a Top 3 defense. "I am not at liberty to discuss any internal negotiations or dialogue, and we may simply just stand pat for the time being", said Scorpions General Manager Michael Miller. "We are a very talented team and a threat in the West, and it would need to be an amazing offer for us to consider blowing this up for potential down the road."
The trade deadline is fast approaching, so if the Scorpions do make a move, it will reveal itself in the very near future.