Papillion-La Vista grad Ayo Akinwole improved shooting on display early for Mavs

Ayo Akinwole shot 46.6% from the field last season, but attempted 3.6 shots per game and averaged 5.0 points. “I shot it well, but I wasn’t shooting it a lot,” Akinwole said before the season. “This year, I’d like to shoot it a little bit more and just be able to contribute more for this team.”

UNO junior Ayo Akinwole isn’t sure how many extra jump shots he attempted during the quiet moments of the summer, when he entered the gym to improve his game.

He’d hit the court with assistant Pat Eberhart or set up the shooting machine underneath the hoop. Maybe it was 100. Or 200. However many it took for him to feel productive.

Every single day.

Akinwole finished last season as a 46.6% shooter (46.5% from 3). But he attempted 3.6 shots per game and averaged 5.0 points. That’s why he wanted to build some confidence this offseason.

“I shot it well, but I wasn’t shooting it a lot,” Akinwole said before the season. “This year, I’d like to shoot it a little bit more and just be able to contribute more for this team.”

His hard work was on display during the Mavs’ first game of the season Tuesday. His team lost 68-54 at Wichita State, but Akinwole led the squad with 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting (2 of 4 from 3-point range). He added four assists, eight rebounds and two steals.

The Papillion-La Vista product will look to build on that when UNO (0-1) hosts Midland (2-2) for a noon game at Baxter Arena.

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