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Acquaah looks to lead WSU back to tourney

Redshirt freshman hopes to make it to NBA after finishing top-5 in Pac-12, compete in tournament

Redshirt+freshman+guard+Milan+Acquaah+talks+about+his+goals+for+WSU+and+a+future+in+the+NBA+Hall+of+Fame.
Redshirt freshman guard Milan Acquaah talks about his goals for WSU and a future in the NBA Hall of Fame.

Redshirt freshman guard Milan Acquaah talks about his goals for WSU and a future in the NBA Hall of Fame.

RACHEL SUN | The Daily Evergreen

RACHEL SUN | The Daily Evergreen

Redshirt freshman guard Milan Acquaah talks about his goals for WSU and a future in the NBA Hall of Fame.

DYLAN GREENE, Evergreen reporter

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At the age of five, Milan Acquaah’s mom forced him to play YMCA basketball to keep him busy and stay active.

Now, the WSU redshirt freshman point guard is looking to lead the Cougar basketball team back to relevancy.

“I feel like since we’ve been losing the last couple of years, a lot of people have brushed us under the rug,” Acquaah said. “I feel like if we play to the best of our ability and win games, it will bring a lot more excitement back to Pullman.”

Acquaah had to watch WSU’s disappointing 13-18 season last year from the bench after suffering a knee injury before the season began. Acquaah was then redshirted and has yet to take the court competitively for the team.

The California native said sitting on the bench gave him a different perspective on the game and helped him develop a better basketball IQ.

“It was very difficult sitting out, but I feel like it helped me a lot,” Acquaah said. “I saw [from] a coaches’ perspective of the game. I saw where players need to be, I saw how defenses rotate and I saw how point guards have to run the floor and lead the team.”

In high school, Acquaah was named a 2013 MaxPreps Freshman All-American and averaged 22.9 points in the 14 games he played during his senior season at Cathedral High School. His senior season was cut short due to injury.

Despite the success in high school, Acquaah wasn’t heavily recruited and only received offers from mid-major schools before receiving one from WSU during his junior year.

He visited WSU after receiving the offer, and loved the coaching staff and the atmosphere of the small town, so he committed.

“I feel like anybody would love to play sports in Pullman, Washington, because all the attention is on you basically,” Acquaah said.

Outside of basketball, the 19-year-old said he’s a big music fan. He enjoys listening to hip-hop and even writes his own rap music when he gets bored. On game days, Acquaah said his playlist is pretty diverse, including music by artists like Lil Uzi Vert and 21 Savage.

RACHEL SUN | The Daily Evergreen
Acquuah expects the basketball team to make it the NCAA tournament in the spring.

Growing up, Acquaah learned the basics of the game from his dad, who played basketball himself.

“He definitely showed me the ropes, and taught me all the things about basketball, and helped develop my game,” he said.

Acquaah said on the court, he tries to channel the demeanor and intensity of Russell Westbrook, who won the NBA’s MVP award last year.

However, Acquaah said he tries to be his own player and avoids modeling his game after anyone else. He also admitted that he wants to make a name for himself.

“I want [the fans] to view me as Milan Acquaah. I want to just bring a lot more excitement to the game,” he said.

Acquaah has dreams of making it to the NBA one day, and said he expects nothing less.

“I’ve been working hard in this sport for so many years that it’s only a matter of time before the hard [work] pays off,” he said. “I feel like if I play to the best of my potential, there is no way that I shouldn’t make it to the NBA.”

If the NBA plan doesn’t work out, the sport management major wants to own a business that teaches kids the fundamentals of basketball.

This year, Acquaah expects the team to make it back to the NCAA basketball tournament and finish in the top five of the Pac-12. The Cougars last went to the tournament in 2008.

Acquaah said the team is tired of the taste of defeat and is looking to change the narrative surrounding the basketball program.

“I feel like this year, we’ve built a mindset that we’re not taking losing for an answer and I feel like everybody’s willing to do what it takes to win,” Acquaah said.

WSU men’s basketball opens the season Nov. 12 against Texas Southern.

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