Rothstein | Nicola Akele will play against Alabama

Mar 19, 2017; Sacramento, CA, USA; Rhode Island Rams forward Nicola Akele (45) controls the ball against Oregon Ducks forward Dillon Brooks (24) during the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Rhode Island Rams junior forward Nicola Akele will play during his team’s game against the Alabama Crimson Tide on Wednesday night after missing the previous game with an ankle injury, head coach Dan Hurley told FanRag Sports.

Akele has played in six games off the bench this season, averaging 4.3 points and 2.5 rebounds over 11.5 minutes per game while shooting 54.5 percent from the floor. His season high thus far was eight points, which he scored in a loss to Nevada on Nov. 13.

The Italian native arrived at Rhode Island in 2015-16 and started six of the 32 games in which he played during his freshman campaign, registering 2.8 points and 2.2 boards across 13.6 minutes a night. He made 45.5 percent of his field goal attempts, 41.2 percent of his 3-point tries and just 27.8 percent of his free throws.

Last season, Akele put up very similar numbers to his freshman year. He played in 35 contests and recorded 2.9 points and 2.4 rebounds in 12.7 minutes per game while converting 49.3 percent of his shots, 40.7 percent of his triples and 78.7 percent of his free throws.

The Rams have gotten off to a 5-2 start this season, most recently defeating Providence by a score of 75-68 on Saturday.

Jon Rothstein has been a college basketball insider for CBS Sports since 2010 and is the lead college basketball columnist for the FanRag Sports Network. He is also the host of the College Hoops Today Podcast via Compass Media Networks, which is available via iTunes. Rothstein is also a regular in-studio correspondent for both WFAN and CBS Sports Radio. He currently lives in Manhattan.

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