2012-2013 Overall Rank: #70
Conference Rank: #2 MAC
Akron Team Page
Akron had another solid season in 2011-2012, earning their fifth straight postseason berth. This time though they had to settle for the NIT after falling to Ohio in the MAC Tournament final. It turned out the Bobcats represented the conference pretty well, again, in the NCAA Tournament. Meanwhile, the Zips fell at Northwestern in the opening round of the NIT. The MAC is always a balanced conference, but Akron has been a very steady team under Coach Keith Dambrot. Another postseason appearance is in the works, but Ohio could stand in the way of the postseason tournament Akron prefers.
2011-12 Record: 22-12, 13-3
2011-12 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Keith Dambrot
Coach Record: 184-87 at Akron, 292-157 overall
Power forward Nikola Cvetinovic is the big loss for Akron. He was rarely the flashiest player around, but Cvetinovic was always productive. He could bang in the paint and step outside and knock down the long ball. He always did his job on the glass and even passed very well for a big guy. His toughness and versatility will be missed, but the Zips will reload. Guard Brett McClanahan saw his playing time diminish immensely during his senior season. He went from a starter who averaged 10.0 points per game two years ago to a reserve who averaged just 4.4 points last season.
With McClanahan gone, there is a need for depth on the perimeter. Coach Dambrot has four new options to throw into that mix. Jake Kretzer, a 6-7 wing, is the most intriguing prospect. Kretzer shoots like a guard and moves a bit like a guard as well. But with his size and growing 210 pound frame, he can hang out in the paint as well. Reggie McAdams is another big wing. For now McAdams will likely be used as a versatile defensive presence. Blake Justice redshirted last year and could be the shooter off the bench this team needs to replace McClanahan. The last of the new guards is Carmelo Betancourt, a true point guard who could be looking for a little quality playing time off of the bench.
Who to Watch:
Akron will spend some time playing a little smaller than they did last year with Cvetinovic gone, but the opposition will not notice as long as Zeke Marshall is standing in the paint. The seven-footer is a shot blocking machine and no team in the MAC has had an easy time getting to the basket against the Zips over the last three years. Marshall will make sure his fourth season will be just as productive. But Marshall is more than just a shot blocker; he also led the team with 10.4 points per game as a junior and will likely be the leader again. Even if Marshall is not the most productive scorer on the team, point guard Alex Abreu will make sure the offense runs through the big man. Abreu is a potent scorer in his own right, tallying 9.6 points per game last season during his first year as a full-time starter. Abreu is a very good shooter and dished out 4.8 assists per game as well. He will take on more of a leadership role this year and could turn into a big time scorer. Quincy Diggs is another player to keep an eye on. The 6-6 senior earned the MAC Sixth Man of the Year award in 2011-2012, averaging 8.5 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists. He could stay in that sixth man role or step into the starting lineup on a more consistent basis if Akron is comfortable playing him or Chauncey Gilliam at the four spot.
Either way, Gilliam and Brian Walsh will return to the starting lineup. Gilliam, a 6-5 forward, will not put up huge numbers, but he found his niche doing the dirty work on the perimeter during his first year in Akron after transferring from UMBC. When Gilliam does score, it could come from inside or out and there is a need for a forward who can shoot, so Gilliam could see an expanded role this year. Walsh will join Abreu as a shooter in the backcourt. Unlike Abreu, Walsh will do most of his damage from beyond the arc, but he did shoot 43.4 percent from long range last year and helped out quite a bit on the glass. As long as he can keep doing that, Akron will not need Walsh to be a multi-faceted scorer who can slash to the basket with ease. Nick Harney and Demetrius Treadwell will give the Zips some quality depth and girth in the frontcourt. Both are only 6-7, but Harney can knock down some shots and Treadwell is a beast on the boards. Deji Ibitayo and Josh Egner were limited by injuries last year, but will look to crack the regular rotation. At the very least they will provide Coach Dambrot with a ton of depth and plenty of options pending on the situation and that will get this team back to the postseason and they will give Ohio a run for their money.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
Alex Abreu, Junior, Guard, 9.6 points per game
Brian Walsh, Junior, Guard, 8.3 points per game
Chauncey Gilliam, Senior, Forward, 6.5 points per game
Quincy Diggs, Senior, Forward, 8.5 points per game
Zeke Marshall, Senior, Center, 10.4 points per game
Madness 2013 NBA Draft Rankings:
#52 Zeke Marshall