#97 Akron Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Akron Zips

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #97
Conference Rank: #3 Mid-American

Akron Team Page#97 Akron Men's Basketball 2015-2016 PreviewBuy Akron Basketball Tickets

By Akron standards, they have had a couple disappointing seasons. But even a disappointing 2014-2015 campaign resulted in a 21 win season. But for eight years in a row the Zips were in the MAC title game; the last two seasons they have failed to get there. There are some holes to fill, but Coach Keith Dambrot will work through senior Pat Forsythe. The 6-11 center was forced to step up his production last year and he responded, leading the team with 10.0 points and 1.3 blocks per game and adding 4.9 rebounds.

2014-15 Record: 21-14, 9-9
2014-15 Postseason: none
Coach: Keith Dambrot
Coach Record: 252-121 at Akron, 360-191 overall

Who’s Out:  
Much of the Zips struggles last season stemmed from the suspension of Demetrius Treadwell. They survived without him, but now at least they have a full offseason to fill the void left behind by the departure of their former leading scorer. As far as players who actually played last year are concerned, the big losses for Akron are Nyles Evans and Deji Ibitayo. Evans, a 5-11 guard, started 34 games and averaged 4.7 points and 1.6 assists. Ibitayo, a 6-4 guard, was second on the team in scoring with 9.9 points per game and knocked down 37.6 percent of his three-point attempts. B.J. Gladden showed some potential as a freshman, but opted to transfer.

Who’s In:
Coach Dambrot still has some young talent that is developing, but he will add more to the mix with this recruiting class. The star of the class is guard Josh Williams, a local product out of Akron. He could earn a starting role, but will at least provide a nice offensive punch off of the bench. Walk-on Jimond Ivey redshirted last season and will provide some emergency depth this time around. Daniel Utomi, a 6-6 wing, is a bit raw, but he is a good all-around scorer. Speaking of raw, the story is same for 6-6 forward Peter Agba and 6-8 forward Emmanuel Olojakpoke. Strength and a few pounds need to be added, especially in Olojakpoke’s case, but both are great athletes who can get up and down the floor.  

Who to Watch:
Last season Akron was in dire need of a point guard. They recruited Noah Robotham and Antonio Jackson to fill the void and they did not disappoint. Robotham started 25 games before an ACL injury ended his season in the middle of February. He averaged 9.9 points, the most by an Akron freshman in over a decade, and added 3.3 assists. When healthy, Robotham is a dangerous scoring point guard who can play some pretty good defense too. He knocked down 36.0 percent of his three point attempts and he can knock down shots against any team that slacks off him and worries too much about his first step to the basket. When Robotham was out at the end of the season, Jackson really stepped up. On the year he averaged 6.2 points and 1.6 assists, but he scored in double figures in seven of the last eight games and averaged 3.4 assists during that stretch. The point guard spot is in very safe hands for the next three years. The rest of the backcourt is very big. Reggie McAdams and Jake Kretzer are both 6-7 senior wings and sophomore Aaron Jackson is 6-8. McAdams is the best shooter on the team. He knocked down 41.1 percent of his team high 158 three-point attempts. Kretzer is not a bad shooter either and is also a much more effective rebounder on the wing.

Final Projection:
Kwan Cheatham will join Forsythe in the frontcourt after averaging 7.9 points and a team high 5.0 rebounds. Offensively, Cheatham is a stretch four, but on the other end of the floor he is very tough on the glass and a capable shot blocker. Isaiah Johnson will back up Forsythe again this season. The 6-10 junior is not much of an offensive threat, but he will block some shots and hit the glass effectively. The newcomers will look to eat into his minutes, but the newcomers also provide Akron with more size options. When Cheatham needs a break from his power forward spot, the Zips can now call on players just as big instead of sliding a wing over. In fact, this team’s size could cause a lot of problems for the rest of the MAC. It is quite likely that McAdams, Kretzer and Cheatham will be starting at the two, three and four spots. That is a lot of size and a lot of quality shooters for any team to deal with. This may not be the most experienced or polished team in the conference, but by March they will be fighting to get back to the MAC title game and possibly the NCAA Tournament.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Noah Robotham, Sophomore, Guard, 9.9 points per game
Reggie McAdams, Senior, Guard, 7.0 points per game
Jake Kretzer, Senior, Guard, 5.6 points per game
Kwan Cheatham, Junior, Forward, 7.9 points per game
Pat Forsythe, Senior, Center, 10.0 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 68.1 (157th in nation, 6th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.9 (80, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 41.6 (268, 11)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.5 (69, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 9.4 (9, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.0 (141, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 65.8 (285, 11)
Rebound Margin: 0.7 (160, 6)
Assists Per Game: 12.4 (180, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.1 (129, 7)


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