Welcome to The Sports Bank’s fourth annual college basketball season preview series where we break 111 teams in the 111 days leading up to the opening tip-off of the 2013-2014 season. We will rank the 84 power conference teams (including the new Big East and American Athletic Conferences) and top 27 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
The Akron Zips shared for the MAC Championship last season and despite losing a couple of key contributors, figure to once again be the team to beat.
Last Season: 1st, 14-2 in MAC, 26-7 overall
Predicted MAC Finish: 1st
Projected Depth Chart
C: Pat Forsythe (So)/Isaiah Johnson (Fr)
F: Demetrius Treadwell (Sr)/Kwan Cheatham (Fr)
SF: Nick Harney (Sr)/Quincy Diggs (Sr)/B.J. Gladden (Fr)
SG: Jake Kretzer (So)/Reggie McAdams (So)/Debi Ibitayo (Jr)/Aaron Jackson (Fr)
PG: Carmelo Betancourt (So)/Nyles Evans (Jr)
Gone: C-Zeke Marshall, PG-Alex Abreau (dismissed), SF-Chauncey Gilliam, SG-Brian Walsh
The Akron Zips suffered a big loss during the off-season when starting point guard Alex Abreau was dismissed from the program after pleading guilty to drug felony charges. His absence means either sophomore Carmelo Betancourt or junior college transfer Nyles Evans must emerge as the team’s floor general. Betancourt backed up Abreau last season and saw his fair share of freshman ups and downs while Evans is someone head coach Keith Dambrot expects to contribute immediately.
Taking some of the pressure off the point guard position will be a talented core of wing players. Nick Harney was a regular starter for the Zips a year ago who relies on his length and athleticism that will allow him to play either forward position. Jake Kretzer figures to transition from a sixth man role into the starting lineup and brings offensive firepower to the court with his long range shooting.
Akron also gets 2012 MAC Sixth Man of the Year Quincy Diggs back after he was suspended last season. Reggie McAdams and Debi Ibitayo were role players last year and should once again be valuable weapons coming off the bench, especially McAdams who is another more than capable outside shooter. Expect freshmen B.J. Gladden and Aaron Jackson to be the odd men out in the rotation and one or potentially both of them could end up redshirting.
The frontcourt faces the challenge of replacing seven-foot shot eraser Zeke Marshall. Former West Virginia transfer Pat Forsythe and 6-11, 285 pound freshman Isaiah Johnson will be asked to provide an interior presence in the paint. However, the key player up-front is top returning scorer Demetrius Treadwell who actually led the team in rebounding last season. The Zips could use a smaller lineup at times this season utilizing Treadwell and Harney in the frontcourt which will allow them to boast a more athletic five-some that can space the floor.
Despite losing three starters, the Akron Zips still return seven guys who played at least ten minutes per game last year so the cupboard is far from empty. Finding answers at the point and in the middle will be the biggest indicator for how successful this team can be in 2013-14 since they have a plethora of talented wings and forwards.
Player to Watch: Demetrius Treadwell
“Tree” was Second Team All-MAC and MAC Tournament MVP last season so he has shown the potential to be “the guy” for Akron. He possesses an effective back to the basket game and is a relentless rebounder even though he is a bit undersized at 6-7. By no means will Treadwell have to do all the heavy lifting but the Zips need him to be a more aggressive scorer inside this season.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/12 at St. Mary’s
11/16 at Middle Tennessee
12/7 at Cleveland State
12/18 vs. Detroit
12/22 vs. Oregon State (Diamond Head Classic)
12/24 vs. Iowa State/George Mason (Diamond Head Classic)
12/25 vs. St. Mary’s/South Carolina/Boise State/Hawaii (Diamond Head Classic)
12/28 at South Carolina
1/2 vs. Marshall
OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#64 Florida State
#66 N.C. State
#67 Kansas State
#70 Miami FL
#72 Texas A&M
#73 Long Beach State
#76 Indiana State
#77 Georgia Tech
#84 Washington State
#86 Oregon State
#87 Louisiana Tech
#89 Wake Forest
#90 Central Florida
#95 Seton Hall
#97 George Mason
#99 Penn State
#101 West Virginia
#102 South Florida
#103 Mississippi State
#105 South Carolina
#106 Texas Tech
#108 Virginia Tech
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu to Milwaukee. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet , AND the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft. (Yup, nearly 3peat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks