Buchtelite Sports Editor
The Akron Zips men’s basketball team will open their regular season on Friday night when they host Coastal Carolina at James A. Rhodes Arena.
The Zips traveled to Coastal Carolina last season to open up the season, and with key players missing, fell in overtime to the Chanticleers 74-70.
In the 2012 matchup, Demetrius “Tree” Treadwell and Nick Harney were suspended from the team. The two did nothing wrong, but a clerical error prevented the two from competing in the first three games. It was assumed by many that if the two were eligible to play, the Zips would have dealt with the Chanticleers better.
When the two matched up last season, then-freshman Jake Kretzer and senior Zeke Marshall led the Zips with 15 points. It was Kretzer’s first game as a collegiate basketball player. The Zips had a lot of trouble containing Coastal Carolina’s Anthony Raffa. Raffa put up 27 points that game and almost singlehandedly gave the Chanticleers the victory.
If Raffa did not give his team the win, a combination of himself and Kierre Greenwood did. Greenwood finished with 19 points and came up with some big buckets in tough situations.
The Zips will have to worry about those players again, as they were juniors last season and will be on the floor on Friday night. Akron will have to figure out a way to stop the duo, or a repeat of last year is a possibility.
Again, the return of Treadwell and Harney should boost the Zips. The two starters combined to average 21 points per game last year. Harney’s ability to slash to the rim and Treadwell’s overall presence on the floor gives the Zips an advantage that the Chanticleers will have trouble dealing with.
Kretzer also returns for the Zips. In his first game against Coastal Carolina, he turned heads because it was clear that he was not afraid to shoot. Kretzer attempted 11 shots but only made five in the game. However, he may have felt that he had to because the rest of the team was not doing much better. The Zips only shot 36 percent during their game.
Coastal Carolina knocked down over 45 percent of their attempts.
The starting players for Akron last season were Brian Walsh, Chauncey Gilliam, Carmelo Betancourt, Kretzer and Marshall. Betancourt only played ten minutes; Alex Abreu played 29 minutes. Walsh, Gilliam, Abreu and Marshall are no longer on the team. The starting five this year will likely be Quincy Diggs, Nick Harney, Demetrius Treadwell, Betancourt and Kretzer. Most people agree that the current group has more talent than last year’s.
Akron has realistic goals of cracking the top 25 again this season. Their early schedule is crucial for that to happen. They need to beat the Chanticleers, then they will play Saint Mary’s, Middle Tennessee State and then in the 2013 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.
It will not be an easy test, but the Zips will be ranked if they find a way through it unbeaten.