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Arena: James A. Rhodes Arena
School Name: University of Akron 302 Buchtel CommonAkron,OH 44325
There might be some teams in the MAC with more athletes than Akron, but there might not be team in the league with more depth than the Zips.
After losing just two seniors who averaged more than 10 minutes per game from a team that went 19-10 last year and 11 -7 in the Mid-American Conference, there is guarded optimism around the Akron campus. The Zips return all three of their top scorers, most notably junior 6'7" forward Romeo Travis. A high school teammate of LeBron James, Travis averaged 11.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, and he shot nearly 53 percent from the field.
"We need Romeo to take another step forward in his progression," second-year Akron coach Keith Dambrot says. "I think he has taken a big jump in his shooting. He's a very smart kid that needs to just keep working at getting better."
While Travis' progression will be a big key, so will die health of junior forward Jeremiah Wood. The 6'6" post player missed the final 19 games with an ACL injury.
"The biggest diing widi Jeremiah is obviously his health. And then, he has to rebound for us," Dambrot says.
Speaking of rebounding, Travis and Wood were the only two Zips to average over five rebounds per game last year. Hitting the boards will be a huge priority in 2005-06.
Nick Dials, a transfer from Ohio State, was expected to provide some outside shooting, but he will lost for most of, if not all, of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL in early June.
Forward Darryl Peterson led the team in scoring last year and will be counted on to take on a scorer's role again.
"Darryl disappeared a little bit for us down the stretch," Dambrot says. "He can shoot the ball very well and has a nice mid-range jumper."
Three new recruits will be added to the Zips' roster—Jimmy Cony-ers, John Rybak and Nate Linhart — and all three are expected to play.
"I probably go deeper into my bench than most coaches do in this conference," Dambrot says. "We know our margin of error is very small. I don't diink we have anywhere near the best five players in die league, (but) we have a solid 13 and we try to beat you with numbers."
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