Basketball ready for new season

By Tyler Novak

The 2013-2014 Zips men’s basketball season is set to begin on Friday, and one of the most important positions on the team is yet to be filled. After the untimely loss of point guard Alex Abreu last season, Akron rallied against Ohio to win the MAC Championship, but ultimately fell short against a very diverse Virginia Commonwealth University team in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The loss came in large part due to the inexperience at the point guard position.

This season the Zips have four candidates for the point guard position. Those players are Carmelo Betancourt, Nyles Evans, Quincy Diggs and Nick Harney.

After ending the season as the starting point guard, returning sophomore Carmelo Betancourt will look to impress. Betancourt looks to become better compared to last season, where he played mostly off the bench. He may become more of a routine starter.

Newcomer Nyles Evans will be another important piece at the point guard position for the Zips this season. Evans is the first junior college transfer under head coach Keith Dambrot. Coming from Brevard Community College, Evans started 32 games last season, averaging 15.7 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 2.5 steals per game, according to Akron Athletics.

Evans could break out this season alongside Betancourt and push the team toward another MAC title and NCAA tournament berth.

After missing the entire season last year because of a university suspension, Quincy Diggs will be making a comeback with the Zips this season. In the 2011-2012 season, Diggs was named the MAC’s Sixth Man of the Year, appearing in all 34 games, and becoming one of the prime leaders coming off the bench for the Zips averaging 14.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.0 assists per game.

While Diggs did not play last year, with his countless hours of training, practice and his passion for the sport, look for Diggs to reemerge this season as one of the top performers for the Zips.

Finishing last season as one of the most diverse players on the team, forward Nick Harney will be another major influence. With his high-energy style of play, Harney brings tons of emotion to this team. Harney led the Zips in scoring on five occasions last season, averaging 9.5 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.

Last season, Harney took control of the point guard position on several occasions. Harney helped push the Zips when the offense needed a energy boost. With his huge wingspan, long-range shooting ability, power dribbling and intense dunks, look for Harney to have another great season.

Harney and Diggs, who are primarily forwards, are two emerging leaders of this Akron team and they both can lead at the point position and dominate the forward position.

You can see Evans, Betancourt, Harney, Diggs and the rest of the Zips this Friday, when Akron takes on Bluffton in an exhibition match starting at 7 p.m.