Sometimes I don't look at the restaurant bill on a date. Just put it on my card and I won't get too worked up. I don't know how much the Season Premier cost, with free food, loads of promotion and even a searchlight outside Rhodes Arena. If I were in the athletic department, I probably wouldn't want to know either.
But I think it was worth it. Attendance was higher than I expected. It was more entertaining than I expected.
Here are a few observations that I scribbled in my notebook...
Coach Kelly Kennedy told the crowd to expect some exciting freshmen. About time! I can swallow a 25-loss season if the team is full of improving freshmen who will be stars in three years. Last season, it was a bunch of seniors losing that many games. Yuck. Hopefully Kennedy's freshmen can earn playing time.
The good news: During the scrimmage, the team took better care of the basketball. A qualifier: The scrimmage was unofficiated, so several traveling calls were not whistled. The turnovers crippled last season. One game they had 35. That's not a typo - thirty-five turnovers. Here's some optimism: When you come close to having more screw-ups than points, you have nowhere to go but up.
Courtney Stewart impressed me. The senior guard is quick. She plays smart basketball. And she has the smoothest, sweetest jumpshot on the team.
I will hold back further criticism or praise until they start the season.
Nick Dials won the 3-point contest over sharpshooters from the men's and women's teams. The sophomore guard transferred to Akron after an impressive freshman season at Ohio State. He had to sit out '03-'04 because he transferred. He sat out last season because of a knee injury. Then he hurt his knee again this summer. His shooting is unaffected. The guy rarely misses a shot. But one defensive play showed me he's a step slow. Dru Joyce blew by him from the top of the key. To Dials' credit, he recovered to stop a sure layup.
Other knee info: It's hard to tell Jeremiah Wood hurt his knee last season. The junior forward jumped out of the gym on several dunks. He also swatted Matt Futch on a layup attempt. I'm no doctor, but it seems like Dials is 70 percent and Wood is 95.
Speaking of athletic freaks, Quade Milum is ridiculous. The sophomore forward could probably dunk on a 12 foot hoop.
Bubba Walther hit a scrimmage-winning 3-pointer from NBA range with four seconds remaining. Then the sophomore guard stole the ball to ice the game. He looks very comfortable on the court. And his ball handling is very smooth.
Futch and Joyce teamed up to win the dunk contest. Joyce got a running start then Futch propelled him into the air. Joyce finished with a powerful windmill dunk. Everyone was entertained. I hope coach Keith Dambrot wasn't. This team is fragile enough without having centers throwing guards through the air.
I won't yet analyze the team or give a prediction. But I'll say this: The Zips are an extraordinarily deep team.
My analysis of the Miami/Akron football game. I hate Miami and that jerk Ben Roethlisberger. Venomous writing should be expected. At blog publish time, the Zips were making a second-half comeback.