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Brookhart critiques team

By mrasor Published: October 17, 2006

Football


The Buchtelite's Adam Ferrise sat down with coach J.D. Brookhart and asked him to give a midseason critique for each part of the team.


Unlike many Zips fans, he admires Luke Getsy's play so far.


Soccer


Many Zips soccer players -- men and women -- originate from the other side of the pond.


The Buchtelite's Michael Beaven wrote about how they are coping with the United States' lifestyle.


Men's basketball


I have a major announcement.


I formally name Romeo Travis as the University of Akron's first-ever Big Man on Campus.


I explain why in my column...


Romeo Travis is big, friendly and successful. The power forward's fame exceeds that of any athlete in University of Akron history.

Today, I name "Rome" the University of Akron's first-ever Big Man on Campus.

Consider that UA is a loosely knit commuter campus without a huge amount of fan support for the sports teams.

Everywhere Romeo Travis goes on campus, people know him. Ron Burgundy's leather-bound books are nothing compared to the notoriety Travis receives walking around the Student Union. He's kind of a big deal.

Blame his height, at least partially. At 6-foot-7, he is unmistakable.

You might confuse Zips quarterback Luke Getsy with another 6-2 schmoe carrying books to class. Not Travis.

But it takes more than height to achieve the BMOC label. And Travis has got it.

Almost every college basketball magazine picked Travis as its preseason Mid-American Conference player of the year. Those same publications believe Akron will win its first MAC Championship in men's basketball.

The prominence of this team and its leader extends beyond the MAC, however. According to CBSSportsline.com's magazine, the Zips are No. 20 in the nation.

You might assume this kind of attention would give Travis a big head. You would be dead wrong.

Travis always seems to be friendly. If Facebook.com is any indication, he will befriend anyone. He boasts more than 1,300 Facebook friends at UA, and will join basically any group that invites him (See "Travis Hafner once ripped a Bigfoot in half" and "I wish there was more white defensive backs in the NFL.").

Saturday night, Travis considered my proposal of the BMOC label, and he smiled. His humility quickly kicked in.

"I'm just another man on campus," Travis said. "A lot of (the attention) is from before I got to Akron."

True. The initial reason you knew Travis' name was his connection to LeBron James. The Cavaliers' superstar grew up with Travis and Zips teammate Dru Joyce. They won numerous trophies, cups and championships together at St. Vincent/St. Mary's High School.

Problem is, almost anytime a newspaper story mentions Travis and Joyce, the writer also drops James' name. Travis and Joyce have been synonymous with the guys "who were high school teammates of LeBron James." The Zips seniors are truly proud of James, who has ambitions of becoming the world's richest man. But, like any human beings, they want some spotlight, too. That's what this season is about.

"Finally, we're trying to step outside the LeBron's teammates label," Travis said. "We're trying to establish a tradition (at UA). We want a great legacy."

The program's first trip to the Big Dance in March could create that.

Looking forward, though, Travis and Joyce hope to follow in their former teammate's footsteps. Travis hopes to make an NBA roster by specializing in defense and rebounding. His solid mid-range jump shot shouldn't hurt either. Joyce, being one of the nation's leaders in assist-to-turnover ratio, will try to latch on as a point guard.

A key to being drafted is attention. And winning is the best way to get it, coach Keith Dambrot said.

"They realize that if the team wins, things will be good for them," he said.

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