Although it was closed to the public, assistant coach Jeff Boals gave me the scoop about Akron's exhibition against Robert Morris...
The Zips won 86-62. The more impressive stat is Akron's 25 assists on 33 field goals. The Zips shot pretty well.
Cedrick Middleton is going to be good this year. He dropped 16 points and six assists against Robert Morris. He is a huge gym rat, working on his shooting all summer. Boals said, "The most talented is Rome(o Travis), but the player who has impressed me the most is Cedrick. He's gotten a lot better since last year. He could probably play football too. He worked on his shooting and ball handling a lot. He's so quick laterally and so strong. He works so hard, when he makes a mistake, it's hard to yell at the kid."
Mike Bardo played well, tallying 11 points and four rebounds. Although he looked sluggish a couple Saturdays ago, he has come along nicely. "It's a huge jump from high school to college, especially for big guys," Boals said. "I think what happens is the game slows down to them. There were talks about redshirting him, but he's done really well."
Speaking of redshirting, Boals said the staff is still considering a possible redshirt. They still have Sunday's exhibition against Hillsdale to make that decision. My take is that the backcourt is way to crowded.
Chris McKnight does not appear to be heading for a redshirt. His greatest strength is post scoring. Hopefully he can learn from Romeo Travis, who seems to be his clone. "He's very talented, really raw," Boals said. "He had a good high school program, but most times when freshmen come in, their biggest weakness is defense. He's got unbelievably quick feet in the post. He can shoot the ball 15-17 feet. He's got a knack to score the basketball around the hoop."
Jimmy Conyers has shown indications of being a great scorer. In a couple intrasquad scrimmages, he scored in the teens. Conyers tweaked his ankle and did not play against Robert Morris. The injury isn't serious. "He does some really good things," Boals said. "He shows flashes and he's going to be a really good player here."
The staff hasn't set its starting lineup yet. Boals said the Zips basically have eight starters: Dru Joyce, Nick Dials, Nate Linhart, Travis and Jeremiah Wood seem likely to start, in my opinion. The other three would be Middleton, Quade Milum and McKnight. "What you worry about is having too many guys who can score," Boals said. "It's never a bad thing, but coaches have instilled a pretty good we and us thing, instead of me and I." John Rybak, Conyers and Bardo also will see playing time.