Rivals.com is reporting that Darrell Blanton, a Chicago junior college player originally from Euclid, has signed a letter of intent to play at Akron.
A team source tells me that Blanton, a 6-foot-3 forward, will likely be a walk-on in 2010 if his grades are sufficient. This January, Blanton was named Player of the Week for his region after two games with cumulative stats of 52 points (64.7 percent from field), 17 rebounds, four steals, and two blocks.
Blanton played his freshman year at a Fort Scott Junior College in Kansas, where he scored 17.1 points per game and earned all-conference honorable mention honors. As a senior at Euclid, Blanton was Special Mention All-Ohio in Division I.
Community leaders including Akron mayor Don Plusquellic are planning an event at InfoCision Stadium to show LeBron James how much the community wants him to stay.
LeBron Appreciation Day will be Saturday, June 19. The organizers are hoping James, himself, will show up. The event even has a Web site (but turn down your computer volume before visiting it). Sponsors include the city, the university, InfoCision, Acme, FirstMerit Bank and the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce.
This is good exposure for Akron football program, as this event will attract a lot of outsiders to the stadium.
Deryn Bowser (Arizona) and Andre Jones (Kansas City) have signed one-year contracts with NFL teams. They must still make the team in fall camp to be included on the roster.
It's unbearably obvious that I cannot keep Akron and Kent fans from bickering.
Rather than hushing the "trolls," I'll give you a chance to battle it out. Which athletic department enjoyed the most success in the 2009-10 school year? Which had the most embarrassment and failure?
Two main rules: No cussing. No libel. Enjoy.
Akron's men celebrated their second-consecutive MAC championship in track for about 15 minutes. And only 15 minutes.
At that point, MAC officials stepped in and disqualified the Zips relay team for stepping on a lane line. One official saw it. There was no video replay.
The result shifted points to Eastern Michigan, which gave the Eagles the conference championship. Read Tom Gaffney's report for more info on this.
Humpty Hitchens is the fourth player to voluntarily leave the team, the Plain Dealer reports.
In his spot, Keith Dambrot brought in transfer Chauncey Gilliam, a guard from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.
Hitchens had been rumored to be considering leaving Akron even before his father died earlier this spring. Hitchens and Dambrot clashed all season. Citing a "violation of team rules," the coaches suspended Hitchens for one game.
These moves have ramifications on the Zips roster. It's likely that Alex Abreu will not redshirt. It also opens up minutes for Brett McClanahan. Abreu and Steve McNees will share the point guard duties. McClanahan and Darryl Roberts are the shooting guards.
Gilliam was a 6-foot-5 sophomore last season. He averaged 13.3 points per game for UMBC, an American East team that finished the year with a 4-26 record. As a transfer, Gilliam must sit out next season before joining the team. Below is a highlight video from high school and an interview with Gilliam.
Akron received a verbal commitment from St. Vincent/St. Mary's linebacker Billy Harmon.
ScoutingOhio.com says Akron was his only FBS scholarship offer. As a 2010 high school graduate, Harmon will be eligible to join the team in the fall. Presumably, he will take the scholarship that was set aside for Erick Howard, who will attend prep school.
You can watch his highlight video, which includes some footage from St. V's game against Hoban at InfoCision Stadium. He is 6-feet tall and 234 pounds.
The University of Akron will be the only college represented when the United States under-20 men's national soccer team competes in Holland later this month.
Junior Kofi Sarkodie, sophomores Chad Barson and Zarek Valentin and incoming freshman Perry Kitchen will comprise four of the USA's seven defenders as well as one-fifth of the complete 20-man squad.
The U-20 team, which will compete in the Cor Groenewegan Tournament in Uitgeest, Netherlands from May 14-25, includes players from four U.S. professional clubs as well as clubs in nine different foreign leagues.
The schdedule has not been finalized, but the U.S. team is slated to play four international matches and friendly matches against Senegal on May 18 and South Korea on May 20.
I never thought I'd see Usher on the University of Akron's campus.
But that's the sort of sideshow you get when the best basketball player in the world grew up here and wants to do anything to boost the city's profile.
As George Thomas pointed out, LeBron James ducked a question about leaving in free agency. In doing so, however, he talked up his hometown:
According to the Plain Dealer's Brian Windhorst (on Twitter), the on-campus MVP celebration will be open to the public.
It will begin at 4 p.m., with doors opening at 3 p.m. Rhodes Arena will host this event because of LeBron James' connection with Akron coach Keith Dambrot. You can watch it on Fox Sports Ohio.
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