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University of Akron Zips blog

Zips offer big defensive end

By mrasor Published: June 28, 2007

A new offer...
James Harvey, defensive end, Cochranton, Pa. Offers: Akron, Ohio, Buffalo and New Hampshire Height: 6-foot-4 Weight: 262 Speed: 4.95 Notes: Harvey appears to be the perfect size to play end in the 3-3-5 defense. He also plays offensive line in high school, which is where projects him in college. Likelihood: West Virginia and Pitt told Harvey they could offer if they like what they see in the first two weeks of next season. Harvey said he wants to attend an up-and-coming program that has his intended major -- sports medicine. To the best of my knowledge, Akron only has Sport and Exercise Science.
Men's basketball
The NBA Draft is tonight. And for the umpteenth straight June, no Zips player will get a sniff.
The MAC has been a good basketball conference, yet it's lucky to have one prospect hear his name called.
Why? To my calculation there are three main inhibitors for mid-major talent.

    Defend your position at the next level. Often, a MAC small forward will be matched up against a player 6-5 or shorter. That doesn't happen in the association. This is what prohibits many of the MAC's prolific swingmen scorers from being drafted. Twenty points per game is meaningless if you give up 25. That's why I always will think Michael Redd is overrated.
    Create your own shot. Quickness and creativity with the ball are essential for any player who wants to be more than a Bruce Bowen on offense. This is exactly what will keep Dru Joyce from the NBA. There are ways to work around this, like the Cavs' Ira Newble, who found his niche as a strong perimeter defender.
    Don't let anyone question your work ethic. It's easier for a GM to swallow a busted pick from the ACC than the MAC. Portland's GM undoubtedly took some heat for Gary Trent -- the Shaq of the MAC -- being nothing more than a role player after he was drafted 11th overall in 1995.

You might be wondering if any Zips player has a shot next season. I think you seriously need to consider Jeremiah Wood and Cedrick Middleton. Middleton fulfills each of the aforementioned qualifications -- he's a solid defender, can create his shot and is the hardest worker in the MAC. Wood barely fulfills any of them, but I think his strength makes up for his size. He could be a similar player to Ohio U's Brandon Hunter, who played a couple years after Boston drafted him in 2003's second round.
Middleton needs to show he can run the point next season. Wood has to absolutely annihilate any MAC post player in his path to get NBA scouts' attention.
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