I was on campus two weeks ago. I took a deep whiff, and I sensed it was coming.
Sure, it's quiet and only a few people are walking around, but you can almost feel the energy coming.
And now it has. Akron opened camp today at the Rubber Bowl -- a reminder, J.D. Brookhart said, of where the program has come from.
I love hearing Brookhart talk about training camp. He will not b.s. you. If things are going badly, his stern comments will reflect that. If there are bright points, Brookhart will carefully reveal them in guarded optimism.
Today, Brookhart gave a good report. The high level of experience made for a less flawed first day of camp than most years. Of course, young players made mistakes and the depth chart has some uncertainties, but it seems the Zips are off to a good start.
By the way, I plan to attend camp whenever I can starting next week. I'll provide better updates then.
Coach Keith Dambrot pulled off a recruiting coup (man, I hate that cliche) in getting a commitment from Pennsylvania center Steve Swiech.
But now what?
By my estimation, Akron will have two roster spots in 2007-2008 with the graduation of Dru Joyce and Romeo Travis.
Here are some players who have told Rivals.com they have interest in playing for the Zips...
- Josh Miller, a 5-foot-7 point guard from Cincinnati. He has scholarship offers from Akron, Marshall and Toledo, and also is interested in Xavier. Miller is on an AAU team with Bill Walker and O.J. Mayo. At the AAU Nationals, Rivals.com pointed out his passing ability. The site has not yet ranked him yet, however. During last month's ABCD Reebok camp, Miller stole the show with his speed and fearlessness, ScarletNation.com says. He finished the game with 13 points, three assists and three steals. All in all, Miller sounds like a player who can really lead a team with his passing and defense. He sounds like an ideal target for a Dambrot-led team.
- Ronnie Steward, a 5-10 point guard from Columbus. He has scholarship offers from Akron, Marshall and Western Carolina, with interest in Penn State, Minnesota, Stanford and Holy Cross. Steward recently played with Ohio State stud recruit Kosta Koufos at the AAU Nationals. He was also a late addition to the prestigious Nike camp in Indianapolis. Steward told the Columbus Dispatch that he isn't necessarily a scorer, but more of a true point guard who can drive and pass. Rivals has not ranked Steward. Scout.com gives him one star.
- Joe Jakobowski, a 6-2 combo guard from Toledo. He has scholarship offers from Akron, Bowling Green, Colgate, Morehead State, Robert Morris, Wintrop and Wright State. Jakobowski also has interest in Evansville and Richmond. I can't find much more on him.
- Jesse Bosnik, a 6-1 shooting guard from Pennsylvania. Read my previous profile on him here. A Rivals.com story says he excels with court vision and shooting. His high school team went undefeated to win the Class A state championship last season.
- Brandon Dunson, a 6-3 shooting guard from Illinois. He has no scholarship offers, but does have interest in Akron, Kansas, Harvard, Gonzaga, Illinois, Kent State and many others. He is working on extending his shooting range and improving his ball handling, but it seems like Dunson is a well-rounded player on both sides of the court. He is also a high flyer. At this point, Dunson has so many schools of interest, it's not worth getting your hopes up that he'll wear blue and gold someday.
- Troy Tabler, a 6-2 shooting guard from Cincinnati. He has offers from Miami (Ohio) and Ball State, along with interest in Akron, Kent State and Penn State. Scout.com gives Tabler two stars. Rivals has not ranked him. Tabler fouled out of his AAU Nationals game on Sunday.
- Kevin Johnson, a 6-5 power forward from Chicago. Read my previous profile on him here. He is deciding between Akron, Ball State and Ohio. There don't seem to be any updates on that process.
- Hakim McCullar, a 6-7 power forward from Cincinnati. Read my previous profile on him here. Since I wrote that, McCullar picked up offers from Akron, Ball State, Kent State, Miami (Ohio) and Oakland, with an interest in Marshall.
- Brian Williams, a 6-9 center from Cincinnati. Read my previous profile on him here. He does not have any offers yet, but has interest in Cincinnati, St. John's, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Akron. The Bearcats and Red Storm are his favorites at this point, but he has plans to visit Akron's campus. He has plans to delay his decision, possibly until after his senior season.