University of Akron senior forward Demetrius Treadwell did not participate in practice Wednesday and was nowhere to be seen at Rhodes Arena. He practiced Monday and Tuesday. What happened between then and Wednesday morning remains the big question.
“We’re going to support him in whatever direction he goes. That’s what we’ve done for every other player in the program,” coach Keith Dambrot said.
When asked if Treadwell — who like the entire Zips team has gotten off to a rocky start this season, averaging 12 points on just 37 percent shooting and 7.7 rebounds per game — had quit, Dambrot said: “I don’t know.”
When asked if he has suspended the 6-foot-7 senior forward, he said: “No comment.”
Treadwell could not be reached for comment.
It is not a legal issue, said a person who has knowledge of the situation but requested anonymity due to the personal nature of the matter.
Can problems be traced back to the loss against Middle Tennessee State? Dambrot pulled Treadwell with 4:46 left in the game and the outcome still very much in doubt. He did not return.
Ultimately, this could be a significant loss. Treadwell, who started 28 of 30 games last season, was the MAC Tournament MVP, averaging 13.5 points, 11 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals while shooting 50 percent.
The Zips are on a three-week break, except for an exhibition game against Malone on Nov. 27, and they have a lot of kinks that need to be worked out before taking on Cleveland State on Dec. 7. Dambrot stated that he would work the team hard during that span.
It’s not a stretch to assume that an intense Dambrot and an equally intense Treadwell might not always see eye to eye. It wouldn’t be the first time there has been a divide between a coach and player.
Also with center Zeke Marshall no longer around to be the face of the program, that title and responsibility has fallen to Treadwell. With it comes adulation and expectations, and the Zips 1-2 start hasn’t made things any easier.
“He was at practice yesterday. I said I would support him in whatever decision he makes,” Dambrot said. “Young people go through things. I don’t know what he’s going through, but we’ll see what happens. He’s been a good player for us, a good person for us. We’re going to support him through this.”
What is clear for the Zips is that they must go on. When the university suspended Quincy Diggs before last season, Dambrot retooled. When they lost point guard Alex Abreu because of an arrest on drug charges, they kept pushing and eventually won the Mid-American Conference Tournament. There’s no doubt Treadwell makes the team better. However, whether Dambrot wants to or not, he will make the necessary adjustments to ensure his team defends their MAC title.
Wing man Jake Kretzer was sitting on the sidelines during practice Wednesday with a badly sprained left ankle.
Trainers had Kretzer’s ankle taped, and he was using crutches to get around Rhodes Arena. There’s no good time for an injury, but considering the Zips won’t play again until Dec. 7, only practice time will be affected.
George M. Thomas can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Zips blog at http://www.ohio.com/zips. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/GeorgeThomasABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.