Akron Zips

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NCAAB Akron Zips

General Team Information:

NCAA Division: Division I
Conference: Mid-American Conference
Past Conferences: MAC, Mid-Cont, OVC, and Ind
City: Akron, Ohio 
Stadium: James A Rhodes Arena
NCAA Tournaments: 1986, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2022

Championships:

  • National Championships: 0
  • Conference Titles: 5

Team History

The Akron Zips men’s basketball team has been around for a long time; their first season dates back to 1901. From 1905 to 1934, the team went through six coaching changes. During that span, Fred Sefton had the longest tenure from 1916 to 1923, where he was able to register a record of 82-24. The team has a long history as a Division II program before moving up to Division I.

Despite this, the program didn’t make its first NCAA Tournament appearance until the 1985-86 season when they were selected as the 15th seed in the Midwest after recording a 22-8 record in the OVC under head coach Bob Huggins. Up until 1989, Huggins led the Zips to a 97-46 record. The following year, Huggins left the program to coach the Cincinnati Bearcats, and now he coaches his Alma Mater West Virginia.

The Zips have been trending upward over the last few seasons as the program has gained some traction. The transition to the Mid-American Conference wasn’t as smooth as expected as the team was underwhelming for the first five years.

Before joining the MAC, the Zips competed in the Ohio Valley Conference and the Mid-Continent Conference. During Coleman Crawford’s tenure as head coach (1990-1995), the team joined the MAC; however, his tenure with the team lasted only three years. Under his leadership, the program had a combined record of 71-91. 

Dan Hipsher didn’t fare much better with a 112-137, well below .500. Keith Dambrot’s leadership led the program to three tournaments with a record of 305-139. 

Three-Year Contract With Nike

The Zips also announced in 2008 that they had signed a three-year contract with Nike to wear the LeBron James line, since he is a native of Akron, Ohio. Some of the released Zips-themed shoes produced by LeBron and Nike are available to the public, and others are strictly reserved for the team.

Currently, the team is coached by John Groce following his dismissal from the University of Illinois. NCAAB Odds were great in 2020; they won the MAC Title. Still, their tournament aspirations were cut short due to the global pandemic.

The program made it back in 2022 as the 13th seed against the UCLA Bruins. The Akron Zips standing displayed the team’s desire to pull one of the biggest upsets in the first round. The Zips led this tightly contested game by shooting 39.6 percent from the field versus UCLA’s 35.2 percent.

Rebounds were deadlocked at 34 on both sides. However, the major advantages for UCLA were its outside presence and dishing the basketball. UCLA shot 36.4 percent from behind the arc compared to Akron’s 23.5 percent. UCLA also had ten more assists in the game. UCLA’s Tyger Campbell scored eight straight points late in the second half to avoid a major upset and won the game 57-53.

Groce and the Akron Zips will certainly have NCAAB Odds in their favor to go to punch their ticket to the dance if they can secure another conference title. 

All-Time Records

Points Scored

  • Joe Jakubick: 2,583
  • Eric McLaughlin: 1,810
  • Loren Jackson: 1,587

Rebounds

    • Romeo Travis 782
    • Jeremiah Wood: 777
    • Isaiah Johnson: 748

Assists

    • Dru Joyce: 503
    • Eric McLaughlin: 476
    • Alex Abreu: 450

Blocks

    • Zeke Marshall: 368
    • Romeo Travis: 165
    • Isaiah Johnson: 141

Akron Zips Basketball FAQs

What Was the Best Season in Program History?

The best season in Akron’s history is arguably this past season. The team lost three more games when compared to the 2020 season, but there were too many unknown factors due to the global pandemic. UCLA advanced to the Sweet 16 despite nearly being upset in the first round.

Who Is the Greatest Player in Program History?

Joe Jakubick is arguably the best player in the program’s history over Romeo Travis. He finished his collegiate career by averaging 23.9 points per game and the most points in the school’s history. Despite being drafted in the seven-round by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 1984 Draft, he didn’t play a single game in the NBA. Joe Jakubick, Romeo Travis, and LeBron James have some connections with Saint Vincent’s-Saint Mary’s H

What Was the Worst Season in Program History?

The Zips went 3-23 in the 1995-96 season, and 0-18 in the conference. Things just never went according to plan under Dan Hipsher’s leadership; he had a combined win percentage of .450 during his tenure.

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