2022 Record: 21-10 (13-5)

Head Coach: John Groce (Career Record 296-201) (Akron Record 116-70)

Projected Lineup:

PG: Kaleb Thornton (Northern Illinois 8.8 Pts, 2.8 Reb, 5.3 Ast)

SG: Greg Tribble (6.3 Pts, 2.8 Reb, 2.3 Ast)

SF: Mikal Dawson (2021-22 5.9 Pts, 3.4 Reb, 0.8 Ast)

PF: Ali Ali (Butler 6.5 Pts, 2.7 Reb, 1.6 Ast)

C: Enrique Freeman (16.8 Pts, 11.1 Reb, 1.9 Ast)

6: C Sammy Hunter (8.2 Pts, 2.7 Reb, 0.5 Ast)

7: SF Nate Johnson (4.5 Pts, 2.9 Reb, 0.9 Ast)

8: PG Shammah Scott (Wichita State 2.6 Pts, 1.2 Reb, 0.8 Ast)

9: PF Darrion Baker

10: PG Tavari Johnson (4.6 Pts, 1.8 Reb, 1.7 Ast)

11: SG Ryan Prather (RS)

12: PF Armani Lyles (2.0 Pts, 0.9 Reb, 0.1 Ast)

13: SF Marvin Musiime-Kamali

Akron suffered a few huge losses this offseason most notable Xavier Castaneda who was out of eligibility and averaged over 21PPG. The Zips are lucky to return big man Enrique Freeman though. Freeman was a double double machine last season for the Zips and is certainly in contention to be the MAC player of the year next season. Freeman is not a shooter, but he makes his presence known on the inside. He can block shots and attacks the glass as good as any forward his size in the country.

Akron also brings back big man Sammy Hunter along with forward Nate Johnson and guard Greg Trimble. Sammy Hunter was a very productive player for the Zips last season. The former Ole Miss product really developed his shot this past season going from 5 made threes to 51 made threes. He’s a different player than Freeman and provides a nice 1-2 punch at the center spot. Nate Johnson did very well in his RS-FR season last year shooting 50% from the floor overall and 42% from 3. Greg Tribble is returning to Akron for his 5th season and he really excels at defense and passing. In addition, Akron brings back Mikal Dawson who missed all of last season but in 2021-22 he proved to be a capable outside shooter and will likely showcase the developments he’s made this season.

Ali Ali is back for the Zips this season after spending one year at Butler. The 6-8 forward and boomerang transfer had a solid year with Butler this past season, but he’s back with the Zips ready to build on his 14PPG 2021-22 season. He fills a scoring void that was left by the departing Xavier Castaneda. Ali also has great length and showed the ability to let it fly behind the arc during his previous Akron days. Ali will likely be the 2nd offensive option behind Freeman.

The Zips picked up commitments from PG transfers Kaleb Thornton (Northern Illinois) and Shammah Scott (Wichita State). Thornton is a terrific passer and really gets his teammates involved. Having played the past 3 seasons in the MAC, he’s very familiar with the playstyle of the conference and is finally on a contender that could make the tournament. Shammah Scott is a former JUCO guard and spent this last season at Wichita State. He’ll be a nice spark off the bench for the Zips this season excelling on the defensive end of the ball. PG Tavari Johnson also returns for the Zips this season. The 5-11 guard put up solid numbers in this freshman year averaging 4.6 PPG and 1.7 APG. Ryan Prather is a former 3 star guard that redshirted this past season and has the ability to crack the rotation if he developed during his year off.

The expectations for the Zips this season should be to finish Top 3 in the MAC regular season standings and make a push for the automatic bid in the conference tournament. The Zips have the roster talent and experience to make the tournament and maybe even win a game. Getting Enrique Freeman back was a huge win this offseason for the Zips and will lead them to success.