Watch Out MAC, Daniel Utomi Is Taking The Akron Zips To The Top
The Akron Zips basketball team wasn’t supposed to be a contender for a MAC title. As the season unfolds, it appears they are a serious threat. You can credit a lot of this success to Daniel Utomi, a candidate for a berth on the All-MAC team.
Only a Sophomore, Utomi has been vital to the Zips surprising start. Yes, Akron is only 3-1. They don’t have a signature win on their resume. Nevertheless, with the way Utomi is playing, Akron is ready for big things. His 23.8 points per game average are good for first in the MAC.
Considering Utomi only accounted for 4.8 points last season, it’s safe to say this has been the story of the MAC thus far. In just four games the Sophomore has yet to score in single digits. With games of 20, 32, 19, 24 points, Utomi has become a force to reckon with. Teams haven’t been able to shit him down.
The most telling stat about Utomi is his shooting numbers. He leads the Akron Zips in three-pointers with 18. In addition, Utomi is also an efficient scorer, shooting .544 on the young season. In addition, he has the most shot attempts on the Zips roster.
A pace like this isn’t going to last, because, as much as he shoots, these percentages will guarantee to fall. That doesn’t mean. Utomi won’t continue this torrid run through the competition. MAC schools will be better prepared for him, and defenses will adjust. Although, it could be possible Utomi can keep these numbers going. If he’s truly a special player, then we’ll know soon after Conference play begins.
Utomi has been vital to the Zips, not only on the offensive end but defensive as well. Coach Groce has placed Utomi in the post and he’s delivered. He’s the Zips leading rebounder with 7.8 per game. Arguably Akron’s biggest weakness, Utomi has done an admirable job rebounding the basketball.
There is definitely some skepticism of Utomi. While he only played 9 minutes a game last season, his scoring and rebounding averages over the course of 35 minutes are still quite surprising. It’s rare a player has this kind of breakout year. Utomi wasn’t on the radar of anyone. Akron writers, students, fans, alumni, didn’t expect this. Still, we must take him seriously, because he’s put the MAC on notice.
Already a MAC East Player of the Week, Utomi leads the Akron Zips in scoring, field goal percentage, and rebounds. His versatility, scoring ability, and defensive awareness make him the best player in the conference. However, there’s simply no denying his dominance this year. Who knows if Daniel Utomi will keep this up all season, but it’s a great story so far.Follow @DGentleman9288