UA notebook: Zips get point guard help from former Hoover star Nyles Evans

By George M. Thomas
Beacon Journal sports writer

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Help is coming in the form of depth at the point guard position for the University of Akron basketball team.

The Zips announced Wednesday that Nyles Evans, a graduate of North Canton Hoover, will join the team from Brevard Community College in Melbourne, Fla., where he averaged 15.7 points, 3.3 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 2.5 steals in 33 games this past season.

Evans is expected to bolster a position that took a huge hit during the season with the arrest of starting point guard Alex Abreu on felony drug charges. Although coach Keith Dambrot had hopes that Abreu would return to the team eventually, a source with knowledge of the situation said that is not likely.

The 6-foot Evans will join freshman Carmelo Betancourt and Blake Justice at the position. His stats are more reminiscent of Abreu than Betancourt’s, and he holds the potential of being able to provide the scoring pop from the point guard position the Zips lost with Abreu’s absence. Abreu’s loss forced an inexperienced Betancourt into the starting role at the most critical time of the year — during the Mid-American Conference Tournament with a spot in the NCAA Tournament on the line. He performed admirably given the situation.

Abreu’s loss also forced Dambrot to get creative, employing junior forward Nick Harney in the role. Harney said he will continue working on playing the point throughout the offseason.

Evans’ resume from Hoover was impressive.

In his senior year, he led Stark County in scoring, averaging 21.9 points per game and was selected Stark County Player of the Year by the Canton Repository. He also earned third team All-Ohio honors. He left Hoover as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,183 points.

More good news

There is more possible good news for the Zips. Quincy Diggs, the 2011-12 MAC Sixth Man of the Year, might be on his way back to UA for his senior season, according to a source.

The university suspended Diggs until the end of this semester for an undisclosed violation of the university’s Code of Student Conduct in October.

Dambrot has always maintained that Diggs had a chance of returning to the team. There’s little doubt that the Zips missed his skill set on the court.

Diggs not only can play point guard, but he also can drive to the hoop and finish, something that was lacking in the Zips’ offense in his absence. During his junior season, Diggs averaged 8.5 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.2 steals.

Despite the team’s success this past season, not having Diggs was a huge loss.

However rosy things might look, it’s not a done deal. While away from UA, Diggs was required to make progress toward his degree.

George M. Thomas can be reached at gmthomas@thebeaconjournal.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.


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