MACwood Squares is our summer reading series on the best athletes in Mid-American Conference sports history. This week features Akron. Looking for your MAC school? Consult our schedule for other teams and please submit your nominees as well.
Herein lies the challenge for looking up Akron players: They were a school who clawed their way up from Division II to the Ohio Valley Conference and finally the MAC. We're not going to discount their non-MAC players (because some of their best were from that era), but admittedly if you compared this time period's players to those from the D-II time, it's hard to compare. Still, we'll do our best, and your input is really going to help out here.
Further complicating matters: even though Akron has only been in the MAC for about 20 years, they're the only one who've never had a player named to a major Division I All-American list. The Zips: not really a basketball school, even though they made the NCAA tournament this year.
Bill Turner (1962-67) — By virtue of being the only Zips player to see substantial time in the NBA, he's on the list. He was a College Division All-American in '67, then proceeded to be drafted by the San Francisco Warriors, being teammates with BGSU product Nate Thurmond for a few seasons. In six total seasons he averaged 5.4 points in the pros.
Len Paul (1969-73) — No, not the guitar guy. Although I had hoped that for a moment myself. When UA was a Division II school, Paul was a D2 All-American and guided his team to the NCAA championship game in his junior season. He also led his team in scoring all four years, a feat unmatched in Zips history. Paul finished his career with 2,028 points (2nd) and 1,021 rebounds (5th).
Joe Jakubick (1980-84) — For almost 20 years he held the Ohio Valley Conference record for career points, and in 1983-84 he was the nation's leading scorer (30.1 points). Three times he was an All-American honorable mention. The Cleveland Cavaliers drafted him in the seventh round of the 1984 NBA Draft but he would never make the team. He's currently the girls basketball coach at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary's High School.
Romeo Travis (2004-07) — Along with Dru Joyce, Travis is best known for balling with LeBron James at SVSM. Travis currently charts seventh on the all-time scoring list (1,491), ninth in rebounding (783), 10th in steals (124) and first in blocks (165), although Zeke Marshall will likely break this record next year. He was an honorable mention All-American by the AP in '07 along with the MAC Player of the Year and currently plays for the Israeli club Netanya.
Dru Joyce III (2004-07) — And we'll just throw him in there as well, since he is the school's all-time assist leader (503). He was an honorable mention and a second-team All-MAC in '06 and '07. Currently he's playing for the German Bundesliga team TBB Trier and leads the team in scoring and assists.
And there are others. Derrick Tarver, Marcel Boyce, Jami Bosley, Jim Fenton, and Jimmal Ball. If we missed your faves, please pipe up.
Who are your nominees for Akron's MACwood Squares? Comment below, tweet us at @HustleBelt or submit a FanPost making your case. The final nine will be revealed Friday.
Best Akron basketball player of all time?
Bill Turner (9 votes)
Len Paul (9 votes)
Joe Jakubick (19 votes)
Romeo Travis (15 votes)
Dru Joyce III (3 votes)
Someone else (mention in comments) (24 votes)
79 total votes