Quincy Diggs, a senior guard/forward from Akron has been suspended for the entire 2012-2013 season for violating The University of Akron's Code of Student Conduct. Diggs, the reining Mid-American Conference Sixth Man of the Year, averaged 8.5 points per game last year as a regular contributor on the MAC regular season champions. This will be a huge loss for the Zips, but in hindsight could provide some opportunities for younger players to expand their roles.
"Q", as he is affectionately called in Zips basketball circles, came to Akron over the summer of 2009, transferring from the University of New Orleans after they dropped down to Division III. A relative unknown, Diggs showcased his potential the first year he donned the blue and gold. The Zip faithful adored his hustle, and held their breath whenever he started dribbling the ball up the floor. He had a penchant for grabbing the loose ball and turning it into points, and his awkward shooting motion worked as he put a perfect side-spin on the basketball that would make most coaches cringe.
I don't want to make this out to be like an obituary. His suspension will conclude at the end of the Spring 2013 semester. It really doesn't matter what he did; the fact is, in Keith Dambrot's eyes, he's no longer on the roster. If you really want to confirm any suspicion about what constituted the suspension, look here. I'm sure if you are a lawyer, it's a fascinating read. Keith Dambrot said in the Akron Beacon-Journal that he "just hopes [Diggs] graduates," which could mean a serious academic problem. I'm not saying Diggs is a bad person, but here's the inevitable "22-year old kids make dumb mistakes sometimes" mantra that is admittedly overplayed.
Back to basketball. Diggs' dismissal would seem to leave a glaring hole at the top of the bench for the Zips. But, with Chauncey Gilliam (6.5 PPG) back in the fold, expect increased production due to the increased minutes he's going to get. A couple others to look out for include Deji Ibitayo and Blake Justice, who both play Diggs' natural position of shooting guard.
There is no question the Diggs loss hurts, especially on the defensive end. He was so active defending the ball and had the quickest hands a Zip has had since Nate Linhart a couple years ago. This team now needs a defensive stopper: someone who can lock down the opponents best player like Diggs used to do. I'm sure Dambrot will find that guy, or will play enough people until he finds that guy. Dambrot makes sure you are on the bench if you play bad defense on one possession, and on a team where the 7-12 spots are up in the air, the fight for playing time will be huge.
Diggs sitting out a year raises another question: does he come back next year? Is he worthy of a redshirt this year? Does Dambrot even want him back? I hate putting questions in an article (something my English professors would rip me for), but I think they're valid. His talent is unquestioned and his upside is immeasurable. But, do you take back a guy who clearly made a bad decision by putting himself ahead of the team? These guys have to know the rules, and this isn't even a 'violation of team rules' like basketball suspensions normally are.
Akron's depth obviously takes a hit here, but with a team with this much talent it should not be hard to replace. Akron and Ohio are the class of the conference, and then everyone else falls in line. Those two should (and most likely will) be there again for the MAC Championship in March. The loss of Diggs certainly doesn't help, but it shouldn't hinder too much Akron's chances at another MAC regular season and tournament championship.