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More MAC Basketball Awards! Akron Finally Cleans Up

Zeke Marshall, tall person.
Zeke Marshall, tall person.

Akron didn't win Coach of the Year, to some's dismay, but here's where they finally got their hardware: in the specialty awards.

Defensive Player of the Year: Zeke Marshall, Akron — You could've argued Buffalo's Mitchell Watt, OHIO's DJ Cooper or BGSU's Scott Thomas for this award, but Marshall takes it by virtue of being a tall man who blocks shots. Many shots. 2.9 blocks per game is 12th nationally and tops in the MAC. He had more blocks than either NIU, Toledo, Miami or Ball State ... and one fewer than OHIO. And now Akron has won three of the last four DPOY awards.

Sixth Man of the Year: Quincy Diggs, Akron — Good for him, but is he even the best bench player on his own team? He may have the best hair but Nick Harney has provided bigger shots and was even more productive than Diggs in fewer points per game. Similar words can be said about Demetrius Treadwell. Akron has the most candidates for Sixth Man of the Year, so it's interesting that all of them zeroed in on Diggs as the person. Several other teams had great candidates here. Must've been a close vote. The last Akronite to win Sixth Man was Brett McKnight in 2009.

Freshman of the Year: Juice Brown, Toledo — And no way was this one close, nor should it have been. In every sense he's a freshman point guard: mistakes are made but he's starting to minimize them and has helped his team to a breakout year. Plus, that step-back jumper. It's magnificent. I think CMU's Austin McBroom and Miami's Brian Sullivan had cases as well, but this more geared toward their point totals augmented by streaky shooting rather two-dimensional games, which Brown already possesses. UT's last Freshman of the Year was Sammy Villegas in 2003. Hopefully Brown doesn't fall into a point-shaving scheme.