In what had become the worst-kept secret surrounding the Akron basketball program, senior forward Nick Harney is no longer with the team. He’ll be transferring to Fairmount State, a Division II school in West Virginia per Zac Jackson of Fox Sports Ohio.
Harney’s position with the team started to become jeopardized in May when Noah Robotham, a point guard from Las Vegas, committed to the Akron program. That put the Zips one player over the scholarship limit and it was evident that someone would be jettisoning out of the program. That player ended up being Harney.
His career as a Zip resembled a roller coaster ride with many ups and downs. As a freshman Harney burst onto the scene racking up double-digit scoring efforts in four of his first six games. Then in mid-December Keith Dambrot suspended him for conduct detrimental to the team. Upon returning from suspension, he kept the scoring tear into conference play averaging a little over ten points his first four conference games. His coming out party seemed to be a 21-point performance in a win over Kent State, where he played flawlessly and couldn’t miss. That didn’t turn out to be the case, as he hit double-digits in just three more games the rest of the year.
The sophomore campaign looked to be an even better one for Harney as he averaged over ten points per game over Akron’s 19-game winning streak. His best games of the year though just might have been the two in the MAC tournament against Kent State and Ohio. After Alex Abreu was suspended a few days before the tournament started, Harney was the one to take over the point guard position. With only a few practices under his belt Harney came out against the Flashes and scored eleven while racking up four assists to just three turnovers. The next night against Ohio Harney matched his scoring total from the night before and played well enough to send the Zips to the NCAA Tournament.
Many had pegged 2013 to be his breakout season. We had him as the eighteenth best player in the conference in our Top 25 countdown before the season started. He picked up right where he left off in 2012 notching double digit scoring performances in four of the first six games. After a December in which he struggled, he averaged ten and a half points per game in January and early February as the Zips raced out to an 8-2 conference record.
Then, in mid-February Keith Dambrot suspended him again for conduct detrimental to the team. He missed three weeks’ worth of games in February and when he came back he wasn’t the same player. Aside from a fourteen-point performance in a win over Buffalo, the rest of the year was full of average games that ultimately ended by being shutout in the conference tournament semis against Western Michigan.
While the loss of Harney will hurt, the Zips have more than enough players to fill the gap at the small forward position. Jake Kretzer will be the likely starter there, and any of Reggie McAdams, B.J. Gladden and Aaron Jackson will be able step in. Gladden and Jackson are just red-shirt freshmen but they both possess the talent necessary to overcome this loss. Hopefully Harney will be able to finish up his degree at Fairmount and maybe come back to Akron as a graduate assistant. On the floor if Harney can play at the level he's capable of, he can absolutely dominate in Division II.