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Cleveland, Ohio – For the second time in program history, an Akron Zips player earned the Mid-American Conference Player of the Year award as senior center Isaiah Johnson (Cincinnati, Ohio) claimed the league's top honor for 2017, the league office announced on Wednesday.
"It's an honor for Big Dog to win this award with the amount of talent in this league, like Jaaron Simmons, Blake Hamilton, Jimmy Hall, Marcus Keene, and Thomas Wilder just to name a few," head coach Keith Dambrot said. "It's a tribute to how much he means to this team. Isaiah has worked hard to get to this point of his career, and has done whatever it takes to make the team better throughout the years."
The 2017 MAC Player of the Year honor comes two days after Johnson was named first team All-MAC. He became the second player in program history to receive the award since Romeo Travis garnered the award in 2007. For the second-straight season, Johnson was named to the first-team All-MAC, and in 2015-16, Johnson earned the MAC's Sixth Man of the Year award.
Johnson has been the focal point of the Zips' offense all season, leading Akron to back-to-back MAC regular-season championships. He leads the top-seeded Zips in nearly every statistical category. Big Dog started all 31 regular-season games, averaging a team-high 16.2 points per game supported by a 63.0 percent shooting from the floor, which ranks first in the MAC and ninth in the NCAA.
Johnson posted six double-double performances and scored in double digits 28-of-31 games, including 13 of the last 14 games. Johnson scored 20-plus points six times this season, including a career-high 33 points on the road against Central Michigan. On that night, Johnson also became the 42nd member of the Zips' 1,000 Point Club. Johnson has scored 501 points this season, bringing his career total to 1,277.
Johnson also leads the Zips in assists and rebounds. He dishes-out a team-best 2.9 assists per game with 89 total assists. On the glass, Johnson pulls down a team-high 7.4 rebounds per game with 228 total boards, 137 defensive and 91 offensive. In addition, Johnson ranks second in blocked shots with 27, just two shy of the leader Kwan Cheatham, Jr.
Big Dog was named MAC East Player of the Week three times (Nov. 28, Jan. 16, and Feb. 13) and earned collegesportsmadness.com Madness Mid-American Men's Basketball Player of the Week twice (Nov. 28). His first player of the week honor came after two stellar performances at the 2016 Savannah Invitational where Johnson earned the tournament's most valuable player award. In addition, Johnson was named to the 2016 Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational all-tournament team.
The Zips are scheduled to open tournament play at Quicken Loans Arena on Thursday, March 9 at Noon. Akron will play in the quarterfinals against the winner of Monday's opening round game between the No. 8 Eastern Michigan Eagles and No. 9 Northern Illinois Huskies.
The Zips official pregame and postgame MAC Tournament headquarters is located at The Corner Alley at the corner of Euclid Avenue and East 4th Street in downtown Cleveland. UA students can receive their free ticket courtesy of the AK-Rowdies two hours prior to game time until 30 minutes before tipoff.
For MAC Tournament tickets, contact The C.P. and Cornelia S. Chima Athletics Ticket Office at InfoCision Stadium - Summa Field by either calling 1-888-99-AKRON (25766) or visiting from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET on Mondays through Fridays. Ticket office located at 375 E. Exchange Street, near Gate 1 at the southwest corner of the venue, at the corner of E. Exchange and S. Union streets.
Zips Men's Basketball season ticket holders paid $10 toward MAC Tournament tickets in the price of their season ticket package. As a result of Akron clinching the #1 seed in the MAC Tournament, the Zips have received a first-round bye and will NOT play a home game in the first round. Therefore, the $10 credit will be applied towards the purchase of tickets at Quicken Loans Arena for the first Akron game that you attend.
Your credit card will be kept on file and will only be charged forgames in which Akron plays as part of the 2017 MAC Tournament.
Advanced ticket orders will be fulfilled first based on the Z-Fund Seating Allocation Process, which is determined by giving level and priority points. Single game orders and gameday orders will be fulfilled after all advanced ticket orders.