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Zips' Johnson selected to play in Portsmouth Invitational Tournament

Published: April 11, 2017 4:54 PM
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Akron, Ohio – Akron Zips senior men's basketball player Isaiah Johnson (Cincinnati, Ohio) was selected as one of 64 players to participate in the 65th Annual Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in Portsmouth, Va. on April 12-15.

Dating back to 1953, the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament invites 64 of the nation's best senior college basketball players to participate in the four-day, twelve game event. The tournament draws representatives from every NBA organization, including scouts and general managers. In addition, several international leagues are in attendance to evaluate the talent pool.

In the 1970s, the event began to attract national attention, showcasing players like Rick Barry, Earl "The Pearl" Monroe, Dave Cowens, John Lucas, and Bobby Cremins. The tradition continued with players like John Stockton, Dennis Rodman, Tim Hardaway, and Scottie Pippen, just to name a few of the many professional players to play in the event – Barry, Monroe, Cowens, Stockton, and Pippen are five of the NBA's 50 greatest players.

Johnson is Akron's third player to receive an invitation to the Portsmouth showcase, joining Romeo Travis (2007) and Zeke Marshall (2013). In addition, Johnson is one of three Mid-American Conference players to participate in the event as Kent State's Jimmy Hall and Toledo's Steve Taylor, Jr. will also represent the league.

"I'm proud of Isaiah for being rewarded with this opportunity to further his career," former head coach Keith Dambrot said. "It's a tribute to his character, hard work, and dedication to the game. Dog always put the team first, and succeeded in every role we gave him at Akron. From being the MAC's Sixth Man of the Year to MAC Player of the Year, he developed into a high level player, one of the best big men in college basketball over the last two seasons and definitely one of the best players in Akron basketball history."

Johnson will appear on the eight-man Cherry Bekaert roster along with Ben Moore (F, SMU), Jordan Washington (F, Iona), Marc Loving (F, Ohio State), Steve Vasturia (G, Notre Dame), Charles Cooke, III (G, Dayton), Marcus Marshall (G, Nevada), and Dallas Moore (G, North Florida). The Cherry Bekaert squad is scheduled to open the tournament against Portsmouth Partnership on Wednesday, April 12 at 9 p.m. ET.

 "Congratulations to Isaiah and his remarkable success," Director of Athletics Larry Williams said. "This recognition is well deserved. Isaiah returned for his senior season as a graduate student, and led Akron to the most wins in program history. We are confident he will continue to represent himself and the University well in Portsmouth."

Johnson became the third player in Akron basketball history to earn AP All-America honors to go along with additional several postseason awards.

After leading the Zips' offensive efforts, Johnson earned the MAC Player of the Year award. He was First Team All-MAC selection and named to the All-MAC tournament team. In addition, he earned his second consecutive First-Team National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-District 14 honors.

Johnson was a three-time MAC East Player of the Week recipient, and received the Savannah Invitational Most Valuable Player award while being named to the Don Haskins Sun Bowl all-tournament squad.

In 36 games, Johnson averaged a team-high 16.6 points per game supported by a 62.5 percent shooting percentage, which ranks first in the MAC and ninth in the NCAA. Johnson ranked third in the MAC and 41st in the NCAA with 223 total field goals made, scoring 598 points this season which stands at sixth in the MAC and 81st in the NCAA. In addition, Johnson led Akron with 103 assists, dishing out 2.9 per game while owning a 1.2 assist/turnover ratio.

Johnson recorded seven double-double performances with points and rebounds and scored in double-digits in 32-of-36 games. He had a stretch of 12 consecutive games with 11 or more points. Johnson scored 20-plus points nine times, including a career-high 33 points on the night he surpassed the 1,000 career point threshold in Mt. Pleasant, Mich. Against Central Michigan (Jan. 10).

Johnson was also the Zips second leading rebounder, pulling down 7.1 rebounds per game. He secured a team-high 103 offensive rebounds, ranking fourth in the MAC and 69th in the NCAA with 2.86 per night. Johnson added 154 defensive grabs for a 257 total rebound effort.

Johnson helped the 2016-17 Zips to a record-high 27 wins and ended his career with 95 total wins, which is tied for third best class in program history. During his four-year career, Johnson amassed 1,374 points, 748 rebounds, 203 assists, 143 blocked shots, and 55 steals.

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