Akron Zips point guard Alex Abreu was suspended from the team on Thursday after being arrested and charged with marijuana trafficking, according to the Akron Beacon Journal’s Phil Trexler via Twitter:
Per Trexler, Abreu, a junior, was arrested after police officers attempted to purchase marijuana from Abreu during a controlled buy:
At this time, there is no word on how long Abreu’s suspension will last. Though it seems beside the point at the moment, Abreu’s status will undoubtedly affect the Zips heading into tournament season.
Led by head coach Keith Dambrot, Akron was one of the nation’s most pleasant surprises this season. At 24-5, including a stellar 14-1 in-conference record, the Zips have spent most of their season in or around the Top 25. Expected to make the NCAA Tournament, they can clinch a regular-season crown in the Mid-American Conference with a win on Friday versus Kent State.
However, Abreu’s absence could wind up costing Akron a tournament berth in the long run.
Though stars Zeke Marshall and Demetrius Treadwell get most of the recognition for Akron’s ascent, Abreu has been the lifeblood of the offense all season.
One of the nation’s best distributors, Abreu is averaging 6.0 assists per game to go along with his 10.3 points. He’s responsible for working the inside-out game with Marshall, setting up Treadwell in advantageous offensive positions and knocking down open three-pointers.
As a team that oftentimes struggles behind the arc, Abreu has been one of the Zips' most consistent shooters from distance.
Akron also doesn’t have much experience behind Abreu at the point guard spot. Freshman Carmelo Betancourt has been his backup throughout the season, but he has played only minimally. Without other top-tier shot-creators to get guys open looks, it’s very possible that Akron’s offense could crater without Abreu.
And if that happens, the young point guard’s arrest may cost his team the reward it had worked toward all season.