Ohio's Cooper, Akron's Dambrot Receive Top MAC Honors

Updated 3/13/2013


Cleveland, Ohio -- Today the Mid-American Conference announced that Ohio's D.J. Cooper and Akron's Keith Dambrot have earned top honors for the 2012-13 men's basketball season. Cooper was named Player of Year, while Dambrot was tabbed Coach of the Year. This marks the first time either have earned such distinction. The Player of the Year and Coach of the Year awards were voted on by a 27-member MAC News Media Association panel.
In a Player of the Year race where five different student-athletes garnered votes - Cooper grabbed a total of 16. Akron's Zeke Marshall received seven votes and finished second, while Buffalo's Javon McCrea garnered two votes and finished third. Ball State's Jauwan Scaife and Toledo's Rian Pearson each received one vote. 

Akron's Dambrot received 24 out of 27 votes from the media in a landslide Coach of the Year vote. Ohio's Jim Christian, Toledo's Tod Kowalczyk and Western Michigan's Steve Hawkins received one vote a piece. 

Cooper, a 2013 Cousy and Lou Henson Award Finalist, garnered All-MAC first team honors for the third-consecutive season earlier this week. The Chicago, Ill., native ranks sixth in the nation in assists per game (7.2) this season and also leads the `Cats with 14.2 points (14.8 ppg in MAC contests) and 2.1 steals per contest. He has led the team in assists in 28-of-31 games on the year and has posted at least 10 assists on seven occasions. Cooper is the first Bobcat to win Player of the Year honors since Gary Trent did so from 1993-95. 

“I’m very happy for D.J." said Ohio Head Coach Jim Christian. "He’s had a great season and has been integral in everything we’ve accomplished. He has left an unparalleled mark on the Ohio University men’s basketball program.”
For his career, Cooper has recorded the most assists in the history of the Mid-American Conference and is Ohio's all-time leader in assists (914), steals (323), 3-pointers made (267), games started (136) and games played (140). He also ranks fourth all-time at Ohio in points (2,035).
His 914 assists are the 12th-most in the history of Division I college basketball. He also ranks t-20th on the all-time NCAA Division I steals list. Cooper is the only player in the history of Division I college basketball to post at least 2,000 points, 900 assists, 600 rebounds and 300 steals in a career.

Dambrot has guided the Zips to a 24-6 record and the program’s second-consecutive MAC Regular Season championship (14-2), just the third repeat performance in the league in the last 30 years. Akron’s 13-0 start to conference play broke Miami (Ohio)’s 55-year old record for the best league start in the MAC’s 65 years of basketball (12-0, 1957-58). Dambrot is just the second coach in Akron history to win Coach of Year honors (Dan Hipsher, 1998). 

“Earning Coach of the Year is a tribute to the consistency and success of our program, not only this season, but over the past nine years,” Dambrot said. “There are a lot of people that have made this program a success, from the players and coaches to the support provided from the University.”
On Feb. 25, while riding the nation’s longest winning streak this season (19 games), Dambrot saw the Zips earn their first appearance in the USA TODAY Coaches Top-25 poll as UA checked in at No. 24. In fact, the Zips received votes for five-straight weeks, also a program record, as well as receiving 43 votes in the Feb. 25 AP poll, just 11 shy of cracking the top-25.
FirstEnergy MAC Men’s Basketball Second Round games take place tonight as No.5 Ball State takes on No. 8 Buffalo (6:30 p.m., STO), while No. 7 Eastern Michigan battles No. 11 Miami (9 p.m., STO). For more information visit MAC Tournament Central by clicking HERE.

Player of the Year
D.J. Cooper, Ohio (16)
Zeke Marshall, Akron (7)
Javon McCrea, Buffalo (2)
Jauwaun Scaife, Ball State (1)
Rian Pearson, Toledo (1)
Coach of the Year
Keith Dambrot, Akron (24)
Jim Christian, Ohio (1)
Tod Kowalczyk, Toledo (1)
Steve Hawkins, Western Michigan (1)