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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Akers playing key minutes for Panthers

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

(Photo)
Former Northview standout Austin Akers (above) is guarded by Terre Haute South grad Jake Odum when Indiana State and Eastern Illinois opened the season in November. [Order this photo]
By CAREY FOX

Times Sports Editor

The Eastern Illinois Panthers and Northview graduate Austin Akers have posted a 9-9 overall mark this season and have gone 2-4 in conference play this year.

Akers, who played two years at Olney Central in Illinois, has played in all 18 games for the Panthers while playing at the point guard position.

This season he has averaged nearly 14 minutes per contest and hasn't been asked to score a lot for a team that produces 70 points per game. While running the offense, Akers has averaged two assists in his limited minutes and has scored 23 points and grabbed one rebound per game.

Eastern Illinois opened its regular season with a trip to Indiana State for a homecoming of sorts for Akers and he fared well in 23 minutes of play back on Nov. 11. The junior produced five assists against the Sycamores with just one turnover and had a rebound as the Panthers took ISU to the wire before succumbing 79-72.

Akers had one of his best performances in an 87-56 victory over Eureka on Nov. 23 as he scored seven points to go with six assists and two steals. On Nov. 16, Akers had four points and three assists against Loyola-Chicago.

As a sophomore with the Blue Knights in Olney, Akers capped his junior college career by earning a spot on the first-team NJCAA All-Region 24 squad and was also first-team All-Great Rivers Athletic Conference. He led the Blue Knights to an 18-13 mark that year and was the team's leading scorer at 13.5 ppg. and he was 53rd in the nation with an average of 4.7 assists per game. The 6'2, 195 lbs. guard pulled down 3.9 rebounds per contest and better than a steal per game. Akers was also fourth in voting for the conference player of the year.

Akers chose Eastern Illinois after receiving interest from the University of Evansville, the University of Chicago, Texas Christian University, Cal State-Northridge and several other mid-major schools.

While at Northview High School, Akers scored 892 points and 13.5 ppg. over his career and 3.8 assists and missed just one game in his final three years. He was Honorable Mention All-State as a high school senior.

The Panthers continue their Ohio Valley Conference schedule this evening with a trip to Jacksonville State.