After sitting out the 2016-2017 campaign due to personal reasons and then announcing his intention to graduate and transfer from Oregon State at the start of this college basketball off-season, senior guard Malcolm Duvivier was ready to move on from his career with the Beavers. Now, he’ll round out the final season of his college eligibility at Akron, after committing to play for the Zips on Sunday.
The last time Duvivier suited up for the Beavers was during the 2015-2016 campaign, when he appeared in all 32 games, averaging 6.1 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists per contest in over 25 minutes of action per night. He helped Oregon State to achieve a 19-13 record overall and secure the program’s first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 1990, under then-second year head coach Wayne Tinkle. Heading into the 2016-2017 campaign, Duvivier was expected to help guide a youthful team with his calming veteran presence but he instead chose to step away from the team due to undisclosed reasons. It’s safe to say his absence was greatly felt (particularly after star forward Tres Tinkle was lost to injury), as the team never recovered from an ice-cold start to the season and limped to a brutal 5-27 finish.
Duvivier can be described as a strong and bruising guard, who is also a severely underrated athlete and is developing into a solid all-around player. He’s known for having a strong court-presence and often times throughout his career, was tasked with defending the other’s team top-offensive weapon. At Akron, he’ll have the chance to showcase his abilities for first-year head coach John Groce, who takes over the team after a five-year stint at the University of Illinois. The Zips are coming off a 27-9 campaign that ended in an 85-69 loss to UT-Arlington in the 2nd Round of the NIT.
Akron returns just one of it’s top four scorers from a season ago, in rising junior wing Jimond Ivery (10.2 PPG). Five players have already transferred out of the program since former head coach Keith Dambrot bolted to Duquesne, including Tavian Dunn-Martin (Duquesne), Michael Hughes (Duquesne), Antino Jackson (New Mexico), Josh Williams (Robert Morris) and Noah Robotham (Undecided). While Groce has done a fine job in securing notable transfers to the school, specifically Eric Hester (Florida), Loren Jackson (Long Beach State) and Deng Riak (East Carolina), that trio of new talents won’t be eligible until the 2018-2019 season comes around. Despite a monumental task before him, Groce is hopeful to return the Zips to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2012-2013 season.