The University of Dayton men’s basketball team’s lack of depth in the backcourt could haunt the team later in the season.
Dayton head coach Archie Miller said last year’s team was more experienced than the current UD roster.
“Last year’s team, although thin, very experienced in terms of just waking up every day and understanding what practice meant,” Miller said. “Waking up every day and understanding what a scouting report meant. Four freshmen, and all four of them right now are, you know, important. It’s not like we have the time for those guys to just kind of sit and wait their turn.”
Dayton only has three guards currently that are on scholarship in redshirt senior Kevin Dillard, redshirt junior Vee Sanford and freshman Khari Price.
Dillard was voted as Dayton’s MVP last season. The transfer from Southern Illinois University was named Second-Team All-Atlantic 10 and was also named to the 2012 NBAC Division I All-District Second Team.
According to Miller, Dillard isn’t as much of a vocal person on the court as he would like, instead preferring to let his play do the talking on the court. He said he hopes things will be different this year.
“He doesn’t have that luxury as much this year,” he said. “He has to step outside of the box and become a different player in our locker room just by the way he communicates with people.”
Sanford is a transfer student from Georgetown University. At Georgetown, Sanford played 27 games, averaging 6.6 minutes per game while shooting 55 percent from the field. The junior has two years of eligibility left after sitting out the 2011-2012 season due to NCAA rules.
Individually, Dillard and Sanford are two of the best guards on the team. Miller said he thinks they will make a great pair.
“They’re very, very smart in terms of their role, their responsibility,” Miller said. “They obviously are our two most talented offensive backcourt guys. I think they’ll really play well off one another with Kevin’s ability to make guys better, Vee’s ability to stretch the floor.”
“I think Vee also has the ability to make some plays for other guys too. Don’t over think it, but at the same time, I think both of them have a unique role to balance off of one another. I think they can really work with one another.”
Miller said Price will have to continue to work in practice to find his, as the team needs him to play.
“I think there will be different circumstances that will present him with playing more, and there will be certain circumstances that don’t get him an opportunity, but he’s going to have his opportunity all year long,” Miller said. “We don’t have the luxury, he has to be in there. At the end of the day, he has to be more effective when he’s in there which he will grow to be more confident.”
Dayton’s guards could run into trouble with playing extensive minutes, but redshirt senior forward-center Josh Benson doesn’t think it will be.
“I don’t think it’s a heavy burden,” Benson said. “We have a terrific program here. It’s great to see our young guys are able to come in and have the mentality to learn, and I think that’s all you can ever ask for from point guard to the power forward to any position. I think just everybody on our team has that sense of urgency to learn, and I think if we keep that mentality we’ll have a great year.”
Dillard said he is optimistic and ready for this season.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge,” he said. “It’s not a one-man show when you play at Dayton because we have some key aspects next to me. I’ve got some good teammates, people that can really do things with the ball and on the defensive end. They’ll have to prepare for more than just me.”