21 former Flyers are making their mark overseas in basketball

Pictured is Darrell Davis when he played for UD from 2014-2018. Photo courtesy of David Jablonski for Dayton Daily News.

Martín Oti Figueroa | Contributing Writer

University of Dayton Athletics is looking for ways to celebrate achievements of former basketball team members, some of whom are playing across the globe.

Twenty-one of the 24 former Flyers playing at a professional level, are playing overseas. Flyers are playing all around the world, in countries including Poland, Czech Republic, Sweden, Kosovo, Lithuania, Greece, Brazil, Finland, Turkey, Mexico, Japan, France, Spain, Israel, Montenegro, Switzerland, Cyprus, Italy, and Poland. 

“We have discussed inviting all former players (not just our pros) to do videos on their phones and utilizing them before games and also on our website. As an aside, we have an “alumni board” in the basketball offices that we have former players sign, but we thought of the video as a way to stay connected to the players who cannot make it back,” said Doug Hauschild, director of Media Relations/Sports Information, 

These short videos can help UD in several ways, he said, only celebrating the individual accomplishments of these players, but also emphasizing UD’s ongoing commitment to showcasing the depth of talent within its basketball program. 

UD also places a high value on platforms like The Basketball Tournament (TBT), showcasing such events as opportunities to showcase these talents in front of today’s Flyer audience. 

“One of the reasons we enthusiastically support our TBT team is it gives our active players who are not in the NBA an opportunity to stay connected with our fans, and vice versa,” Hauschild told this reporter, noting the success of these players is a reflection of the university’s commitment to developing well-rounded athletes who excel both on and off the court.  

Aiming to capture UD’s global basketball reach, this reporter tracked down some former Flyers through texts and social media, and asked them about their experiences playing around the world:

  • Devon Scott, 2012-2015, has taken his talents to various countries including New Zealand, Argentina, Iceland, and Italy, and is currently competing in Brazil, where he averages 14.3 points per game. “That’s always the dream [to play in the NBA], but there’s so many opportunities, so much money you can get elsewhere, especially these days. There’s no reason why to sell yourself short and say it’s NBA or bust anymore, I actually give that advice to so many young guys coming out of college,” he said. 
  • With experience in France, Germany, Italy, Iceland, Israel, and now Finland with the Kauhajoki Karhu Basket, Vee Sanford, 2012-2014, reflected on the mental challenges of professional basketball compared to his time in UD. “As far as the competition goes, it’s different. The Atlantic 10 is very competitive, but as far as playing in France or Germany or even Italy, those guys have been professionals for years… the professional leagues are mostly mental, some physical, but definitely mental.” Sanford’s experience highlights the challenges that players playing internationally can face. Sanford has participated in TBT with the Red Scare in 2019 and got eliminated by the eventual champions, Carmen’s Crew in regional finals. 
  • Darrell Davis Jr., 2014-2018, said, “We owe a lot [of their success] to coach Anthony Grant. Our style of play was very similar to a professional stan point.” Davis, these days playing in the Bulgarian NBL (22.2 ppg, 6.2 assists 6.1 rebounds), added that “self-discipline was a major factor in which UD prepared me. Sacrificing social time for proper rest, sacrificing craving for unhealthy junk food to eat healthy food so I’m able to train effectively”. In his six years out of college, Davis has also had professional experience in Hungary, Netherlands, Kosovo, Bosnia, Czech Republic, Lithuania, and Sweden. Davis had a four-year career at UD, creating a tying bond with the community among Flyers. “Yes, I’m always watching the guys play. Staying up late nights because it’s exciting to see how far they’ve grown up”. This shows that former Flyers still care about the program and there’s a sense of camaraderie within the basketball program. 
  • UD’s commitment to building a sense of community goes far beyond just athletics, it also goes into a personal level. Jhery Matos, who redshirted in 2018 and played through 2020, said, “if I had to go to college all over again, I would definitely choose UD all over. I love the people there and I’m very grateful to have chosen UD to graduate school from”. Matos has played in Spain since 2021, currently playing with the Logitravel Mallorca and averaging 16 points, 4 assists, and 2 steals per game. 
  • Playing overseas can also bring some downside too. Xeyrius Williams reflected on his time he spends with his family. “I am pretty much only home during the summers with how the seasons work over here, it’s hard to find time.” He has had experience in Hungary, Greece, Germany and Poland.

Players must tend to matters such as travel, expenses, and family time before going to the other side of the world to play the game they love. This can be a challenging process, but given these considerations, these Flyers have demonstrated great success.

As UD continues to look for new ways to celebrate achievements of its former basketball players, the global reach of these players has demonstrated the university’s enduring impact in professional sports. The TBT and initiatives through short videos captured via smartphones will be a big part of the connection between former Flyers and fans. 

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