Pictured is UD Men’s Basketball #11 Malachi Smith and #15 DaRon Holmes II. Photos by Olivia Shirk for Flyer News.
Clare Mathews | Sports Editor
After what was a long 2022-23 basketball season for Malachi Smith, he endured an even longer off-season of recovery anticipating a fresh start in his Junior Year. Smith was not the only one anxiously awaiting his return. Malachi’s teammates, coaches, family, and Flyer fans across the nation have been looking forward to this year’s basketball season.
Last year, Smith only appeared in 19 games because of ankle injuries. The Flyers basketball season ended in defeat at the hands of VCU in the Atlantic-10 Championships last year. This meant that for two years in a row, they narrowly missed a chance at dancing, or playing in the NCAA Tournament, dubbed March Madness.
In the off-season, Malachi underwent surgery on both ankles, which resulted in a long recovery, requiring an immeasurable amount of perseverance, dedication, and passion for the sport.
Malachi’s Junior season tipped off on Monday, Nov. 6, when Dayton Men’s Basketball took on SIUE in their season opener at UD Arena. Ironically, the home opener landed on Smith and his teammate and good friend, Koby Brea’s, 21st birthdays. Many family members of the two players traveled from their hometowns of The Bronx and Washington Heights, New York, respectively, to celebrate the season opener.
The game’s opening play reminded Flyer fans of the incredible potential of the duo of Malachi Smith and DaRon Holmes II. Smith sent a picture-perfect lob up for Holmes to do what he does best. Holmes completed the dunk, and the energy in UD Arena skyrocketed. Smith was grinning from ear to ear.
After just seven minutes on the court for Malachi Smith, he banged knees with an SIUE player while driving to the hoop. During a clock stoppage shortly after, Malachi communicated that he needed to be taken out of the game. He did not come back to the court or the bench for the remainder of the game.
Today, it was announced that Malachi suffered a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee, for which he has already undergone surgery. His surgery took place the evening of Nov. 8. Due to the nature of the injury and the predicted recovery, it has been confirmed that Smith will miss the rest of the 2023-24 season.
Because Smith only played in one game this season, he would be eligible for a medical redshirt, allowing him two more years of NCAA College Basketball eligibility.
Malachi Smith has been an essential piece of the Dayton Flyers Basketball puzzle over his past two seasons. Aside from Smith’s success, evident through spectacular statistics in these two seasons, Malachi brings an absolutely unmatched energy to Blackburn Court. Smith has the power to hype up his Flyer teammates and the fans that fill UD Arena like no other.
“We are saddened and heartbroken for Malachi,” Flyer coach Anthony Grant said. “He worked extremely hard to recover from off-season (ankle) surgeries to have the opportunity to compete with his teammates this season. Although he, and we, are disappointed, we remain positive and prayerful that he will recover fully and return healthy next season for himself, his teammates and the Flyer Faithful.”
The Flyers head to Chicago for their next match. They will play Northwestern on Friday, Nov. 10.