Pictured is Forward #13 Issac Jack at the game against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Photo courtesy of Olivia Shirk for Flyer News.
Joel Scheve | Contributing Writer
Dayton Flyers Men’s Basketball finished 22-12 last year, and their season ended after falling short to VCU in the A-10 tournament final. After a pair of preseason scrimmages held at UD Arena, the college basketball season is finally here. The 119th Dayton Men’s basketball season tipped off on Nov. 5 against SIUE, and Head Coach Anthony Grant started his 5th season at the University of Dayton.
After losing multiple players to the transfer portal, and one to the NBA, Dayton still sits atop of the Atlantic-10 Conference preseason ranking, trying to bring Dayton back to the top of the A-10. Returning starter DaRon Holmes II has been named to the Preseason First Team all A-10 and the Preseason All Defensive Team while also being named to the Naismith and Karl Malone Trophy Watch List. Malachi Smith, another returning starter for the Flyers, was named to the Preseason Second Team All A-10. Returners Kobe Elvis and Koby Brea in addition to transfers Enoch Cheeks (Robert Morris), Javon Bennett (Merrimack), Issac Jack (Buffalo), and Nate Santos (Pitt) are all expected to be big contributors this season for the Flyers. The Flyers also bring a handful of freshmen, including Petras Padegimas and Marvel Allen, that are expected to get minutes this season.
Dayton was a spectacular team defensively last year. That should continue with the likes of Holmes II and Smith who both received votes to be a part of the Preseason Defensive team. In the 34 games played last year, Dayton held 17 teams to under 60 points and only one team over 80. The Flyers were also a monster rebounding the ball last year. Daron Holmes II and transfers Issac Jack and Nate Santos should keep the dominance on the boards this season as well.
An area of concern for Dayton would be replacing the scoring they lost. This year, Dayton is going to have to lean on younger players and transfers to step up. Nate Santos could be a candidate as he averaged 17.3 PPG when the Flyers went on tour in Europe this summer. Additionally, Enoch Cheeks averaged 15.4 PPG at Robert Morris last season.
The Flyers season began with a win against SIUE at UD Arena. They fell to Northwestern, 71-66, on the road. The Charleston Classic kicks off against LSU on Nov. 16. Other teams attending the Charleston Classic are North Texas, St. Johns, Houston, Towson, Utah and Wake Forest. Following the Charleston Classic, Dayton will finish the out of conference schedule with Youngstown State, SMU, Grambling State, UNLV, Troy, Cincinnati (Hoops Classic), Oakland and Longwood. The Flyers Atlantic-10 play will begin on January 3rd against Davidson. The A-10 Conference Tournament starts on Mar. 12 and the NCAA Tournament tips off on Mar. 19, with the First Four being held at UD Arena.
Dayton Flyers basketball looks very promising this season. Anthony Grant did a fantastic job of filling out the roster around his returning players with transfers and freshmen. It’s going to be a fun basketball season!