By: Daniel Massa – Sports Editor
The Dayton men’s and women’s basketball teams both officially started the 2015-16 season last weekend, as teams were allowed to begin practicing Friday, per NCAA rules. The men’s team held its first practice Friday afternoon, while the women kicked off their first practice of the season on Sunday.
Once the games begin, both teams will be seeking to continue the recent postseason success they’ve had.
“We’ve had an unbelievable spring. Our summer was as consistent as we’ve had,” men’s head coach Archie Miller said Thursday. “We’ve had great improvement. Our young players are very mature, our freshman class in particular.”
That four-man first-year class, consisting of point guard John Crosby and forwards Ryan Mikesell, Sam Miller and Xeyrius Williams, should all have a chance to make an impact this season, according to Miller.
“They’re a very impressive group,” Miller said. “I would be shocked if all of them didn’t have their moment with our team this year like a lot of our freshmen have in the past where they help us win games.”
Women’s head coach Jim Jabir and his staff is tasked with following up the program’s first-ever run to the Elite Eight without two of the program’s best players in recent history. Andrea Hoover and Ally Malott both graduated in the spring after leaving their marks in the UD record books, both with their three-point shooting and Malott’s rebounding prowess.
The Flyers, however, do return the other three starters from last year’s squad: Seniors Kelley Austria and Jodie Cornelie-Sigmundova and sophomore Jenna Burdette.
The women also have four first-years on the roster. Australian Maddy Dennis joins three Ohio natives, Lauren Cannatelli, Abby Duffy and Ashleigh Parkinson as the youngest members of the Flyers squad.
The public’s first chance to see each team is Oct. 24 at the annual Red/Blue scrimmage at UD Arena. The event is set to begin at 2 p.m.
Photo: The Dayton men’s basketball team huddles up at the start of the team’s first practice of the 2015-16 season Friday in the Cronin Athletics Center. Photo by Daniel Massa.