By: Daniel Massa – Staff Writer
The 2014-15 University of Dayton men’s basketball team must replace 3,394 minutes and 1,245 points as part of the annual player turnover in college basketball.
On a per game basis, that’s 97.4 minutes per game and 35.7 points per game lost from last year’s team with forward Devin Oliver, center Matt Kavanaugh and combo guard Vee Sanford graduating, and junior forward Alex Gavrilovic and sophomore point guard Khari Price transferring to Towson and Southern Mississippi, respectively.
In the frontcourt, heavy losses will force head coach Archie Miller and his staff to rely on a new, though relatively seasoned, rotation of forwards and centers.
In the backcourt, Price started at point guard for all 37 games last year for the Flyers and Sanford was fourth on the team in points and tied for third in assists.
The departures leave a void that will be filled by returning players who most likely will serve in different roles than they have in the past.
With a new team comes a new rotation. Here is a look at how the Flyers’ frontcourt (forwards and centers) and backcourt (guards) will look this season.
As the only two players on the roster standing taller than 6 feet 6 inches, junior power forwards Jalen Robinson and Devon Scott, both listed at 6 feet 9 inches, will be heavily relied on to provide the team with effective play down low.
“Jalen and Devon have a big role, a big window this year,” Miller said. “They have a lot of responsibility.”
Scott and Robinson each averaged just over 12.5 minutes per game last year. That figure will almost certainly have to be in the 20s for the former Columbus, Ohio, Northland High School teammates if the Flyers want to have an effective post presence.
According to Scott, the forwards’ conditioning and ability to stay out of foul trouble will help determine how long they can stay on the floor.
“Coach stresses to us every day the importance of not fouling,” Scott said. “Conditioning is everything, because we’re going to have to play heavy minutes.”
Junior forward Dyshawn Pierre and sophomore forward Kendall Pollard will be expected to log most of the minutes at the other forward positions. Pierre started every game last year and all but three his freshman year.
Miller sees Pierre taking on a more diverse workload this season, especially when defended by guards of small stature.
“I think this year he’ll be inside a lot more than he’s ever been,” Miller said.
Pierre and Pollard are both listed at 6 feet 6 inches and 210 pounds and seem to fit the mold of this year’s team in terms of utilizing their potential lack of size, but abundance of speed, relative to their positions.
“With a smaller team we’re going to have to play a little bit faster, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to play as tough or compete as hard,” Pierre said. “We’re going to work hard this yearand try to get wins how we can.”
Miller expects redshirt senior shooting guard Jordan Sibert to utilize his scoring skill this year as he did so often last year on his way to leading the team in scoring with 12.2 points per game. In practice, he constantly reminds Sibert to look for his drive and jumper.
Miller has made it known in the recent weeks that the guard play of this year’s team revolves around sophomore point guard Scoochie Smith.
“It starts and stops with Scooch,” Miller said.
With Price’s transfer, Smith became the only true point guard on the roster with collegiate experience within the Flyers’ system.
Redshirt senior transfer Ryan Bass brings several years of point guard experience playing for Oakland University.
“I do think [Bass] can provide a spark for us at times,” Miller said. “Him learning what we’re doing is a big thing, he’s sort of like a freshman here.”
Sophomore guard Kyle Davis and freshman guard Darrell Davis – of no relation to the former – will provide depth for both guard positions.
“I think the thing Kyle brings is a lot of toughness and defensive ability,” Miller said.
Miller acknowledges that Davis needs a little more time to get comfortable adapting to the college game, but expects Davis to make an impact with his shooting ability.
“He can really shoot,” Miller said.