Pulse of the People: Fans Expecting Big Things from UD Men’s Basketball This Season

Brandon Heath
Sports Staff Writer

Red Scare (cover photo) leads students in cheering at a game in UD arena in 2018. Courtesy of Griffin Quinn

A brand new season of basketball means a fresh start, fresh expectations and fresh faces taking the court. However, many familiar faces on the men’s basketball team will look to improve on a 21-12 season and a first-round exit in the NIT. Veterans including redshirt sophomore Obi Toppin, senior Trey Landers and graduate student Ryan Mikesell will lead the charge with their experience, but the depth of Dayton’s bench is what has some students excited.

“I’m expecting an immediate impact from our transfers,” says senior Michael Oliver, the former president of Red Scare, which leads UD’s student section. “We are going to have a deep bench so it will be interesting to see how Coach Grant can manage the minutes in the rotation.”

One of the transfers that has many fans excited is redshirt junior Jordy Tshimanga. Standing at a towering 6’11 and weighing in at 268 pounds, Tshimanga is seen as a potential force down in the post. He has some collegiate experience already, starting 27 games during his two seasons with Nebraska. The offseason has been crucial for Tshimanga, as he has slimmed down from 275 pounds the previous year, and had a minor surgery to clean-up his knee.

See also – Obi Toppin Is Turning Heads Across the Country. How Far Can He Take UD? and Anthony Grant Looks to Prove Himself in His Third Year as UD Men’s Basketball Head Coach

“He will have a slow start to the season as he comes back from surgery,” Oliver predicts. “But he will go from the bench to a starter by the end of the season.”

Tshimanga may be a new face on the court, but there will be many new faces in the crowd as well. First year Natalie DeBortoli, who is a cheerleader for the Women’s Basketball team, says she is excited for the upcoming season.

“I can’t wait to actually go to the games and experience them with my friends,” DeBortoli says. “Getting to cheer on the girls from the sidelines and cheer on the boys from the stands is something I’m really looking forward to.”

The upcoming season will also see a new look for UD Arena, as renovations were completed just in time for the season to start. 

“The arena is my home away from home, so I am really excited to see the finished product,” Oliver said.

Oliver thinks that the arena may be the difference for the Flyers; predicting that they will finish the season 23-10, but going undefeated at UD Arena. DeBortoli thinks the Flyers will repeat last season; going 21-12. One thing is for sure, the arena will be a major factor all season as the Red Scare will be in full effect.

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