By: Katie Obear – Staff Writer
Three juniors are leading the Dayton men’s basketball team as captains for the first time in two years.
Guards Kyle Davis and Scoochie Smith, along with forward Kendall Pollard, have each been on the team since they were freshman. They each have played an important role for the Flyers since their freshmen year, when the Flyers made the Elite Eight for the first time since 1984.
The past two years, seniors Devin Oliver and Jordan Sibert were captains and primarily led the team, especially during the NCAA tournament runs leading up to the Elite Eight and the third round in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
This year, the leadership has changed, with the role of captain placed in the hands of the juniors, at least for the first 10 games of the season. Over the summer, head coach Archie Miller named the three juniors, along with suspended senior Dyshawn Pierre, as team captains.
The three had been familiar with each other long before they ever stepped onto the court at UD Arena.
All of them participated in the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) prior to coming to Dayton.
Pollard and Davis, both originally from Chicago, also competed against each other during their years in high school when Pollard attended Simeon Career Academy and Davis attended Hyde Park Academy and transferred to Morgan Park for his senior season.
“I think with us three, it is a real brotherhood, getting acquainted with each other through the AAU circuit,” Smith said in an exclusive interview with Flyer News. “Between us three there is not a lot of talking on the court because we know we have one goal in mind, and that is just to win a game, no matter how we win it. We know what it takes to win a game, just having experience.”
Last season, the three stood out on the team. Smith, a point guard, led the team in assists with 3.8 per game. Davis ranked second in blocks and steals, and Pollard was tied with Pierre as the team’s second-highest scorer with 12.7 points per game.
For these juniors, leading the team is something they have done consistently from day one. Davis earned the team’s Best Defender award consecutively over the last two years, while Pollard earned the Atlantic 10 conference’s Chris Daniels Most Improved Player Award last season.
Last season, Smith won the team’s Dr. George Rau Spirit Award, which is given to the player who displays true team spirit, on and off the court. Smith also received the Uhl Family Endowed Scholarship, given to the player who exemplifies the qualities of good sportsmanship and character.
This season already, Pollard has been named to the preseason All-Atlantic 10 Third Team.
“All three guys have gained a ton of experience over their first two years,” head coach Archie Miller said. “They were all part of a great run as freshmen and they all impacted our team in different ways. I think as sophomores they were really thrown into the fire and clearly had an opportunity on the court to generate a lot of confidence within themselves.”
With 53 wins under their belt over their first two seasons, the three are on pace to become the program’s winningest four-year class.
“We’ve all got different roles, but we are all intertwined with each other to be as one,” Davis said.
For photos from the Red-Blue scrimmage, click here.