2016-2017 Season Review
Led by a talented group of seniors, Dayton was one of the best non power conference teams in the nation last season. Archie Miller's squad went 24-8 overall and 15-3 in A10 play, which was good enough to win the regular season conference title. They were upset in the A10 Tournament Quarterfinals by Davidson, but still earned a #7 seed in the NCAA Tournament, their fourth straight appearance in the Big Dance. They played a great game in the first round but ultimately came up short against tenth seeded Wichita State, losing by 6.
After six seasons of leading the Dayton basketball program, Archie Miller decided to move on and take the Indiana head job. Miller led the Flyers to four NCAA Tournaments, making the Elite Eight in 2014. Dayton went 139-63 under Archie, who was named the 2017 A10 Coach of the Year. Besides losing their coach, Dayton also lost the winningest class in school history. That senior class included Charles Cooke, Kendall Pollard, Scoochie Smith, and Kyle Davis. Cooke was the team's leading scorer, averaging 15.8 PPG in addition to grabbing 5.1 RPG, dishing out 2.8 APG and shooting 39.8% from three. He was a 2nd Team All A10 selection and All Defensive Team selection last season. Pollard was a 3rd Team All A10 selection, scoring 14.0 PPG and grabbing 5.0 RPG. Scoochie Smith, besides having one of the best names in college basketball, averaged a 13.8/3.1/4.5 line. He also hit a team high 54 threes and was a 1st Team All A10 selection. Kyle Davis was the Sixth Man of the Year in A10, averaging a 8.1/3.8/2.6 line. He was also part of the All Defensive Team, has he had 1.6 steals per game. In addition to losing an outstanding senior class, Dayton will also be without 6'7 junior Ryan Mikesell this season, as he is taking a redshirt season to recover from hip surgery. Mikesell started 24 games for the Flyers, averaging 5.7 PPG and 3.9 RPG.
Dayton brings back Xeyrius Williams, a 6'8 junior who scored 8.2 PPG, grabbed 4.8 RPG, blocked 1.1 shots per game and shot 41.5% from three. 6'7 junior Josh Cunningham returns and hopefully is 100% healthy after he only played in 14 games last season. In those 14 games, Cunningham averaged 6.3 PPG and 2.9 RPG in 14.7 MPG. He'll be one of the go to guys on this team along with Williams. Darrell Davis is a 6'5 senior guard that hit 40 threes and averaged a 5.5/1.9/1.2 line last season. Sam Miller, a 6'9 junior forward, played 12.2 MPG last season in which he scored 4.5 PPG and 2.3 RPG. 6'4 sophomore guard Trey Landers saw limited action in just nine games as a freshman, but will have a larger role this season with all the departures. 6'2 junior John Crosby will also have a larger role after playing 13.3 MPG last season. He was 11 for 23 from three and scored 2.8 PPG.
With Archie Miller leaving for Indiana, Dayton has starts a new era with Anthony Grant leading the program. Grant was most recently an assistant with the OKC Thunder and was a head coach at VCU for three seasons and Alabama for six seasons. As a head coach his teams have went 193-110. He was fired from Alabama in March of 2015. Grant comes into a tough situation where he has to replace the winningest senior class in school history. He has the #3 ranked class in the A10, which is led by 6'4 three star SG Jordan Davis. Davis is a player that can handle and shoot the ball and had a lot of interest from high major schools. Jalen Crutcher is a 6'3 three star PG that is a great defender and ball handler. Matej Svoboda is a 6'7 wing man from the Czech Republic. Svoboda will be 21 years old come by the season's start, so he is an experienced player. Like most international players, he has a high IQ and is a great shooter. Jordan Pierce is a big 6'11 two star forward, while Obadiah Toppin is a late blooming 6'9 forward. Anthony Grant will also have Kostas Antetokounmpo available this season. The brother of the Greek Freak Giannis, Kostas was a four star recruit in 2016 but had to sit out with eligibility issues last season. He's 6'10, has a 7'2 wingspan and is an outstanding athlete.
Dayton has been one of the best non power conference teams in the nation as of late and that is in large part to the senior class they just lost. Throw in a coaching change and losing one of your best returners for the season due to injury and you have what is known has a rebuilding year. The A10 won't be super strong this season after URI, so that will help Anthony Grant's crew. Nonetheless, there will be a lot of growing pains for the Flyers this season. They'll have to win the A10 Tournament to keep that NCAA Tournament streak alive.