2012-2013 Overall Rank: #92
Conference Rank: #9 Atlantic 10
Dayton Team Page
Dayton has a lot of talent coming in and quite a bit returning as well, but the lack of proven shooters and a much tougher new look Atlantic 10 conference could keep them down the pecking order for now. Coach Archie Miller will have his work cut out for him working in all of the new faces and finding replacements for some key players from last year’s NIT squad. The tougher A-10 will work to the Flyers advantage as far as their RPI is concerned, but they do need to win some games for that to mean much of anything. But by February and March, this could be one of the better teams in the conference.
2011-12 Record: 20-13, 9-7
2011-12 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Archie Miller
Coach Record: 20-13 at Dayton, 20-13 overall
The Flyers lose four players and they were the four most prolific outside shooters on the team. But they did so much more than shoot. Forward Chris Johnson did pretty much everything for Dayton. During his senior season he averaged 12.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and knocked down nearly 40 percent of his 5.4 attempts per game from long range. Paul Williams is the other lost starter. He emerged as more than just a shooter during his senior season and was also a fine defender. Josh Parker was usually the first man in off of the bench and he provided a quick offensive spark with his ability to knock down the long ball and give the Flyers another ball handler on the floor. Luke Fabrizius never put up impressive numbers, but he was an experienced big man who could stretch out the defense and help out a little bit on the glass.
When looking for replacements for Williams and Johnson, Vee Sanford and Matt Derenbecker are not bad options. Sanford, a transfer from Georgetown, did not make much of an impact in D.C., but he is a shooter and that is what this team needs. Derenbecker has a little more playing experience during his one season at LSU. The 6-7 forward started 16 games in 2010-2011 and was starting to turn into a fine player by the end of his freshman campaign. On the year he averaged 6.5 points and 2.1 rebounds, but those numbers do not do him justice considering how well he played down the stretch. Incoming freshman Khari Price should immediately step into the backup point guard role during those rare times when Kevin Dillard needs a break. How often Dillard gets a break will largely depend on if Price is ready to run the team during meaningful minutes. Forwards Dyshawn Pierre, Jalen Robinson and Devon Scott could end up seeing more playing time as freshmen. Pierre is a small forward who can attack the basket and score in bunches. Like the departing Johnson, he can do a little bit of everything. Ideally, Pierre is a small forward, but against certain opposition he may have to spend some time at the shooting guard position. Yet, it is Jalen Robinson and Devon Scott who are largely considered the most talented prospects. The former prep teammates will battle it out for playing time in the frontcourt. Robinson has beefed up to 243 pounds to fill in his 6-9 frame and has a ton of potential. Scott may prove to be the player ready to play more minutes as a freshman, but Robinson is a player to watch out for in the future.
Who to Watch:
Dayton’s strength lies in the frontcourt where big men Josh Benson and Matt Kavanaugh are back to wreak havoc on the A-10. Benson missed most of last season after tearing his ACL. In the 14 contests when he was healthy, the 6-9 local product averaged 10.9 points and 5.2 rebounds. Benson is a strong interior scorer and his presence in the paint opens up looks for the shooters…at least those that are left. Kavanaugh is not a bad scorer by any means and averaged 9.0 points and 5.9 rebounds during his breakout junior campaign. Kavanaugh, another 6-9 big man, really stepped up his game when Benson was out. Kavanaugh will go back to doing the dirty work, but everybody knows that he can be a scorer now too. Alex Gavrilovic will join the newcomers providing depth to the frontcourt. Devin Oliver is a very interesting player who certainly proved last season that he deserves a spot in the starting lineup. Oliver came on very strong at the end of his sophomore season and will make a big impact whether he starts or not. Oliver, a 6-7 forward, can play at the three or four spot. He can step outside and knock down the mid-range jumper with consistency and is also a beast on the glass. If Coach Miller wants to play big, Oliver will be at the small forward position. If he wants a smaller, quicker team, Oliver will be playing power forward. It is Oliver’s versatility that could keep him out of the starting lineup, since he does provide more options than some other players. But starting or not, Oliver will likely finish games.
Dillard is the lone returning guard with any real playing experience. Dillard transferred in from Southern Illinois last year and took the Flyers over, leading the team with 13.3 points, 6.0 assists and 1.4 steals. Dillard can mix things up offensively by knocking down some three-pointers, but that will not solve the Flyers potential shooting problems, unless Dillard is able to spend more time off of the ball. However, that is unlikely. Dillard is a great floor leader and he will make sure the offense runs through Benson and Kavanaugh in the paint. As long as that happens, Dayton will be a good team. If Sanford can emerge as a consistent shooter and a decent all-around scorer, Dayton could be the surprise team in the Atlantic 10.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT
Projected Starting Five:
Kevin Dillard, Senior, Guard, 13.3 points per game
Vee Sanford, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Matt Derenbecker, Sophomore, Forward, DNP last season
Josh Benson, Senior, Forward, 10.9 points per game
Matt Kavanaugh, Senior, Center, 9.0 points per game