#38 Dayton Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Dayton Flyers

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #38
Conference Rank: #1 Atlantic 10

Dayton Team Page#38 Dayton Men's Basketball 2015-2016 PreviewBuy Dayton Basketball Tickets

Once again Dayton made some noise in March. The Flyers knocked off Boise State in the First Four and followed it up with a nice win over Providence before falling in a hard fought game to number three seed Oklahoma. Coach Archie Miller has another good team, but he lost his best player to graduation and his best returning player is currently suspended. That leaves some big holes to fill and Kendall Pollard as the team’s top returning scorer and rebounder. The 6-6 junior forward averaged 12.7 points and 5.3 rebounds and is a steady presence in the paint. That steadiness is something this team will need while they transition into a team that may spend this season without Dyshawn Pierre.

2014-15 Record: 27-9, 13-5
2014-15 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Archie Miller
Coach Record: 90-47 at Dayton, 90-47 overall

Who’s Out:
Pierre is currently suspended from the university and will miss at least the first semester. He averaged 12.7 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists and was ready to take over the team. And the team was ready for him to do just that, so getting used to his absence, especially if it turns out he is out for the entire year, will take some time. Getting used to life without Jordan Sibert will not be easy either. Sibert led the Flyers during a couple nice NCAA Tournament runs and averaged 16.1 points per game and knocked down 80 three-pointers. Devon Scott, Jalen Robinson and Ryan Bass all missed most of last season anyway, so losing them will not affect Dayton all that much.

Who’s In:
Coach Miller will need some production from his group of six eligible newcomers. The two players who are likely most ready to contribute are the two who are not incoming freshmen. Charles Cooke spent one season at James Madison, where he averaged 14.3 points per game. The 6-5 wing is a great athlete and will be thrust into a bigger role while Pierre is out. Redshirt freshman Steve MeElvene has everybody in Dayton excited. The 6-11 center is a beast in the paint and has the talent to go along with it. The four newcomers offer a variety of skills. Ryan Mikesell is a small forward who can shoot the ball, while Xeyrius Williams is a lean 6-8 forward who can handle the ball and get to the basket. At 6-9 and 244 pounds, Sam Miller is a post player who can battle in the paint and step outside and knock down jumpers. Point guard John Crosby should have some time to develop his game, but his toughness could earn him some playing time right away.  

Who to Watch:
Junior guards Scoohie Smith and Kyle Davis are ready to step into leadership roles this season. Smith dished out 3.8 assists per game last year and he is an unselfish point guard who knows how to set up his teammates. He makes everybody on the floor better. But Smith has a pretty good offensive game when he wants to. He can shoot effectively and efficiently from long range and use his quickness to attack the basket. Kyle Davis is the best defender on the team. He took a few too many outside shots last season, but can be a very effective scorer when attacking the basket. The best shooter on the team is sophomore Darrell Davis. He connected on 45.2 percent of his 104 three-point attempts as a freshman and will again provide a nice offensive spark off of the bench.

Final Projection:
Much of this team’s success will depend on Pierre’s eligibility, but much will also depend on the development of the frontcourt. Pollard needs a partner in the paint. If McElvene can be that guy, it would allow Pierre to play at small forward and that is where he belongs. And if Pierre is not around, it would allow Cooke to spend more time on the floor. And having that size in the A-10 is never a bad thing either. Bobby Wehrli can provide some frontcourt depth, but it is really up to the newcomers to fill that void up front. Last season, with Pierre spending most of his time at the power forward spot, Dayton ranked 12th in the conference in rebounding margin. With McElvene and Pollard in the frontcourt and Cooke or Pierre on the wing, this would be a much, much better team on the glass. With or without Pierre, this is a team that should compete for an A-10 title and an NCAA Tournament spot. Either way, this team is going to have to adjust to playing without Pierre early in the season. Coach Miller will find the right guys for the right situations and by January the Flyers will be ready to compete in the A-10 one way or another.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Scoohie Smith, Junior, Guard, 9.2 points per game
Kyle Davis, Junior, Guard, 7.1 points per game
Charles Cooke, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Kendall Pollard, Junior, Forward, 12.7 points per game
Steve McElvene, Freshman, Center, DNP last season

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 67.8 (162nd in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 60.8 (41, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.2 (57, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.8 (112, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.6 (135, 4)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.7 (112, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.6 (200, 7)
Rebound Margin: -1.8 (261, 12)
Assists Per Game: 13.6 (92, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.5 (76, 4)


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