#120 Dayton Men's Basketball Preview

Dayton Flyers

Overall Rank: #120
Conference Rank: #6 Atlantic 10

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2010-11: 22-14, 7-9
2010-11 postseason: NIT
Coach: Archie Miller (First year at Dayton, 0-0 overall)

With a new head coach and the loss of three starters, it is hard to imagine Dayton will be much better than the team that struggled through the A-10 slate a year ago. Coach Archie Miller is a good coach who should pick up where Brian Gregory left off. The one thing the Flyers have going for them is Chris Johnson. The 6-6 senior forward was second on the team with 11.9 points and 6.0 rebounds. This will be Johnson’s team and they will go as far as he can take them. Johnson is a very good shooter and connected on nearly 38 percent of his many attempts from long range. With more pressure put on him to score, Johnson should be able to use his size to attack the basket more often.

Who’s Out:
Chris Wright was the star of this team for four years and life without him will be very different. Wright was a dynamic scorer who led the team with 13.2 points and 8.4 rebounds during his senior season. His collegiate career ended with a thud as Dayton was upset in the NIT. Devin Searcy was the other starting senior last year. The big man only averaged 15 minutes per game, but he was a big body who would do the dirty work in the paint. A couple transfers will sting as well. Juwan Staten dished out 5.4 assists per game as a freshman and emerged as a quality scorer. Brandon Spearman was another prize recruit of the class of 2010 who opted to transfer after his freshman campaign.

Who’s In:
Replacing Staten will fall to Kevin Dillard, a transfer from Southern Illinois. Dillard led the Salukis in scoring and assists during his two seasons in Carbondale. He should be able to replace Staten’s numbers without much of a problem. In fact, his experience and cool head, could be just what this group needs. The only other newcomer is incoming freshman Alex Gavrilovic. The 6-9 Frenchman is an inside-outside threat and that will be valuable to the Flyers down the road. For now, he will come in off the bench since Dayton already has plenty of forwards who spend a lot of time on the perimeter.

Who to Watch:
Luke Fabrizius is pretty much a shooter. He is a big guy, who will likely start at the four spot this year, but offensively his game is quite limited. On the other end of the floor, Fabrizius will need to get in the mix a little more and try and hit the glass. Josh Benson is the bigger bodied player who will have to be the bruiser in the paint. After averaging 5.6 points and 3.5 rebounds last season, the 6-9 junior will be asked to pick up a lot of the rebounding slack left behind by Wright. If he can develop into a major scoring threat in the paint, it will open up some much needed space for the shooters on the wing. Sophomore Devin Oliver and junior Matt Kavanaugh both averaged less than ten minutes last season, but they will be needed to provide depth up front. There could even be a starting job open for one of them if they can beat out Fabrizius. That way the Flyers could have two true post players on the floor to start the game and bring Fabrizius off of the bench to be a shooter and provide an offensive spark.

Final Projection:
Shooting guard Paul Williams quietly had a fine junior season. He averaged 8.4 points per game and knocked down nearly 42 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. At 6-4 and 212 pounds, it would be beneficial if the Detroit, Michigan product would use his size to attack the basket more often, but as long as he keeps shooting 42 percent, nobody will complain. Josh Parker will attack the basket. The backup point guard is a decent shooter and a quality ball handler. He can also score enough to play off the ball and he will certainly be asked to that with few options available on the perimeter. This backcourt is talented, albeit thin, and the frontcourt has enough options that things could work out quite well. That may not get Dayton into the NCAA Tournament, but it should get Coach Miller into the postseason during his first year with the Flyers.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Kevin Dillard, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Paul Williams, Senior, Guard, 8.4 points per game
Chris Johnson, Senior, Forward, 11.9 points per game
Luke Fabrizius, Senior, Forward, 3.8 points per game
Josh Benson, Junior, Center, 5.6 points per game

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