#53 Dayton Men's Basketball 2017-2018 Preview

Dayton Flyers
2017-2018 Overall Rank: #53
Conference Rank: #3 Atlantic 10
Dayton Logo
Dayton finished last season with three tough losses, including a 64-58 defeat at the hands of Wichita State in the NCAA Tournament. The tough times continued into the offseason with injuries and a suspension striking the program. And the Flyers lost Coach Archie Miller. Coach Miller led Dayton to four straight NCAA Tournaments, including an Elite Eight run in 2014. The program went out and nabbed a proven collegiate coach and a former Dayton player in Anthony Grant. Coach Grant began his head coaching career at VCU and then spent six seasons at Alabama. There is some rebuilding to do and a new system to install, but Grant should be a great long term hire for Dayton.
2016-17 Record: 24-8, 15-3
2016-17 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Anthony Grant
Coach Record: 0-0 at Dayton, 193-110 overall
Who’s Out:
With their top three scorers gone, Dayton has some huge holes to fill. Charles Cooke led the squad with 15.8 points and 5.1 rebounds per game and connected on 39.8 percent of his three-point attempts. Scoochie Smith added 13.8 points and a team high 4.5 assists. Those two would take most of the big shots for Dayton last year. And if they did not, Kendall Pollard did. The 6-6 forward was second only to Cooke in scoring and rebounding with 14.0 and 5.0, respectively. Kyle Davis is also gone after averaging 8.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.6 steals. His absence may not have a huge effect in the scoring department, but losing a glue guy like Davis is a big blow. Ryan Mikesell, a 6-7 forward, will miss this season following a couple hip surgeries. The status of Sam Miller, a 6-9 forward, is up in the air. At the moment he is suspended.
Who’s In:
Redshirt freshman Kostas Antetokounmpo has the potential to make a huge impact right away. He comes from a great basketball family and has international experience with the Greek under-20 team. At 6-10 and 190 pounds, he could stand to put on more weight, but Antetokounmpo is a superb talent with a ton of potential. From day one he should be a good shot blocker and rebounder, but do not be surprised if he develops into a decent scorer by the end of his freshman campaign as well. Incoming freshmen Matej Svoboda, Obadiah Toppin and Jordan Pierce will add plenty of depth to the frontcourt. Jordan Davis, a 6-4 guard, will need to help replace the loss of all of those shooters. And he certainly has the tools to quickly become a star on the perimeter. Jalen Crutcher is the point guard of the future, but he will have to play some quality minutes right away too.
Who to Watch:
Unlike in years past, this Dayton team will be relying heavily on their frontcourt. Xeyrius Williams, a 6-8 forward, is the team’s top returning scorer and rebounder, averaging 8.2 points and 4.8 rebounds as a freshman. Offensively, Williams has the ability to stretch the defense with his three-point shooting ability. Josh Cunningham is poised for a breakout season. He flashed some of his talent last year before an ankle injury limited him to just 11 games. Cunningham sat out the previous season after transferring in from Bradley so he has been waiting for a long time to show what he can do. Cunningham will be a strong rebounder and a very efficient scorer. Both Williams and Cunningham will have to be leaders on the floor. If they live up to their potential, along with some help from the newcomers, this could be the best frontcourt in the Atlantic 10.
Final Projection:
The bigger issues are in the backcourt. John Crosby gained some experience last year, averaging 13.3 minutes per game, but now he will be the starting point guard. He will not be the next Scoochie Smith, but as long as Crosby can run the offense effectively, Dayton will be in decent shape. If Crosby can score though, it would be helpful. Most of the scoring from the perimeter will likely come from Darrell Davis. The 6-5 senior did not have a great junior year in the scoring department, but he is turning into a great all-around player. With more shots to go around, Davis should see a massive boost in scoring. Even if he continues to just be an outside shooter, Davis should do plenty of scoring. There are a lot of big names to replace and it may take some time for it to happen, but there is also a lot of talent on this team. Dayton can reload in a hurry and by the time conference play rolls around, the Flyers will be a tough team to beat.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
John Crosby, Junior, Guard, 2.8 points per game
Darrell Davis, Senior, Guard, 5.5 points per game
Xeyrius Williams, Junior, Forward, 8.2 points per game
Josh Cunningham, Junior, Forward, 6.3 points per game
Kostas Antetokounmpo, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 75.9 (110th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.4 (46, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.5 (70, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.3 (45, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.1 (112, 4)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 38.5 (37, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.0 (214, 9)
Rebound Margin: -0.4 (212, 7)
Assists Per Game: 15.6 (48, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.8 (61, 3)