Ramp up the decibel dungeon
At the end of the 2019-20 men’s basketball A-10 regular season, the Flyers were cutting down the nets as champions. They were 29-2. Then the pandemic ended the season and dreams of postseason success.
Last year for Flyer fans, basketball was a television event.
None of the 13 scholarship student-athletes on this year’s team have ever played in a UD Arena full of fans.
That’s not to say they don’t have some experience. Although fans have not seen them up close and personal, six players return from last year’s 14-10 squad. They are joined by four entering freshmen as well as three transfers, who, in line with a recent NCAA rule change, are eligible to play this year.
Since the NCAA granted, in reaction to the pandemic, an extra year of eligibility, Dayton has 11 players with four years of eligibility remaining, that is, 11 “freshmen.”
How will that freshness affect the Flyers?
“Every year our goals and expectations,” said Anthony Grant, Flyers head men’s basketball coach, “are the same — to put ourselves in a position to play for championships and the postseason. You don’t put limitations on any team but work to become the best version of yourselves.”
“Every year our goals and expectations are the same — to put ourselves in a position to play for championships and the postseason.”
Grant did note that the program has a continuity of staff. An assistant, Anthony Solomon, left to become associate head coach at Notre Dame; but the vacancy was filled by James Kane, who returns to the Flyers after three years at Iowa State. Having also worked with Grant at VCU and Alabama, Kane is credited for playing a major role in the recruitment of two-time Flyer MVP Jalen Crutcher ’21.
The pandemic, with no fans in the stands and with camps being canceled, has been an obstacle to current players and fans bonding with each other. But Grant pointed out that Dayton has “one of the more knowledgeable fan bases in the country. There is affinity, and there is love.”
... Dayton has “one of the more knowledgeable fan bases in the country. There is affinity, and there is love.”
Of the team in preseason, he said, “All the guys are working hard to put in place what it takes to succeed. We all have things we are strong at and not strong at. So we, both staff and players, work together to understand each other, to make us our best, to make a whole greater than the sum of the parts.
“This is a great group of guys.”