Dayton players are introduced before the Red & Blue Game at UD Arena on Oct. 25, 2014. David Jablonski/Staff
The national writers (and the rest of the nation) discovered the Dayton men’s basketball team during the NCAA tournament last March. They were media darlings for three weeks.
That’s continued this fall with the publication of numerous season previews. Here’s a sampling.
Jon Rothstein, of CBS Sports, lists guard Darrell Davis as one of 20 under-the-radar freshmen:
Over the summer, coach Archie Miller said the 6-4 Davis is as talented as any player the Flyers have signed since Miller’s been at Dayton. The 6-4 guard will play both backcourt spots and should be one of the A-10’s better first-year players.
Jordan Sibert ranks 73 out of 100 in a SBNation story on the best 100 players in the country.
All the Ohio State transfer did in his first season as a Flyer was lead UD to the Elite 8 and turn them into America’s team. He’ll be called upon to do even more in Year 2 now that Dayton has lost three starters and its top reserve from that team.
As a junior, Jordan Sibert led the Flyers and finished second in the Atlantic 10 in three-pointers made (83), and was third in the conference in three-point percentage (.426). He was the team’s leading scorer at 12.2 points per game, and established himself right out of the gate as the squad’s go-to guy with the game of the line. He began 2013-14 by drilling a game-winner at the buzzer in Dayton’s season-opener against IPFW, and then ended it by hitting a dagger in the final minute of UD’s Round of 32 win over Syracuse.
Sports Illustrated picks the Flyers to finish second in the A-10 and sees great potential in Dyshawn Pierre.
The good news: Double-digit scorers Jordan Sibert and Dyshawn Pierre are back from last season’s late-blooming Cinderella, which boasted the most efficient offense in A-10 play. The bad: Three other starters aren’t. But coach Archie Miller still has enough to build a contender, especially if center Jalen Robinson can find consistency as a starter. Pierre is a darkhorse for POY.
The City of Basketball Love website got the opinions of assistant coaches throughout the league. Here’s what one said about UD:
“I always think of Dayton as one of the top teams in the league because of the environment, the tradition the arena, the setting. Plus, I think they will benefit tremendously from the Elite 8 run. …I would say they’re going to finish in the top three, and with [Jordan] Sibert and Dyshawn Pierre, I think they have two of the best players in the league. I think they’re going to be very hard to beat at Dayton.”
Bleacher Report ranks the Flyers as the 18th-best 3-point shooting team in the country, mostly because of Sibert and Pierre but also because of Scoochie Smith’s potential.
Scoochie Smith is the big X-factor here. He should be in line for the bulk of the point guard duties, but he shot just 27.4 percent from three-point range last year as a freshman. If his stroke doesn’t improve, Dayton won’t belong anywhere near this list.