Archie Miller during the 2014-15 season. David Jablonski/Staff
I spent about 19 minutes talking to Dayton coach Archie Miller today in his office on campus today about all kinds of things, mainly about how his program is approaching the offseason and what each of the returning players needs to do to take the next step next season.
There will be one story in Wednesday’s Dayton Daily News and an extended Q and A in Sunday’s paper. We also talked about the proposed NCAA rule changes involving the shot clock for a separate story.
Here a few highlights from the conversation:
* Miller said center Steve McElvene, a partial qualifier last season, had a strong second semester academically. He has two summer classes, and Miller has no doubt he’ll be eligible to play in 2015-16.
* The Flyers were planning to take a preseason training trip to the Bahamas, but that has been pushed back a year because Miller is going to Greece as an assistant coach on the U-19 team. Teams can take these kind of trips once every four years. Miller said they will go somewhere abroad next year.
* While the Flyers still have two scholarships open for the coming season, that doesn’t mean they’ll fill them.
“We only add people if it makes sense for us in terms of fit and long term,” Miller said. “We’ve decided to really stay away from some of the fifth-year guys because I don’t think anything has made sense in terms of, ‘Hey, we have a big hole here, we need to do that.’”
* Miller expects the four incoming freshman to be on campus when the second summer session begins June 22.
”I’m anxious to get them mixed in with our guys so we can start to figure out how our depth is going to look,” Miller said. “You get a chance to get them on the court individually, and you get to put the whole team together in the second summer session.”
* The player with the most pressure on his shoulders going into next season is senior Dyshawn Pierre. Of Pierre, Miller said, “Dyshawn’s goal is to become the premier player in our conference. Can he be the player of the year in our conference? Can he be first team all-conference? If he is, we have the chance to have a good year. In watching him grow, watching him this offseason and in the summer, he’s setting himself up personally to have the best year he can have.”
* Miller said he leaves June 13 for Colorado Springs, Colo., to begin his role as an assistant coach on Team USA’s Under-19 team. He returns to the states after the World Championships in Greece on July 6 and returns to the recruiting trail July 8.
“It’s a very intense trip,” Miller said. “I didn’t realize it was like this. Most people think it’s sort of a fun thing to do.”
* Miller is not concerned about the proposed change from a 35-second to 30-second shot clock. He said they often practice with a 28-second shot clock and sometimes a 9-second shot clock in 5-on-0 drills.
“We have to able to push the ball fast and flow fast,” Miller said. “If we have a shorter amount of time to learn how to get form one thing to the next ,it puts pressure on us every day to do it. So in the game, we have less pressure to do things.”
* We spent a couple minutes looking back one more time on last season, one of the more unique seasons in UD history. I asked Miller if there was ever a time the coaches panicked, knowing just how close they always were to disaster. One sprained ankle could have derailed everything for a seven-man team.
“It’s pretty incredible now to think about how it all went down,” Miller said. “When you’re in it, you’re constantly trying to avoid the disasters. What we did was panic every day. Practice was a panic to the next practice to the game. You were always on edge. You were never concerned about what was going right. You were always concerned about what could go wrong. You were always working on the preventative side of things. It was exhausting, to be honest with you. I will say it was very very enjoyable, probably as rewarding a thing as I’ve been around, to watch our guys finish the season the way they did, to see a group of guys battle through and finish. To be right there to win a (A-10) championship, to be right there to advance to the Sweet 16, a lot of teams will take that.”