A-10′s top sixth man, Brea, expects to return for fifth season at UD

He’s the second player in A-10 history to win the Sixth Man award twice

Dayton Flyers guard Koby Brea will graduate this spring. He did not participate in the Senior Night ceremony Friday at UD Arena because he said “there’s a high possibility” he will return to Dayton.

“One more year will be beneficial for me,” Brea said Tuesday in an interview at UD’s Cronin Center.

Brea is a fourth-year guard, but he has one more season of eligibility. His freshman year, played during the pandemic in 2020-21, did not count against his eligibility.

If he plays five seasons at Dayton, Brea could climb the record books and cement his legacy as an all-time great. He’s already achieved a level of greatness with his play this season.

Brea was named the A-10 Sixth Man of the Year on Tuesday for the second time in his career. He’s the second two-time winner of the award and first since Xavier’s James Posey in 1997 and 1998. Brea also won the award in 2022.

Brea won the award 11 months after having rods inserted in both tibias to fix stress fracture issues he played with throughout the 2022-23 season. He overcome those surgeries to average a career-best 11.0 points per game. He leads the nation in 3-point shooting percentage (89 of 179, 49.7%).

“It feels great, honestly,” Brea said. “All the hard work I put in, this one feels sweeter just because of last summer. It was really challenging. My teammates just did a really good job of embracing me and giving me the understanding that just because I’m not part of the starting lineup, doesn’t make my impact any less.”

Injury update: Sophomore point guard Javon Bennett returned to practice Monday after missing two games with an injured left thumb, coach Anthony Grant said Tuesday in interviews with local media members at the Cronin Center.

“We feel like, if everything goes well the next couple of days, he should be available,” for the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament,” Grant said.

Another honor: In addition to Brea and DaRon Holmes II, who was named the A-10 Co-Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year and to the A-10 first team, Dayton forward Nate Santos made the A-10 third team and the all-academic team. He averaged 12.1 points in the regular season.

Santos and the No. 3 seed and 24th-ranked Flyers start play in the A-10 tournament at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

“We feel pretty good,” Santos said. “Just getting those last two Ws of the regular season gives us some good momentum going into the tournament. We do have a goal of going in there and winning it, so I think we’re hungry.”

Other awards: Richmond’s Chris Mooney, whose team shared the A-10 regular-season title with Loyola Chicago, was named the A-10 Coach of the Year.

• Massachusetts guard Rahsool Diggins and Richmond guard Dji Bailey shared the Chris Daniels Most Improved Player Award.

• Saint Joseph’s freshman guard Xzayvier Brown was named the A-10 Rookie of the Year.

• The A-10 first team included: Holmes; Richmond’s Jordan King, who shared the player of the year award with Holmes; Josh Cohen and Matt Cross of UMass; Erik Reynolds II (Saint Joseph’s) and Max Shulga (VCU).

• The second team included: Duquesne’s Jimmy Clark III and Dae Dae Grant; George Mason’s Keyshawn Hall; Loyola Chicago’s Des Watson; Richmond’s Neal Quinn; and St. Bonaventure’s Chad Venning.

The third team included: Santos; George Washington’s James Bishop IV; La Salle’s Jhamir Brickus; Loyola Chicago’s Philip Alston and Braden Norris; and Saint Louis’ Gibson Jimerson.

• The all-academic team included: Santos; Davidson’s Connor Kochera; Norris, King and Jimerson.

• The all-defensive team included: Holmes; Clark; Fordham’s Kyle Rose; George Washington’s Babtunde Akingbola; and Loyola Chicago’s Miles Rubin.

• The all-rookie team included: Brown; Rubin; George Mason’s Baraka Okojie; George Washington’s Darren Buchanan, Jr.; and Jaylen Curry, of UMass.

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