Archie Miller evaluates Dayton Flyers nine games into season

Dayton coach provides updates on each player

The Dayton Flyers are taking final exams this week. Senior guard Kyle Davis posted a photo to Instagram on Tuesday of himself looking weary.

The team gets a break from classes soon, and then a different grind awaits. Dayton (7-2) plays three games in the seven days, starting with a 7 p.m. game Saturday against Northwestern at the United Center in Chicago.

On Monday’s Archie Miller Show, WHIO’s Larry Hansgen asked the Dayton coach to evaluate each of the scholarship players on the roster and to talk about what they need to do moving forward.

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Scoochie Smith: “Make the game easier for your teammates, especially early in the game. If he was the quarterback, he’s got to start thinking about how he can get a couple of receivers a couple of touches early in the game. He’s got to get a couple guys feeling good so when they catch it a little bit later on they’re not so nervous. He did a better job of that (last) week.”

Kyle Davis: “It’s hard not to appreciate what he does for our basketball team. It’s always constant: be the tone-setter. Take great pride in being the guy who punches first for our basketball team. He’s got to be the guy if the play is going to be a 50-50 play, he makes it every time.”

Kendall Pollard: “That’s a tough one. I’ve got a lot on my mind when I think about him. He’s been out for a while, and you want him to ease back into it a little bit. He’s just forcing the action all the time. He’s always going to be that guy, especially with the ball, who’s a dominant player for our team. What we need is for Kendall to make less turnovers. Don’t force it every single time. Especially in transition, they can see it coming a mile away — everybody in the whole arena knows it when he gets the ball. He’s got to take good shots.”

Charles Cooke: “Charles, when I talk to him, it doesn’t have anything to do with Xs and Os. Charles is one of those guys if he’s engaged emotionally in the game, he can fill the whole stat sheet up if he wants to. That’s what we’re trying to get him to do. Focus in on your teammates. Focus on bringing a positive atmosphere to the timeouts. Because he’s a competitive guy. Sometimes he looks a little standoffish at times, like he’s almost in his own world. We’re getting him out of that.”

Darrell Davis: “He was good on Saturday. We watched film today. From a defensive perspective, man did he do a good job in help. He was on the floor a couple times. He didn’t get in the offensive rhythm, and he’s not in an offensive rhythm. When he focuses in on on the offensive rhythm and he’s fighting the game within the game, that’s when Darrell doesn’t look as good. When Darrell was free-minded on Saturday, he played really well. He had a good workout today. Sometimes you’ve got to fight the fight and start over and figure out a different way of approaching things.”

Xeyrius Williams: “I talked to Xeyrius after practice today. He had a rough beginning, and then he grew up before our eyes with an enhanced role. Now that we’re starting to see him play more consistent. Don’t be satisfied. Don’t shut your brain off at halftime. He was very active in the first half (Saturday). He was flying around. He got a couple of loose-ball rebounds. He hit a shot. A couple tap-ins. Then in the second half, I felt he wasn’t as engaged defensively, and he picked up a couple fouls. I think Xeyrius has a chance to be one of the best defenders we’ve ever had from a front-court perspective because of how mobile he really is. He crashes the glass. He brings energy on defense.”

Ryan Mikesell: “Offensively, don’t press. You don’t have to press right now. If you’re open shoot the ball. He does do a good job of moving. He can really pass. But for me, he’s got to be a smarter defender. Right now he’s picking up a couple quick fouls each half unnecessarily. You weren’t in proper position when the guy caught it, so you reacted late and you got nervous and you fouled. That takes you out of the game. He gets one foul a game on a blockout usually, grabbing the guy and holding him.”

Sam Miller: “Sam’s doing a good job. He played really good post defense again for the second and third game in a row. We try like crazy to emphasize how important rebounding is for him and not bringing the ball down below his chin when he gets the rebound so a guard can swipe it. From an offensive perspective, less turnovers trying to put the ball on the floor. When he puts the ball on the floor, he jumps and tries to pass. We’ve eliminated a lot of that for him. We’re trying to simplify his post game and teach him when catches it inside to make better decisions. Sam’s a really good offensive player for us, and when he can stretch the floor, he’s going to continue to pose problems for the other team’s front-court players.”

John Crosby: “John’s doing well. We talked to John a lot about the defensive side of things, being rock solid, being where you’re supposed to be when you’ve got to be there. You don’t need to steal balls and hit home runs. You just need you to be rock-solid defensively. That will help him get in the flow offensively. He can come at you full speed. He had a couple good pushes last week. He got to the basket. With him, it’s sort of like Scooch. Think of somebody. Who can you get an easy basket for? Who can you make better?”

Trey Landers: “Unfortunately, he doesn’t have three or four other guys in practice making a ton of mistakes and looking just like him. He’s the one freshman running around. Sometimes he can steamroll himself into two, three or four bad plays just because he’s young. He’s a little bit wet behind the ears. We’ve changed his position in the middle of the year. It’s not fair to him. So he’s got to continue to really learn the ropes in practice every day. The thing I love about Trey is he’s such an engaging personality, he’s sort of like a vibrant energy bolt on the bench. He’s good in the huddles. He’s there whether he’s in the game or not. He’s engaged. That’s going to serve him well. Because he will get in the games, I promise you, as we continue to go. He’s just not ready yet.”

Dayton improved to 7-2 with 75-61 victory on Dec. 10, 2016.

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