Battle 4 Atlantis: Dayton ‘locked in’ on tournament despite distractions at resort

One of storylines in tournament is return of Kansas coach Bill Self from suspension

NASSAU, Bahamas — The Atlantis Paradise Island resort does not scream basketball in the way UD Arena does. There’s a casino, a waterpark, numerous restaurants, fountains with dolphin sculptures, tourists everywhere, not to mention the beach a short walk away.

The Dayton Flyers and the seven other teams, including Wisconsin, its first-round opponent Wednesday at the Battle 4 Atlantis, will have to deal with all those distractions this week.

“It is really exciting,” said Dayton forward Toumani Camara at a press conference Tuesday before the team’s first practice at Imperial Arena. “It’s a business trip. We came here to play basketball. Of course, the environment is really nice and everything but we need to stay on the main focus.”

Dayton forward DaRon Holmes II shared a photo of himself walking around Atlantis with teammate Mustapha Amzil. As of Tuesday night, there hadn’t been any videos or photos of any players taking on the giant waterslide at Atlantis, as Obi Toppin did in 2018, though one Dayton fan saw Mike Sharavjamts and Tyrone Baker on a slide.

“It is great to see the scenery here,” Holmes said. “It’s my first time out of the country. So it’s pretty cool. I like it a lot. The resorts really nice. We’re just locked in.”

Explore» BATTLE 4 ATLANTIS: Breaking down the eight-team field

Travel info: Dayton had a relatively easy trip to the Bahamas, compared to the fans flying commercial. According to the “Sports + Aviation” Twitter account, which tracks team plays, the Flyers left Dayton at 12:10 p.m. Monday and landed in Nassau at 2:40 p.m.

Back on the bench: Kansas coach Bill Self will return from a four-game suspension during this tournament. The Jayhawks play N.C. State in the first round Wednesday and will play Dayton or N.C. State on Thursday.

Assistant coach Norm Roberts led the team to a 4-0 start in his absence.

“Guys rallied around him,” Self said Tuesday. “He did great. You knew he would.”

Self did not enjoy the experience away from the team.

“The first two games were OK,” he said. “The Duke and Southern Utah games, I didn’t feel as comfortable watching from the living room as I did the first two. The guys did fine. We’ve got a long ways to go to become a really good team. Sometimes I think me stepping away at least at that moment in time may be a positive for us because maybe I can see it from a little bit different perspective.”

About the Author