Chase Johnson leaves Dayton Flyers for second time

Freshman from Finland will start in Johnson’s place

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

Dayton Flyers forward Chase Johnson announced Wednesday on Instagram he’s stepping away from basketball to focus on his health and school.

The decision by Johnson, a redshirt junior forward who started the first five games, comes almost one year after he left the program and took a medical leave of absence after being diagnosed with post-concussive stress syndrome. He announced last summer he would return to the program.

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“First and foremost, I would like to thank Coach (Anthony) Grant and the entire University of Dayton basketball staff for giving me the opportunity to play and study at an incredible school,” Johnson wrote. “Coach Grant and the entire coaching staff have gone above and beyond to help me become the player I am today.

“I would also like to thank all the fans at the University of Dayton for their continued support while at UD.  I will be forever grateful.

“Unfortunately, after close evaluation and consultation with my family and my doctor, I have decided that it is in my best interest to step away from basketball and focus on my health and school.  This has been a very hard decision to make.  But after a long road of obstacles, it has been become clear to me that my health means more to me than anything at hand.

“I am beyond blessed to have had the opportunity and I will be forever grateful for my time spent playing at the University of Dayton.  Coach Grant is a great coach and mentor and I can’t thank him enough for everything. Go Flyers!”

Johnson ranked third on the team in scoring (12.2 points per game) and second in rebounding (6.0). This is is fourth season in college basketball. All have been cut short because of health reasons.

“Chase has our full support with his decision,” Grant said in a statement. “We wish him the best in his life’s pursuits, and are grateful for his contributions to the University of Dayton and Flyer Basketball.”

Replacing Johnson in the starting lineup in the 7 p.m. Wednesday Atlantic 10 Conference opener against La Salle at UD Arena is Mustapha Amzil, a 6-foot-10 freshman forward from Finland who joined the team Dec. 19 and started practicing Sunday.

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Dayton also will play Wednesday without guards R.J. Blakney and Elijah Weaver. Coach Anthony Grant told WHIO’s Larry Hansgen before the game both suffered injuries in practice this week.

That leaves Dayton with eight scholarship players available for the La Salle game. One of those is freshman guard Koby Brea, who has not played in a game this season after missing six weeks with an upper body injury.

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