Recruit trying to shore up academics, join UD

Cleveland Benedictine guard Desmond Ridenour isn’t giving up hope of joining the University of Dayton basketball team while navigating through some academic issues, and UD apparently hasn’t given up on him.

Rated as the fifth-best prospect among 2011-12 seniors in Ohio by one scouting service, the 6-foot-1 Ridenour said Monday he’s passed his summer-school courses and has the complementary ACT score needed to qualify. He’s waiting to hear from the NCAA about his eligibility.

He once had scholarship offers from top MAC schools and previously was recruited by some power-conference programs, but most of them have moved on. UD has an open scholarship, and he said the coaches have been working with him. First semester classes start Wednesday, though, and it’s unlikely he’ll know about his status early enough to enroll.

He could turn up for the second semester or go the prep school and become part of UD’s 2013 recruiting class.

“Dayton has had the most interest since Day 1, and they’ve been helping me get situated with all that stuff. … Everything is on track,” he said.

“I feel like they’ve shown me the most love. If it wasn’t for Dayton and the coaching staff, I probably wouldn’t even be close to qualifying. I’m just blessed.”

The Flyers have room in the program for another young point guard. Starter Kevin Dillard is a senior, and the only other true point guard is incoming freshman Khari Price.

Asked why he’s so drawn to UD, Ridenour said: “The atmosphere overall at games, period. Dayton also is a Catholic school. I’m a Catholic and graduated from a Catholic high school. But overall, the atmosphere and how much love the fans showed — even when they weren’t playing a high-caliber team. That showed a lot about the program and how they felt about their players.”

NBA hopes: Chris Johnson, the Flyers’ second-leading scorer and top rebounder last season, played in four of the five summer league games for the Philadelphia 76ers in July and averaged 7.3 points and 6.0 boards while shooting 35.5 percent from the field.

“The first few games, I had to get used to the physicality and the pace of the game. I thought I could have done a little better shooting the ball and doing a little more of the things the coaches were asking of me. But overall, I think it went well,” he said.

Johnson couldn’t parlay his audition into a free-agent contract with the Sixers, but his NBA dream is still alive. He flew to Los Angeles last week to work out for the Clippers and believes he made a favorable impression.

“Everything was great,” he said. “I heard some positive things from them. I’m waiting to hear back from that and see how things go.”

Warren to Hungary: London Warren, a former UD point guard, has signed a contract to play for Obudai Kaszasok, a pro team that competes in Hungary’s B Division and is based in Budapest.

Warren helped the Flyers to a trip to the second round of the NCAA tournament in 2009 and then to the NIT championship as a senior in ‘10. He was grateful to be back in basketball after losing a position as graduate student manager on Brian Gregory’s staff at Georgia Tech last season.

Warren and star player Glen Rice Jr. were stopped by police after reports of a shooting outside an Atlanta nightclub. A third person in the car reportedly was responsible for the gun accidentally going off. No one was hurt, but Rice, who was suspended at the time, also was kicked off the team.

“It was a great opportunity for me to get back on the court and play,” Warren said. “My agent, Tamas Deri, got me the job. He was my agent when I first came out of college. He gave me a second chance. He knew me personally and believed in me after the troubles I had this year.”

About a dozen former Flyers played internationally last year, and 2012 graduates Luke Fabrizius and Josh Parker will join them this season.

“Dayton is actually becoming its own brand overseas,” said Warren, who played briefly in Germany after graduation. “We’re playing so well, Dayton is like a powerful name. We’re sending players over there who are taking any deal and being successful. Our name is getting bigger on the market.”

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