Anthony Grant ended the Dayton Flyers annual awards banquet Wednesday by giving his brief thoughts on next season.
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Next season always has promise for Dayton and its fans. The 2019-20 season has more potential than most.
“Tonight was about celebrating this year’s team and the accomplishments we had over the course of the season and obviously the memories and sending the seniors out,” Grant said, “but at the same time, it’s also the beginning of a new season. I know for myself and our staff and all of our players, I just want to say how excited we are about the future of Flyer basketball.”
Dayton improved from 14-17 to 21-12 in Grant’s second season and will return three starters and the top two reserves while adding four transfers and one incoming freshman to the mix, along with Jhery Matos, who missed all but six games last season with a foot injury. The Flyers could add more newcomers as well because they have two scholarships open with Jordan Davis and Frankie Policelli deciding to transfer.
“I’m extremely proud of this year’s team and what we were able to accomplish over the course of the year,” Grant said. “To see the love and the brotherhood these guys were able to form from the time they came together to the end of the season was really rewarding and gratifying for myself and our staff.”
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The eleven remaining scholarship players, plus the the coaching staff, student managers, trainers, UD administrators, family members and somem fans attended the banquet at the Marriott near campus. The main feature of the night was the presentation of the awards. Here are the winners:
White-Allen Most Valuable Player: While redshirt freshman forward Obi Toppin took home the most trophies, including A-10 Rookie of the Year and all-conference first-team awards, the coaches chose sophomore point guard Jalen Crutcher as the MVP. Either player would have been a fine pick.
Crutcher, an A-10 third-team selection, ran an offense that ranked 43rd in the country in efficiency. He ranked second in the A-10 in assists per game (5.7) and ranked third on the team in scoring (13.2). He’s the first UD sophomore to win the MVP award outright since Brian Roberts in 2006. Chris Wright was a sophomore in 2009 when he shared the award with Marcus Johnson.
Alex Schoen Free-Throw Percentage Award: Redshirt junior Ryan Mikesell made 60 of 74 free throws (81.1 percent).
John L MacBeth Scholar-Athlete: Walk-on senior guard Jack Westerfield won the award for the second straight season.
Dr. George Rau Spirit Award: Walk-on sophomore guard Camron Greer was honored.
“Shorty” Sharpenter Top Rebounder: Junior guard Trey Landers averaged 6.7 rebounds.
Chris Daniels Memorial Award: Toppin won this award, which is presented to the team’s most improved player, by averaging a team-best 14.4 points per game while shooting 66.6 percent from the field. He improved each month as the season progressed.
James G. and Purcell S. Palmer Award: Redshirt senior forward Josh Cunningham won this award, which honors the player who best embodies the characteristics, on and off the court, of Dayton great Jim Palmer.
Thomas M. Luppe Memorial Award: Matos, a junior guard, won this award, which honors the player who “best demonstrates the courage, desire and integrity of former Flyer freshman Tom Luppe.”
Steve McElvene Best Defender Award: This award was renamed this year in honor of the late Dayton center, and freshman guard Dwayne Cohill, who earned a reputation as a defensive stopper, was honored.
Uhl Family Endowed Scholarship: Mikesell was honored as the “UD player who best exemplifies the qualities of sportsmanship and character.”
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