Dayton announces freshman center will redshirt in 2019-20 season

Dayton's Moulaye Sissoko reacts after a basket by the Flyers against Indiana State on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2019, at UD Arena.

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Dayton's Moulaye Sissoko reacts after a basket by the Flyers against Indiana State on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2019, at UD Arena.

Moulaye Sissoko is team’s only freshman

Dayton Flyers freshman forward Moulaye Sissoko will redshirt this season, UD announced Monday.

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Sissoko, a 6-foot-9 center from Mali, is the only freshman on Dayton's 11-man roster in the 2019-20 season. He was the only healthy player who did not see action Saturday in an 86-81 victory against Indiana State in the season opener at UD Arena. Sissoko had 12 points and nine rebounds in an exhibition game a week earlier against Cedarville.

“We’re excited about Moulaye’s potential,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said in a press release. “This redshirt season will allow him to continue to develop and grow athletically and academically. He will be with us every day, and that experience will benefit him greatly in terms of his basketball future.”

On Tuesday, Grant said he met with Sissoko last week before the season opener and discussed redshirting.

"Moulaye's been in the country for three or four years now and has grown tremendously in terms of his basketball IQ and his learning of the English language," Grant said, "but we felt this was the best thing for him, and he feels the same way."

Dayton made a similar announcement last season with freshman Frankie Policelli, but Grant said at the time there was always a chance Policelli would end up playing if other players were injured. When Jhery Matos suffered a season-ending injury, Dayton changed its mind about redshirting Policelli and he saw limited minutes the rest of the season and transferred to Stony Brook after the season.

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Dayton is in a better position this season to stick to its decision and keep Sissoko on the bench because of its depth, and that depth will improve if injured center Jordy Tshimanga returns. He has been sidelined with a knee injury and did not play in the exhibition game or season opener.

On Tuesday, Grant said the plan is for Tshimanga to return but that he had not yet returned to practice. Forward Ryan Mikesell said Tshimanga is progressing well.

"It's good to see," Mikesell said. "Hopefully, we get him back sooner rather than later, but it's kind of up to (trainer) Mike (Mulcahey) and coach Grant."

Mikesell redshirted in his third year at UD after undergoing two hip surgeries and said he talked to Sissoko about how to handle the year away from the action.

"I just told him to take this year and get better," Mikesell said. "You have a full year to learn and practice and grow in the weight room. I told him to maximize it as much as you can, learn as much as you can and set yourself up to have a good season next year.

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