DaRon Holmes II had until Wednesday to make a decision about his future. That was the deadline for underclassmen who had declared for the NBA Draft to decide whether to keep their names in the draft or return to school.
Holmes announced Wednesday he will return to Dayton for his junior season. That puts Dayton among the top contenders in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Flyers finished second in Holmes’ first two seasons. If hadn’t returned, no one would have known what to expect in coach Anthony Grant’s seventh season.
Grant and his coaching staff still have two open scholarships to use if they want to add to the 2023-24 roster. Depth will be important with two of the players on the roster, Koby Brea and Malachi Smith, recovering from major offseason surgeries, ands another, Kobe Elvis, working his way back from a late-season knee injury.
Here’s a look at the roster as it stands now. The list includes 11 scholarship players and three walk-ons who could have the chance to earn minutes this year. The years listed are the years these players will be next season. For example, Holmes was a sophomore last season. He’s listed as a junior here.
Here’s an early look at the 2023-24 roster.
DaRon Holmes II, 6-10 forward, junior: He has led Dayton in scoring the last two seasons and started all 69 games in that span. He made the A-10 first team as a sophomore while increasing his scoring average from 12.8 to 18.4 points per game. He improved his rebounding average from 6..1 to 8.1
Malachi Smith, 6-0 guard, junior: He averaged 7.7 points and 5.6 assists as a sophomore. He started 16 games and appeared in three more. A right ankle injury cost him most of the preseason and the first three games of the season. A left ankle injury cost him 11 games from November into January. He lost another game to a left ankle injury in February. Smith underwent right ankle reconstruction surgery in April and will have the left ankle done on May 15.
Kobe Elvis, 6-2 guard, redshirt junior: In his second season at Dayton, Elvis averaged 8.9 points and 2.9 assists. He started 17 games and appeared in 19 games. Elvis was limited by two knee injuries. He missed 12 games from November through January after injuring his right knee in the final game of the Battle 4 Atlantis in November. He told the Uncensored Athletics podcast in April that injury was a Grade 2 ACL sprain. He then missed all three A-10 tournament games after banging his left knee with teammate Mustapha Amzil in the final game of the regular season at Saint Louis.
Koby Brea, 6-6 guard, redshirt junior: Brea averaged 6.8 points in his third season after averaging 8.1 points and being named the A-10 Sixth Man of the Year in 2022. He appeared in 28 of the 34 games and started 10 games. He led the team in 3-point shooting (50 of 135, 37%). He had surgery April 6 to have rods inserted into both of his legs to address stress fractures he dealt with in his tibias over the last year. He shared a video of him shooting at the Cronin Center while sitting in a wheelchair earlier this month.
Zimi Nwokeji, 6-7 forward, redshirt junior: The only member of the 29-2 team of 2019-20 to remain on the roster, Nwokeji has not played a big role since his first season on the court in the 2020-21 season but did see his minutes increase from 4.6 to 7.7 per game last season. He and Brea will be the first players to spend four full seasons in the program since Jalen Crutcher, who was a senior in the 2020-21 season. Nwokeji and Brea each have one season of eligibility remaining after the 2023-24 season because the 2020-21 season didn’t count against their eligibility due to the pandemic.
Brady Uhl, 6-2 guard, redshirt junior: The Alter graduate appeared in 18 games in his second season with the Flyers after making four appearances in his first season. He received meaningful minutes several times during the season. In the quarterfinals of the A-10 tournament, he made Dayton’s first 3-pointer to start a 14-0 run in a victory against Saint Joseph’s. He scored 12 points in the season and made 4 of 7 3-pointers.
Jaiun Simon, a 6-7 forward, freshman: He’s from Mableton, Ga., and became the first member of the 2023 recruiting class when he committed to Dayton on Oct. 28. As a senior at at Pebblebrook High School, he averaged 19. 3 points per game, 8.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists. He was named to the Class 7A (Georgia’s big school division) all-state second team.
Vasilije Erceg, 6-foot-10 forward, freshman: Erceg was born in Serbia but moved to Australia with his family when he was eight and lived there for 9½ years. He moved back to Serbia in 2021. He has never been to the United States and committed to Dayton on March 24, four days after first talking to the UD coaching staff on Zoom.
Enoch Cheeks, 6-3 guard, senior: He averaged 15.4 points, 3.5 assists and 4.4 rebounds in 31 games in his third season at Robert Morris. He made the All-Horizon League third team and was the second-leading scorer for a team that finished 16-17 and 10-10 in the Horizon League. He shot 44.6% from the field and 35.8% from 3-point range. He has started every game the past two seasons. He committed to Dayton on March 30. He has one more season of eligibility remaining after the 2023-24 season.
Javon Bennett, 5-11 guard, sophomore: Bennett ranked second in nation in steals per game (2.9) as a freshman at Merrimack. He averaged 9.6 points and 3.4 assists and averaged 10.5 points and 4.2 assists in 16 Northeastern Conference games. He has two more seasons of eligibility remaining after the 2023-24 season. He committed to Dayton on April 10.
Isaac Jack, 6-11 center, sophomore: Jack averaged 5.6 points and 4.2 rebounds in the 2022-23 season as a freshman in the Mid-American Conference. He appeared in 31 of the team’s 32 games and started 20 games. He averaged 16.3 minutes per game for a team that finished 15-17. Jack shot 64.4% from 2-point range (67 of 104) and 57.1% from the free-throw line (20 of 35). He committed to Dayton on April 24.
Marvel Allen, 6-4 guard, freshman: Dayton leaned on its south Florida connections to land Allen, a former LSU and Georgetown recruit who once ranked in the top 10 of the national rankings in the class of 2023 but dropped over the past year as he battled injuries at Montverde Academy in Orlando. He’s still a consensus top-150 recruit. He committed to Dayton on May 8.
Will Maxwell, 6-5 guard, freshman: The Oakwood graduate joins the roster as a preferred walk-on. He ranked second in the Southwestern Buckeye League in scoring last season with 20.7 points per game. He finished his career as Oakwood’s all-time leading scorer with 1,650 points.
Evan Dickey, 6-4 guard, freshman: The Chaminade Julienne graduate joins the roster as a preferred walk-on. He averaged 10.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists as a senior.