The Dayton Flyers depended heavily on newcomers in each of coach Anthony Grant’s first three seasons, and it will be a similar story in the 2020-21 season.
With the announcement of Chase Johnson returning to the program, Dayton has 12 scholarship players. That assumes Jalen Crutcher withdraws his name from the NBA Draft.
Of those 12, 11 will be available to play in the regular season. USC transfer Elijah Weaver will have to sit out the season. Of those 11, five have not played a regular-season college basketball game.
Here’s a glance at the roster as it stands now. The grades listed are the grades the players will be in next season.
Jalen Crutcher, 6-1, Sr., G: The first recruit to sign with the Flyers after the hiring of Anthony Grant in the spring of 2017 has a chance to finish his career with more than 1,500 points. That would put him in the top 20 in the Dayton record book. He made the All-10 first team after averaging 15.1 points per game. He announced March 26 he will explore the draft process while maintaining his eligibility.
Rodney Chatman, 6-1, R-Sr., G: He will be the only returner who started all 31 games last season. Toppin and redshirt senior Ryan Mikesell were the others. Crutcher missed one game. Trey Landers started every game but the season opener. Chatman averaged 7.7 points per game.
Ibi Watson, 6-5, R-Sr., G: Coming off the bench in all but one game, when he replaced the injured Crutcher, Watson was Dayton’s sixth man. He shot 39.3 percent from 3-point range and averaged 10.1 points per game. He entered his name in the NBA Draft but has withdrawn it, a UD spokesman confirmed, and will return to school.
Dwayne Cohill, 6-2, Jr., G: He averaged 2.6 points in 13.3 minutes per game. He stepped up his game in the final weeks. He did a great job picking his spots. In one six-game stretch, he made 12 of 13 shots from the field.
Jordy Tshimanga, 6-11, R-Sr., C: Tshimanga overcame early knee issues that delayed his debut until the Maui Invitational in November and then battled foul trouble in many games. Still, he played an important role off the bench, averaging 3.0 points in 9.8 minutes per game.
Chase Johnson, 6-9, R-Jr., F: The Florida transfer averaged 5.1 points and 2.8 rebounds in eight games, while shooting 79.2 percent (18 of 24) from the floor. He has appeared in 14 games in three seasons in college basketball. He withdrew from the university for medical reasons (post-concussive stress syndrome) in January, and UD announced his return Friday.
Moulaye Sissoko, 6-9, R-Fr., C: He’s listed as a newcomer here even though he’s been on the roster since last season. Dayton announced two days after the season opener in November he would redshirt this season. He did appear in Dayton’s exhibition game against Cedarville last season.
Zimife Nwokeji, 6-7, R-Fr., F: He committed to Dayton on Dec. 15 and enrolled in school in January. He’s a member of the class of 2019 who was spending a post-graduate year at the SPIRE Institute. He was able to practice with the team. That should give him a chance to contribute right away next season.
Lukas Frazier, 6-4, Fr., G: The first player from the 2020 class to commit to Dayton, Frazier is a senior at Lake Catholic High School in Mentor. He’s the 10th-ranked player in Ohio’s 2020 class, according to 247Sports.com.
Koby Brea, 6-6, Fr., G: He committed to Dayton in October. A senior at Monsignor Scanlan in Bronx, N.Y., Brea could redshirt as a freshman at UD because of his age. He won’t turn 18 until November 2020.
R.J. Blakney, 6-6, Fr., G: Like Nwokeji, Blakney should be ready to contribute right away because he’ll be a year removed from high school. He’s spending a post-graduate year at at the Loomis Chaffee School. He committed to Dayton in October.
Elijah Weaver, 6-6, Jr., G: He averaged 6.6 points, 1.8 assists and 2.3 reboudns in 31 games last season at USC.
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