What writers and fans who have also made predictions online see when they look at Dayton’s roster is a group lacking second-round NBA Draft pick Kostas Antetokounmpo and four other players who left the roster. Dayton returns four starters but also has five players who didn’t play last season, and four of those — Mikesell being the exception — have never played Division I college basketball.
“I think they’re going to look at the roster and say there’s a lot of new faces,” Mikesell said, “but ultimately our chemistry, the way our team has come together throughout the summer and throughout the preseason is really going to help us out come the season. I think we’re going to be a real close-knit group. We’re really going to play for each other.”
» OFFSEASON STORIES: Players have bonded fast | Summer workouts | Impressions of newcomers | Updated roster
Dayton was the preseason favorite two years in a row in the final years of the Archie Miller era. It slipped to 14-17 last season under Anthony Grant and placed ninth in the A-10 with an 8-10 conference mark.
“We’ve got to come out and perform every night,” redshirt senior forward Josh Cunningham said. “It really depends on us and how we perform. They’re probably going off of what they saw last season. This season is a totally different season. We’ve got totally different players. We’ve got people who can play this season. Ryan’s able to play this season. We’ve got Obadiah Toppin. The team we have is going to be great.
“It’s always fun being an underdog because we can surprise people. They’ll think, ‘We’re going to play Dayton and it should be easy,’ but it’s never going to be easy when you play us.”