Grant may be in a better position than any of his predecessors to build a program capable of staying nationally relevant year after year because he’s more likely to stick around for the long haul. The recent success on the recruiting trail should also provide some stability. His fourth team has some question marks, but that has been true of each team in the Grant era. Here’s how the four teams compare:
Top plays from final minute and overtimes as Flyers win 89-86 on Jan. 19, 2019, in Olean, N.Y.
2017-18: The Flyers returned four players who received significant playing time the previous season on a senior-dominated team: redshirt junior Josh Cunningham; senior Darrell Davis; and juniors John Crosby and Xeyrius Williams. They had one sophomore with little experience: Trey Landers.
They had four true freshman who were eligible to play and one redshirt freshman (Kostas Antetokounmpo) who sat out the previous season. They had two players who couldn’t play: the injured Ryan Mikesell and the academic redshirt Toppin. Dayton used 12 of its 13 scholarships that season.
2018-19: The Flyers returned five players with significant experience. They added two newcomers to the mix in Toppin and junior college transfer Jhery Matos. They also had two freshmen: Dwayne Cohill and Frankie Policelli. Four of the 13 roster spots were taken by transfers who sat out the season: Ibi Watson; Rodney Chatman; Jordy Tshimanga; and Chase Johnson.
2019-20: The Flyers again returned five players who received major minutes the previous season — six if you count Matos, who played a big role before suffering a season-ending injury in the sixth game a year earlier. Two of the four transfers, Chatman and Tshimanga, had extensive experience at their previous schools.
Dayton added one freshman, Moulaye Sissoko, but decided to redshirt him. Dayton used 12 of its 13 roster spots, filling one of them in December when another freshman, Zimi Nwokeji, joined the roster.
2020-21: Dayton again returns five players who played major roles the previous season: Crutcher; Watson; Chatman; Tshimanga; and Johnson, who appeared in only eight games. The number would have been six, but Cohill will miss the season after suffering an ACL tear in the fall.
Dayton has two redshirt freshmen who will debut: Sissoko and Nwokeji. It has three true freshmen: Koby Brea; Lukas Frazier; and R.J. Blakney. A fourth, Mustafa Amzil, will join the mix in December or January. He became Dayton’s 13th scholarship player.
Dayton also has one transfer, Elijah Weaver, who could end up playing if Dayton requests and receives a waiver from the NCAA.
Dayton forward makes 10 of 13 shots against Western Michigan
2017-18: Cunningham was named the team MVP after the season. He led the team with 15.6 points and 8.4 rebounds per game.
2018-19: Crutcher beat out Toppin for the award. Crutcher averaged 13.2 points and 5.7 assists.
2019-20: Toppin and Crutcher shared the award, combining to average 35.1 points.
2020-21: Crutcher likely will compete for his third MVP award with the two other returning guards: Chatman and Watson.
Dayton vs. Davidson: Highlights from last four minutes
2017-18: Dayton was picked to finish fifth in the Atlantic 10 Conference preseason poll and finished ninth. It ranked 103rd in the Ken Pomeroy ratings at the beginning of the season and ended at 172nd.
2018-19: Dayton was picked to finish sixth in the A-10 and placed third. It climbed from 99th to 62nd on KenPom.com.
2019-20: Dayton was picked to finish third n the A-10 and placed first. It climbed from 55th to No. 4 on KenPom.com.
2020-21: Dayton was again picked third in the A-10. Pomeroy ranked Dayton 49th in his preseason ratings.