Dayton’s Xeyrius Williams celebrates his go-ahead 3 with 10 seconds left. David Jablonski/Staff
Photo: Staff Writer
Photo: Staff Writer

Dayton Flyers: A look at 2017-18 roster

Signing of Svoboda leaves UD with three open scholarships

Fans hoping for a quiet offseason, something they haven’t enjoyed in years, didn’t have to wait long to see their dreams dashed. Indiana hired Archie Miller on March 25, ending Miller’s six-year run at Dayton. Five days later, Dayton found its new coach, 1987 UD grad Anthony Grant. On April 1, UD introduced Grant in a press conference at UD Arena.

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In the last month, Grant has worked on getting to know his new team and building a team for the future. Two recruits, McKinley Wright and Nahziah Carter, were released from their national letters of intent. Wright signed with Colorado. One player, sophomore point guard John Crosby, announced he’s transferring, leaving the team without a point guard for the moment. Three members of the 2017 recruiting class are sticking with Dayton.

Here’s a quick glance at Dayton’s 2017-18 roster as it stands now. Dayton has three scholarships open.

Potential starters

Darrell Davis, 6-5, Sr., G: Davis made tremendous strides as a defender this season. He also regained his outside shooting touch. He shot 29.1 percent from 3-point range as a sophomore and 38.5 percent as a junior. He struggled to finish shots at the rim, however, shooting 23.8 percent from 2-point range.

Josh Cunningham, 6-7, R-Jr., F: Cunningham spent most of the season working hard to get back on the court after tearing a ligament in his ankle in the second game. He wasn’t the same player when he returned as he was at the start, but without him, the Flyers likely would have fallen short of winning their first Atlantic 10 outright championship. With a full offseason of work, he should develop into a solid starter.

Xeyrius Williams, 6-8, Jr., F: The Wayne grad was Dayton’s most improved player and one of most improved players in the A-10. His scoring average jumped from 2.0 to 8.2. He shot 41.5 percent from 3-point range.

Ryan Mikesell, 6-7, Jr., F: The St. Henry grad played a much bigger role as a sophomore. His minutes climbed from 8.0 to 20.8 per game. He needs to improve on the defensive end and should do so with another offseason of strength training. He showed a knack for being in the right place on offense. He shot 53.5 percent from 2-point range.

Kostas Antetokounmpo, 6-10, R-Fr., F: Antetokounmpo’s debut will be one of the most anticipated in recent UD history. He sat out last season as a NCAA partial qualifier. Former assistant coach Tom Ostrom said he made major strides after starting to practice with the team in the second semester.

Other returners

Sam Miller, 6-9, Jr., F: Miller saw his minutes decline when Cunningham returned to action. He rarely saw action down the stretch unless Cunningham or Pollard got into foul trouble. To develop into an effective player, he’ll have to continue to transform his body so he can become a better rebounder and defender. Miller broke his ankle on the same day Grant was introduced as head coach, so he’ll have to focus on getting healthy before he can get back on the court.

Trey Landers, 6-4, So., G: The Wayne grad never got a chance to show what he can do as a freshman. He saw brief action in nine games, none after Feb. 14. He has the physical tools to contribute. He’s recovering from sports hernia surgery but should get a chance to play as a sophomore.

Newcomers

Jordan Davis, 6-4, Fr., G: The first player in the class of 2017 to commit to the Flyers, Davis was the Class 5A Player of the Year in South Carolina. He averaged 19 points and six rebounds for Dutch Fork High School in Irmo, S.C. He was also the first player to announce he was sticking with Dayton after the hiring of Grant.

Jordan Pierce, 7-0, Fr., C: The center from Union Catholic High School in Scotch Plains, N.J., will bring size to a team that lacked it last season. He averaged 11.2 points in 23 games. Grant announced Monday Pierce told him he was staying with Dayton. Pierce confirmed the same on Tuesday but said he has not announced anything publicly.

Matej Svoboda, 6-7, Fr, F: UD announced the signing of the Czech Republic native on Monday. He was originally recruited by former UD assistant coach Tom Ostrom. He’ll be the ninth foreign-born player to play at UD, the fourth from Europe and the first from the Czech Republic. Svoboda averaged 19.0 points at the FIBA U-20 European Championships in Helsinki, Finland.

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