The Dayton Flyers play every two seasons in the vicinity of the Basketball Hall of Fame. It’s located in Springfield, Mass., 22 miles from the UMass campus in Amherst.
However, those are business trips, focused on the games versus the Minutemen. Dayton doesn’t often, if ever, get to visit the hall of fame. That made the team’s visit Saturday extra special. The Flyers toured the hall a day before their 72-67 loss to Tulsa in the Basketball Hall of Fame Holiday Showcase at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Dayton players took turns dunking on the hoops representing all the different periods of the game. Forward Obi Toppin didn’t go all out on the peach basket, which wouldn’t have survived his typical dunks.
Forward Josh Cunningham gave a shout-out on Twitter to South Carolina coach Dawn Staley, posting a photo of her hall of fame plaque.
Staley was a two-time Naismith Player of the Year and a six-time WNBA All-Star. She also coached Cunningham’s girlfriend, A’Ja Wilson, in college.
Staley saw Cunningham’s photo and replied, “They have a hoop there … Work on your free throws!! I’m looking out for you.”
Cunningham wrote, “I’m on the court now,” and shared a photo of him shooting a free throw.
In the first nine games of the season, Cunningham made 19 of 35 free throws (54.3 percent). He made his only attempt Sunday against Tulsa.
Recruiting news: Sean McNeil, a 6-foot-4 freshman guard at Sinclair Community College, received a scholarship offer from Dayton.
McNeil, who was on Dayton’s campus Thursday, announced the offer later in the day on Twitter. He sat behind the Dayton bench Nov. 30 during a game against Mississippi State at UD Arena.
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McNeil leads the nation in scoring at the junior-college level. He has averaged 34.8 points per game through 10 games while shooting 48.1 percent from the field and 45.1 percent from 3-point range. He scored a school-record 55 points Nov. 17 against Bryant and Stratton.
McNeil also announced an offer from Toledo on Thursday. He previously received offers from UNC Asheville and Lipscomb.
A number of other programs have stopped at Sinclair to see McNeil, according to the Twitter account of Sinclair coach Jeff Price. West Virginia coach Bob Huggins was one of them. Texas Tech and James Madison also visited.
Season debut: Former Dayton forward Sam Miller played his first college basketball game in 21 months Saturday, seeing five minutes of action for the College of Charleston in an 83-79 victory against Virginia Commonwealth in Richmond, Va.
Miller had one steal and a turnover in his brief time on the court. This was his first appearance in a game since March 17, 2017, when he had three points and a rebound in 10 minutes in Dayton’s 64-58 loss to Wichita State in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Week ahead: Dayton plays Western Michigan (5-5) at 7 p.m. Wednesday and Presbyterian (6-5) at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Western Michigan ranks 236th in the NET (NCAA Evaluation Tool). Presbyterian ranks 221st.
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