As of Tuesday afternoon, 945 Division I men’s basketball players had entered their name in the transfer portal. The majority already have picked new schools.
One of them left the Dayton Flyers: Jhery Matos, who transferred to Charlotte for his final season. One picked the Flyers: Elijah Weaver, who left the University of Southern California after two seasons.
“We’re excited to welcome Elijah to the Flyer Family,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said in a press release last week. “He is a very talented young man whose skill set is well-suited to our style of play. He adds size and experience in the backcourt along with the ability to make plays for himself and his teammates. His personality, leadership and competitive character will allow him to fit very well into the fabric of our team and the campus community at large.”
Grant’s comments about Weaver could also be used to describe numerous transfers in recent years. Dayton has lost players each of the last three years to the transfer portal but has benefited much more by transfers coming to Dayton, and that’s true for the last decade, too.
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Three transfers played big roles in Dayton’s record-breaking 29-2 season earlier this year. Transfers led Dayton in scoring every year during the four-year run of NCAA tournament appearances from 2014-17. Until Obi Toppin’s debut in the 2018-19 season, transfers had led Dayton in scoring seven straight seasons.
With Weaver, one of the highest-ranked recruits to transfer to Dayton, joining the roster, it’s a good time to look back at the transfers who preceded him. Here’s a ranking of the 10 transfers in the last 10 years who have had the biggest impact on the program:
1. Jordan Sibert: After scoring 123 points in limited minutes in two seasons at Ohio State, Sibert debuted for Dayton in the 2013-14 season and hit a last-second 3-pointer to beat Purdue Fort Wayne in his first game. He led Dayton in scoring in both his seasons and finished his career with 1,030 points. He also helped lead Dayton to five NCAA tournament victories.
2. Charles Cooke: Unlike Sibert, Cooke didn’t leave his previous program because of playing-time issues. He averaged 35.1 minutes as a sophomore at James Madison. Cooke transferred to Dayton a little more than two months after the Flyers played in the Elite Eight. When Sibert graduated in 2015, Cooke stepped into his role as the high-scoring transfer, tallying 957 points and leading two NCAA tournament teams in scoring.
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3. Josh Cunningham: Like Cooke, Cunningham moved to a higher level of college basketball by transferring from Bradley to Dayton. He’s one of the few transfers in recent years who played three seasons at Dayton, though he was limited to 11 games in his first season because of an injury. He averaged 13.2 points and 6.6 rebounds in three seasons.
4. Vee Sanford: Sanford fits into Sibert’s category in that he played limited minutes in his first two seasons, transferring from Georgetown to Dayton in May 2011. He was the first transfer signed by Archie Miller. In two seasons at Dayton, Sanford averaged 10.8 points, and of course, he made one of the biggest baskets in UD history: a bank shot in the final seconds to beat Ohio State in the first round of the 2014 NCAA tournament.
5. Kevin Dillard: After starting for two seasons at Southern Illinois, Dillard led Dayton in scoring in Miller’s first two seasons, totalling 913 points.
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6. Rodney Chatman: The Chattanooga transfer was one of three players to start all 31 games last season. Obi Toppin and Ryan Mikesell were the others. Trey Landers and Jalen Crutcher started all but one game. Chatman led Dayton in steals (1.3 per game) and ranked second in assists (3.2).
7. Ibi Watson: Watson, who played limited minutes in his first two seasons at Michigan, was Dayton’s fourth-leading scorer (10.1) and top reserve last season. Watson, Chatman and Crutcher, assuming he withdraws his name from the NBA Draft, will give Dayton one of the most experienced backcourts in the country next season.
8. Josh Parker: A Draker transfer, Parker played for Brian Gregory’s last team and Miller’s first, averaging 7.8 points over the two seasons.
9. Jordy Tshimanga: The third transfer — following Watson and Chatman — to join the program before Grant’s second season, Tshimanga averaged 9.8 minutes in 27 games last season. He should play a larger role next season as a fifth-year senior.
10. Matt Derenbecker: An LSU transfer who spent one season at Dayton before transferring to New Orleans, Derenbecker averaged 4.5 points in the 2012-13 season.
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