R.J. Blakney became the second Dayton Flyers player in as many days to enter the transfer portal.
One day after third-year forward Mustapha Amzil announced his decision to leave UD, the third-year guard Blakney put his name in the portal, announcing his decision on Instagram.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity I’ve had at the University of Dayton for my three years and the valuable lessons I’ve learned from all of the coaches, Blakney wrote. “Grateful that I got to battle with great teammates and even better people. With that being said, I decided to enter my name in the transfer portal!! Dayton is a special place that I’ll remember. #Jeremiah2911.”
Blakney, a 6-foot-6 guard/forward from Baltimore Md., and Amzil, a 6-10 forward from Finland, both joined the Dayton roster in the 2020-21 season. Blakney was a member of the freshman recruiting class, which included Koby Brea and Luke Frazier, that arrived on campus in the summer. Amzil joined the program in December.
Blakney appeared in 82 games and started 58 in three seasons. He started all 35 games in the 2021-22 season. He started 20 games this past season, averaging 6.5 points and 2.1 rebounds.
During Dayton’s seven-game winning streak in December and January, Blakney averaged more than 30 minutes per game and scored in double figures four times. Then he missed four games in a seven-game stretch.
After Dayton’s 65-49 victory at Loyola Chicago on Feb. 17, coach Anthony Grant said after the game Blakney is “going through some personal stuff, but he should be fine.” Asked if Blakney was injured, Grant said, “It’s a combination of things.”
From that point forward, Blakney did not play more than 20 minutes a game until the final game of the season in the A-10 championship game when he saw 27 minutes.
In the A-10 quarterfinals, he played only four minutes as walk-on Brady Uhl earned playing time ahead of him. Asked about Blakney’s situation after that game, Grant said only, “I’m the coach, so I’m going to make those decisions.”
Blakney had missed nine straight 3-pointers in his last eight appearances before making one in the A-10 semifinals against Fordham. Blakney delivered his best performance in weeks with seven points in 14 minutes in that game.
”He did a heck of a job,” Grant said. “You asked me yesterday about his limited minutes. What we’re trying to do every game is put the guys on the floor we feel give us the best chance to win. And I think it’s a testament to R.J. with limited minutes the other day, he was able to come out today and make a big contribution to the group. So I think it just shows the character of the group that we have and the focus. This team has been through a lot over the course of the year. And they’ve shown resiliency. So I’m really proud of R.J. today because he gave us a big lift on both sides of the ball today.”
Blakney committed to Dayton in October 2019. He was originally in the 2019 recruiting class but decided to attend prep school after graduating from St. Maria Goretti Catholic High School in Hagerstown, Md. He attended the Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, Conn., for his post-graduate season.
St. Bonaventure, St. Joseph’s, Nebraska, Towson, Hofstra, George Mason and Iona were among the other schools to offer Blakney a scholarship.
Blakney scored 490 points in three seasons. He averaged 4.8 points in 13.9 minutes per game as a freshman. He averaged 6.5 points in 22.3 minutes as a sophomore. This past season, he averaged 6.1 points in 23.8 minutes per game.
Blakney saw his 3-point shooting percentage fall from 36.0 as a freshman to 35.0 as a sophomore and 24.2% as a junior. He missed all four of his 3-point attempts in a 68-56 loss to Virginia Commonwealth in the A-10 championship game on March 12.
With the departure of Amzil and Blakney, Dayton will have at least four scholarships to work with this spring and probably more depending on the decisions of other players.
Blakney is the 12th player recruited and signed by Dayton coach Anthony Grant and his staff to enter the transfer portal. Here’s the list of those players, the dates they entered the portal and where they ended up:
• Frankie Policelli, April 10, 2018 (Stony Brook).
• Jhery Matos, March 30, 2018 (Charlotte).
• Luke Frazier, March 22, 2021 (Ohio/John Carroll)
• Dwayne Cohill, April 16, 2021 (Youngstown State)
• Rodney Chatman, March 23, 2021 (Vanderbilt).
• Lynn Greer III, Dec. 27, 2021 (Saint Joseph’s).
• Moulaye Sissoko, March 23, 2022 (North Texas)
•. Elijah Weaver, March 29, 2022 (Chicago State).
• Tyrone Baker, Dec. 19, 2022 (Florida SouthWestern State College).
• Kaleb Washington, Dec. 20, 2022 (has yet to commit to new school).
• Mustapha Amzil, March 21, 2023 (has yet to commit to new school).
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