Gruden chose to walk on at Dayton and earned his degree Saturday. Mikesell, a junior forward from St. Henry, finds himself sitting next to Gruden and the three other walk-ons — Jack Westerfield, Dalton Stewart and Camron Greer — on the bench this year as he sits out this season with a medical redshirt.
“I feel really good,” Mikesell said. “Some days are better than others. I’m starting to implement myself back into practice in terms of getting up and down (the court) and taking some contact. If I do a lot on one day, I might be sore waking up, or I might be fine the next day. I’m trusting the doctors, trusting Mike (Mulcahey), our trainer, and just doing what I’m told to do.”
The Flyers (5-6), who play Wagner at 3 p.m. Saturday at UD Arena, could use Mikesell this season. They have 10 scholarship players. One of them, freshman center Jordan Pierce, has played a total of four minutes in two games. When Mikesell’s injury was first diagnosed, coach Anthony Grant left open the possibility of him returning this season. Then Dayton announced in late June he would redshirt.
Mikesell still gets questions from fans about his status.
“People all the time ask if I’m going to come back this year,” Mikesell said. “My two hip surgeries, it’s a major thing. I’m definitely not going to rush back this year. I’m just going to take my time with the trainers and make sure I’m back 100 percent next year. It stinks, but it is what it is. I’ve just got to trust the process.”
The hope is Mikesell comes back stronger and healthier than ever for his final two seasons of eligibility.
“I have a new ranges of motion I’ve never had in my hips,” Mikesell said. “I’m still reteaching myself different movements I’ve never had, which is going to take a long time. Then I’ve got to build my muscles back up so I can handle college basketball. It’s a lot different than high school. It’s way more physical. I’ve go to withstand banging with the guys and running up and down the court for 40 minutes.”
Wagner at Dayton, 3 p.m., NBC Sports Network, FM 95.7, AM 1290 WHIO