A video posted to the Dayton Flyers men’s basketball Facebook page on Tuesday showed the team in action at the Cronin Center.
In the opening shot of the behind-the-scenes glimpse at the team, the players gather around coach Anthony Grant, who tells them, “We’ve got to get to where we understand it. We’ve got to get to where we buy into it.”
Ever since he arrived at Dayton on April 1, 2017, Grant has preached about the importance of building a culture. More than half of the players on Grant’s second team were recruited by him and his assistants, so the 2018-19 Flyers will be more of a Grant team than an Archie Miller team. The opposite was true last season. In short, it should be easier for Grant to get the entire roster to buy into his philosophies.
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To rebound from a 14-17 season, Dayton will have to lean heavily on three players who arrived on campus in June: 6-foot-2 freshman guard Dwayne Cohill, 6-7 freshman forward Frankie Policelli and 6-6 junior guard Jhery Matos. There are nine scholarship players who can play this season, so all three will get their chance to make a big impact.
Three of Dayton’s veteran players — redshirt senior forward Josh Cunninghman, junior guard Trey Landers and redshirt junior forward Ryan Mikesell — provided their first impressions of the newcomers in interviews Wednesday at UD.
Cunningham on Cohill: “I think he’s really good. He can score the ball. He can defend. He’s very smart. He has a high basketball IQ. There are a few things he has to work on as a freshman, but of course, that’s what we expect. He’ll be ready for the season.”
Mikesell on Cohill: “What I like about him is he came in the first day of practice and he wasn’t timid. He was making mistakes like all freshmen do, but he was making them kind of at full speed. That’s what I like to see out of new guys.”
Landers on Cohill: “He’s really vocal. That’s the thing that really stood out with me. He gets upset when he makes mistakes. I’m like, ‘Look, you’re a freshman. It’s going to happen. We’re riding with you. You’ll be fun. Just make sure to learn from what you’re doing.”
Mikesell on Policelli: “He kind of has this smoothness about him. He’s a 6-8 stretch four who can really shoot the ball, a lefty. Obviously, he’ll have to put on weight like all freshmen do. I think he has a chance to be really good once he catches up with the speed of the game.”
Landers on Policelli: “Frankie’s going to be good. He’s the definition of a stretch four. He can really shoot the ball. Coach Grant has been telling him he has to understand the defense we’re doing. It’s different for everybody. It’s like a new language.”
Cunningham on Matos: “He’s an older guy. He has the experience. He knows what to do. You don’t have to coach him up as much.”
Landers on Matos: “You can tell Jhery is much more mature. He’s very calm. He doesn’t get tense and uptight. He’s a much more relaxed player. He knows how to play the game a little bit more. You can just tell in certain situations he’s just more advanced. I feel he’s going to help us a lot, just as far as flying around defensively, offensively, getting out and running in transition.”