Dayton’s Holmes, Brea earn top honors in A-10 awards

Camara, Smith also among players honored

Dayton Flyers freshman forward DaRon Holmes II earned four honors Tuesday in the annual Atlantic 10 Conference awards.

Holmes was named the A-10 Rookie of the Year. He also made the A-10 second team and the all-rookie and all-defensive teams. He’s the second player in Dayton history to win the rookie award and the first to win it as a true freshman. Obi Toppin won the award in 2019 as a redshirt freshman.

“It means a lot,” Holmes said before practice Tuesday at the Cronin Center on campus. “A lot of hard work and dedication went into that. Great teammates, great coaching staff, great atmosphere here, all that contributed to this award. I’m really thankful.”

Holmes led Dayton with 11.9 points per game in the regular season. He’s the first true freshman to do that. He also set a single-season school record with 71 blocks. He was the only freshman to be named to the A-10 first, second or third team and the only freshman on the all-defensive team.

“He’s gotten better with every game and with every experience that he’s gone through,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said. “He’s played against a lot of different, really talented guys over the course of the season. I think he’s got a tremendous upside, and hopefully will continue to grow and get better.”

Dayton (22-9) tied for second in the A-10 and earned the No. 2 seed in the A-10 tournament, which starts Wednesday at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. The Flyers will play in the quarterfinals at 6 p.m. Friday against. No. 7 George Washington or No. 10 Massachusetts.

Dayton claimed one of the other major individual awards. Second-year guard Koby Brea was named the Sixth Man of the Year. He’s the third Flyer to win the honor, following Kyle Davis (2017) and Charles Little (2007).

“I give all the glory to God,” Brea said, “and I thank my teammates, my coaches, my family because without them it’s not possible. It’s a great honor for me just because of how the season started for me.”

Brea averaged 14.0 points in the last six games. Overall, Brea has averaged 8.0 points in 20.1 minutes per game. In A-10 games, he was the best 3-point shooter in the conference (38 of 79, 48.7%). He started the first two games but has come off the bench the last 29.

“The decision they made was all for the better of the team,” Brea said, “and I know they felt it was the best decision for the team. I was cool with it. I just started to embrace my new role, and as the season kept going, I feel like I found out how to still be effective. I wasn’t salty about it. I do feel like the starting five we have now has been effective for a long time.”

Third-year forward Toumani Camara, who ranks second on the team in scoring (10.8) and first in rebounding (6.6), made the A-10 third team.

“Individual accolades don’t matter to me,” Camara said. “I’m just glad for DaRon and Mali and everybody. I’m glad we’re winning. To have that many guys receive awards, it’s huge for us, for sure.”

Freshman point guard Malachi Smith, who led Dayton with 5.4 assists per game, joined Holmes on the all-rookie team. It’s the first time Dayton has had two players on the all-rookie team.

“I didn’t think I would have this type of season,” Smith said, “just because I only had a week after my injuries (in the preseason) to come back, and just figuring it out, I didn’t know what to expect. We had a lot of highs and lows. The highs are so fun. The lows are just bad. Knowing that we have a chance to win the A-10 tournament and I’m on the all-rookie team, it feels good.

2022 Atlantic 10 Awards

Player of the Year: Luka Brajkovic, Davidson.

Defensive Player of the Year: Osun Osunniyi, St. Bonaventure.

Rookie of the Year: DaRon Holmes II, Dayton.

Chris Daniels Most Improved Player: Chuba Ohams, Fordham.

Sixth Man of the Year: Koby Brea, Dayton.

Coach of the Year: Bob McKillop, Davidson

All-Conference First Team: Luka Brajkovic, Davidson; Hyunjung Lee, Davidson; Josh Oduro, George Mason; Jalen Adaway, St. Bonaventure; Yuri Collins, Saint Louis; and Vince Williams, VCU.

All-Conference Second Team: Foster Loyer, Davidson; DaRon Holmes II, Dayton; Chuba Ohams, Fordham; Tyler Burton, Richmond; Osun Osunniyi, St. Bonaventure; and Ace Baldwin, VCU.

All-Conference Third Team: Toumani Camara, Dayton; Joe Bamisile, George Washington; James Bishop, George Washington; Jacob Gilyard, Richmond; Kyle Lofton, St. Bonaventure; and Gibson Jimerson, Saint Louis.

All-Academic Team: D’Shawn Schwartz, George Mason; Christian Ray, La Salle; Jaren Holmes, St. Bonaventure; Fred Thatch, Jr., Saint Louis; and Gibson Jimerson, Saint Louis.

All-Defensive Team: DaRon Holmes II, Dayton; Chuba Ohams, Fordham; Jacob Gilyard, Richmond; Osun Osunniyi, St. Bonaventure; and Yuri Collins, Saint Louis.

All-Rookie Team: DaRon Holmes II, Dayton; Malachi Smith, Dayton; Brayon Freeman, George Washington; Erik Reynolds II, Saint Joseph’s; and Jayden Nunn, VCU

Dayton’s history in A-10 awards

Player of the year: Obi Toppin (2020).

Rookie of the year: DaRon Holmes II (2022); Obi Toppin (2019).

Most improved player (Chris Daniels Award): Kendall Pollard (2015); Chris Johnson (2010); and Coby Turner (1998).

Sixth man of the year: Koby Brea (2022); Kyle Davis (2017); and Charles Little (2007).

Coach of the year: Anthony Grant (2020); Archie Miller (2017); and Oliver Purnell (1998).

First team: Jalen Crutcher (2021, 2020); Obi Toppin (2020, 2019); Scoochie Smith (2017); Charles Cooke (2016); Jordan Sibert (2015); Chris Wright (2010); Brian Roberts (2008); Keith Waleskowski (2004); Mark Ashman (2000); and Ryan Perryman (1998).

Second team: DaRon Holmes II (2022); Charles Cooke (2017); Dyshawn Pierre (2015); Kevin Dillard (2013, 2012); Chris Wright (2009); Brian Roberts (2007, 2006); Ramod Marshall (2004); Keith Waleskowski (2003); Brooks Hall (2003); Tony Stanley (2001, 2000); and Ryan Perryman (1997).

Third team: Toumani Camara (2022); Ibi Watson (2021); Trey Landers (2020); Jalen Crutcher (2019); Josh Cunningham (2019, 2018); Kendall Pollard (2017); Devin Oliver (2014); Chris Wright (2011); Monty Scott (2005); Ramod Marshall (2003); Brooks Hall (2002); Mark Ashman (1999); and Ryan Perryman (1996).

Honorable mention: Chris Johnson (2012, 2011); and Marcus Johnson (2009, 2008).

All-rookie team: DaRon Holmes II (2022); Malachi Smith (2022); Mustapha Amzil (2021); Obi Toppin (2019); Jalen Crutcher (2018); Juwan Staten (2011); Chris Johnson (2009); Chris Wright (2008); Brian Roberts (2005); Keith Waleskowski (2001); Brooks Hall (2000); and Tony Stanley (1998).

All-defensive team: DaRon Holmes II (2022); Charles Cooke (2017, 2016); Kyle Davis (2017); London Warren (2011, 2009); and Tony Stanley (2001).

All-academic team: Jordy Tshimanga (2021); Ryan Mikesell (2020); Kurt Huelsman (2010); Brian Roberts (2006); Ted Fitz (2000); and Maurice Beyina (1996).

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