Five questions with Dayton coach Anthony Grant

Flyers coach expects season opener to be emotional moment

Anthony Grant feels like a Daytonian now after seven months on the job as Dayton Flyers coach. That doesn’t mean he’s about to start filing Yelp reviews on local restaurants. Home is still where he finds his best meal.

Asked Tuesday at Atlantic 10 Media Day in Washington, D.C., about how he is enjoying Dayton and if he has any favorite dining spots, Grant said, "My wife's kitchen."

Grant, his wife Christina and their three youngest children have made themselves at home in the Gem City. Grant renewed his knowledge of his old stamping ground — he’s a 1987 UD graduate — not long after being hired March 30.

“In the process of finding a home, I drove almost every inch of the city,” Grant said.

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Most of Grant’s work has taken place outside the public eye, but he will soon take the court for the first time as Dayton’s coach. Here are five questions about the upcoming season Grant answered Tuesday:

Q: Will it be an emotional moment for you at that first game Nov. 10 against Ball State?

A: I haven't thought about it a whole lot. We're worried about today and trying to get through every day of practice and get better. That's been my focus. But I'm sure there will be a lot of emotions coming out of the tunnel again for the first time as a head coach. Those memories will flood your mind a little bit. I'm excited about it.

Q: You will coach twice against your former team, Virginia Commonwealth. What will that be like?

A: I've done it before. We were there at Alabama. That atmosphere and crowd, it's really good. (Coach) Mike (Rhoades) will do a great job there. He's familiar with that team and that area. He was at Randolph-Macon when I was (at VCU), so I've known Mike for a long time. He does a great job. I don't know a whole lot about their complete roster as of yet, but I know what the program's about. I think that will be a great rivalry for us.

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Q: What kind of rotation will the team have when the season begins?

A: We need all hands on deck. We've got 10 scholarship guys who will be available. That always plays itself out during the course of the season. We'll have to mix and match. I think we've got some versatility with guys who can play multiple positions. We'll try to take advantage of that as well and find a combination of guys — whether it's a starting unit or different combinations we'll play over the course of the game — that we feel gives us the best chance to be the best version of ourselves over the 40-minute game.

Q: What will junior forward Xeyrius Williams' role be?

A: I know he's been a guy at 6-8 who's got a strength with his ability to shoot the basketball. That was evident last year. We're going to try to take advantage of that. But I also think he's got the versatility both offensively and defensively to play multiple positions. I know he's played some four or five in the past. This year, we may even play him a little bit more on the perimeter. As we get our whole unit back, you try to get the combination that gives you the best opportunities at different points in the game. So we could see a lineup of him playing on the perimeter at the 3. Right now, two weeks in, with the limitations that we have with our numbers, it's hard to pinpoint what we'll be looking at.

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Q: What are your hopes for this team after seeing it picked fifth in the preseason poll?

A: Our expectation is to compete for championships. We realize the team we had last year will be different than the team we'll have this year. We had four seniors who graduated as the winningest class in school history: back-to-back A-10 championships; four straight NCAA Tournaments. The opportunity presents itself for our new guys and the guys who are returning in different roles. I look at it as an opportunity. The thing I told the guys when I took over was they came to Dayton because they believed in the university and believed in the opportunity to compete for championships. Let's continue to work toward that in terms of the expectations for our program.

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