Flyers back on court for summer workouts with three newcomers on campus

Anthony Grant gives his first offseason interview

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

More than 60 former players — everyone from Don Donoher to Anthony Grant — have signed the alumni board in the hallway that leads to the Dayton Flyers coaches offices at the Cronin Center. Guard Gene Klaus, the fifth-leading scorer on the 1967 national runner-up team, provided the most recent autograph last week.

There’s plenty of room for more autographs on the board, but there’s also many more former Flyers out there these days. The transfer portal has reshaped rosters, creating more player movement and thus more alumni.

Three new Flyers (Zed Key, Jacob Conner and Posh Alexander) are now on campus, participating in offseason workouts that started Monday, and the latest addition (Hamad Mousa) is expected to arrive later this month.

Grant, who’s entering his eighth season as head coach, talked about the new recruits and much more with the Dayton Daily News in his first offseason interview Thursday in his office.

“We’re excited about the group we’ve got,” Grant said.

Since the season ended on March 23 with a 78-68 loss to Arizona in the second round of the NCAA tournament, Dayton has:

• Lost four players to the transfer portal: Koby Brea (Kentucky); Kobe Elvis (Oklahoma); Zimi Nwokeji (Jacksonville); and Petras Padegimas (Mercer).

• Added three transfers: Key (Ohio State); Alexander (Butler); and Conner (Marshall).

• Landed one freshman from the 2024 recruiting class: Mousa, of Qatar.

• Seen one player depart for the NBA: DaRon Holmes II.

Grant and his assistants had to navigate a spring unlike any other with Dayton 6th, the name, image and likeness collective supporting UD athletes, playing a bigger role than ever in the recruiting process, and more changes are on the horizon with the move to paying athletes directly coming in 2025.

“It’s a new era,” Grant said. “We’re putting the team together now, and there’s a commitment that we’re asking for the next 10 months. We’re going to try to accomplish something really good together. Let’s commit to 10 months, and then let’s figure out what’s the best thing for you. What’s the best thing for us? What’s the best thing moving forward? And it doesn’t have to be a contentious thing. Let’s just figure out what’s best. What you feel is best for you I may not like, but I have to respect the fact that it’s the best thing for you. Let’s move forward, and figure it out. Whatever decision you make, you’ve got to go make that work. Then we have to figure out, ‘OK, how do we move forward based on your decision.’”

Dayton coaches still have one open scholarship they could fill this summer. The group on campus now includes some players who are recovering from injuries.

• Forward Nate Santos, the leading returning scorer, likely won’t be available this summer, Grant said. The coach rarely gets into specifics of injuries and said Santos had a lower-body injury. He’s expected to make a full recovery, Grant said, and be ready to go for the 2024-25 season.

• Forward Jaiun Simon, who redshirted last season as a freshman, is expected to return to practice in a week or two, Grant said. He underwent ankle surgery in March.

• Malachi Smith, who missed all of last season after injuring his knee in the season opener, is participating in workouts, though Dayton is not yet doing full-contact, 5-on-5 drills. That will come later this summer.

“We get eight hours (every week), so really four hours of basketball stuff,” Grant said. “We started that Monday. So we’ll do eight weeks. And the first part of this is really just getting them back in the gym, just working on skills, and then we’ll start to do team stuff later. Once July hits, we’ll probably start to do more things.”

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