Members of the Dayton Flyers men’s basketball team could return to campus in early July, coach Anthony Grant said Tuesday.
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Grant provided an update on his program on Seth Greenberg’s YouTube show, “Pickup Game.” Grant, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo and N.C. State coach Kevin Keatts all talked to Greenberg, an ESPN analyst, at the same time.
“Our plan is to bring them back within the next couple weeks, probably after the July 4 weekend,” Grant said. “That structure and the ability to work with our medical staff, the ability to be together and start building some type of cohesiveness within the team, I think we’re all looking forward to that.”
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Dayton held a team meeting on Zoom in recent days, and assistant coach Anthony Solomon shared a photo of everyone communicating through the video application.
Among the players participating in the call were incoming freshmen Lukas Frazier, Koby Brea, R.J. Blakney and USC transfer Elijah Weaver. Chase Johnson, who medically withdrew from the university in January, was also on the call, though a UD spokesman said there was no update yet on whether Johnson will return to the team.
Grant told Greenberg most of his players remain at their homes and have had different opportunities for playing depending on where they’re living.
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Jalen Crutcher, who entered his name in the NBA Draft in March and has not announced yet whether he will return to UD, shared video earlier this month of him playing with NBA star Ja Morant in Memphis. Crutcher also participated in the Zoom meeting with the rest of the Flyers.
Grant and the Flyers last gathered in person after the NCAA tournament and Atlantic 10 tournament were cancelled within hours of each other on March 12. That ended a historic Dayton season that saw the team finish 29-2 and climb to No. 3 in the Associated Press poll.
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“We’ve all been away from our guys for so long,” Grant said, “that just getting them back and having some type of structure and normalcy and flow will benefit everybody.”
However, Grant cautioned the country is still in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic and keeping everybody safe will be a priority. He’s seen the reports of athletes from other schools testing positive for COVID-19 because they went to a restaurant or a club off campus and knows it will be important for everyone to pay attention to what the medical experts are saying.
In the meantime, Grant knows the fate of the college basketball season may depend on how the college football season goes.
“Football, right now, is at the forefront of it,” he said. “How they handle it will have a ripple effect on what we’re able to do and when we’re able to do it in terms of our season starting on time and us being able to progress and do the things we’re all hoping we’re able to do.”
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