Ryan Mikesell is sitting out this season, taking a medical redshirt year following surgery on both hips, but he's doing very little "sitting around."
“I’ve never had a guy work this hard, “ Dayton basketball strength and conditioning coach Casey Cathrall said.
RELATED: Mikesell trusting rehab process
ARCHDEACON: Mikesell on road to recovery
Cathrall and trainer Mike Mulchahey have been reining Mikesell in, instead of having to push him through rehab. Mikesell is at the point where he can fully participate in practice, and while he physically gets back into basketball shape, , he is also applying his mind to the game.
“The first game of the season, I pretty much embraced being a player coach,” he said. “During the games I am always talking to the guys about (the other team’s) personnel and defensive assignments.”
Mikesell is part of every film session and scouting report, but he has been able to learn even more while forced to be an observer during the games.
“I really understand now the importance of each possession,” he said. “You don’t realize that when you are playing. “
Mikesell said he is still not up to speed when it comes to knowing coach Anthony Grant’s offensive and defensive schemes inside and out.
“In practice, I’m on scout team, so I am running our opponents’ stuff,” Mikesell said. “In the summer is when I will be able to get back into running our plays.”
»RELATED: Breaking down A-10 at halfway point
Mikesell made quite a splash as a freshman, scoring a career-best 21 points vs. Southeast Missouri State in his first collegiate game. He appeared in 22 games, averaging 3.0 points. As a sophomore, he appeared in all 32 games, starting 24, but his hip issues limited his mobility. He was honest with his coaches, and told them he was having a hard time defending. Plus, it was affecting his shot.
“I was in pain, so I had a hard time loading up,” he said. “It’s all connected.”
He feels like his stroke is back, as he uses this year to get up extra shots.
“I want to get back to the way I shot the ball freshman year,” he said. “That will also open up the chance for me to drive and make passes.”
Not only is the hip pain gone, but Mikesell feels like he will no longer be a defensive liability.
“I am 100 times better in terms of moving,” he said. “I am more fluid and confident.”
With two years of eligibility remaining, a better functioning body and a young team that only loses one senior, Mikesell is optimistic about what lies ahead for the Flyers.
“I try to keep it in the present, though,” he said. “I can see some improvements when it comes to consistency.”
With a short bench this season, I am sure Grant, and even Flyer fans, have wondered “what if” Mikesell was available, but everyone will have to wait until next year for the new and improved version.