Holmes hopes to become 40th Dayton player drafted since 1952

Flyers have seen three players drafted in last six years

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

No Dayton Flyers player has ever sat in the green room during the first round of the NBA Draft, waiting to hear his name called.

That will be the experience DaRon Holmes II has Wednesday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. He received an invitation to the draft on Wednesday. That’s a clear indication the NBA expects him to be a first-round pick.

Dayton has sent 25 players, including six who were undrafted in the last two decades (most recently Jalen Crutcher in February), to the NBA. It has seen 39 players drafted since 1952. However, none of those players experienced the glitzy, star-studded, made-for-television show until last year when Toumani Camara attended the draft and heard his name called in the second round.

Obi Toppin, who was drafted eighth overall by the New York Knicks after three years at UD and two seasons on the court, didn’t experience the typical draft because of the coronavirus pandemic. He watched the draft with family and friends, including former Dayton teammate Jalen Crutcher and coaches Anthony Grant and Ricardo Greer, on TV like everyone else in 2020.

Toppin was the second UD player drafted in a three-year span, following Kostas Antetokounmpo in 2018. Camara became the third UD player drafted since Grant became head coach in 2017. The Phoenix Suns selected him in the second round with the 52nd overall pick.

As some of the stories below show, the Dayton players who have been high picks did not get to experience the draft in person or throw on the hat of their new team for the TV cameras. Here’s a look back at the former Flyers who have been drafted:

2023: Camara (second round, No. 52 pick, Phoenix Suns)

Camara attended the draft at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., and was shown on the ESPN broadcast hugging his mom, Anne Le Docte, and brother Tidiane Camara before walking onto stage, where he put on a Suns hat.

Most experts saw Camara as a second-round pick, though few predicted the Suns would draft him.

“He’s agile,” Jay Bilas said on the ESPN broadcast. “He’s got good feet. He’s got long arms. He’s a really good rebounder, and he’s a very good defender with that 7-foot wingspan. He can switch out. He can block shots. But his rebounding is really really good.”

2020: Toppin (first round, No. 8 pick, New York Knicks)

Toppin had an emotional reaction after seeing his name called on ESPN. His parents Roni and Obadiah sat next to him. Crutcher, his best friend, sat to Obadiah’s left on the couch as they were interviewed. Toppin held an iPad in his lap as his brother Jacob, who plays for the Kentucky Wildcats, joined the celebration virtually from Lexington, Ky., via Facetime.

“I want to thank God,” Toppin said through tears on ESPN. “Without him, I wouldn’t be here. Without my team, I wouldn’t be here. Without my teammate to the left, I wouldn’t be here. I appreciate you, bro. Shoutout to Jalen Crutcher. I wouldn’t be here without him. Coach Grant, Coach Greer, I wouldn’t be here without them. I’m very grateful. It’s a blessing to be in this position.”

2018: Antetokounmpo (second round, No. 60, Dallas Mavericks)

Antetokounmpo, a 6-10 forward who averaged 5.2 points in one season at Dayton, was the last pick of the draft. He played in two games for the Mavericks as a rookie. In 2020, he appeared in five games and earned an NBA championship ring with the Los Angeles Lakers. He has since played in France, Turkey and Greece, as well as the NBA G League.

Credit: Layne Murdoch

Credit: Layne Murdoch

1990: Negele Knight (second round, No. 31, Phoenix Suns)

Knight, a 6-1 guard who ranks eighth in school history with 1,806 points, watched the draft at home at his brother’s house in Detroit.

“I never sat down and talked to (the Suns) and I never heard from them,” Knight said then. “It’s a surprise to me, but it’s a good surprise. I’m doing fine ... now that I don’t have to play against (Suns guard Kevin Johnson). I played against him in our Christmas tournament my freshman year. People ask me who was the best guard I’ve ever played against, and that’s him.”

Knight averaged 6.2 points in an eight-year career that ended in 1999 with the Toronto Raptors.

1986: Dave Colbert (fifth round, No.116, Boston Celtics)

After averaging 18.8 points as a senior at Dayton, Colbert, a 6-8 guard who played his first two seasons at Cleveland State, was disappointed he didn’t go higher in the draft.

“I’m glad to get in,” Colbert said, “but yeah I was hoping for something better.”

Colbert did not make it into the NBA. He played professional basketball in Australia and Israel.

1986: Damon Goodwin (seventh round, No. 147, Phoenix Suns)

A 6-6 guard and 1,191-point scorer at Dayton, Goodwin had no idea the Suns were considering drafting him. After they did, he said he would give the NBA a shot but would also consider playing in Europe. He played for the Suns that summer but then started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Dayton. He has been the head coach at Capital University since 1994.

1985: Sedric Toney (third round, No. 59, Atlanta Hawks)

Toney, a 6-2 guard who averaged 12.2 points in two seasons at UD, was working at a Dayton basketball camp when he learned he had been drafted.

“I just stayed here and waited patiently, hoping something would happen,” Toney said then. “It’s hard in this business to guess because everyone always changes their minds.”

Toney appeared in 112 games over five NBA seasons. His career ended in 1993 when he played in 12 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

1984: Roosevelt Chapman (third round, No. 54, Kansas City Kings)

Chapman, a 6-4 guard who remains Dayton’s all-time leading scorer with 2,233 points, said then many agents and scouts had told him he would be a first-round pick. He said he would be motivated by the snub.

“Yes, I’m disappointed,” Chapman said. “I felt I should have gone higher.”

Chapman was cut by the Kings in training camp and never played in the NBA. The best player in the 1984 class was the No. 2 pick: Michael Jordan.

1982: Mike Kanieski (sixth round, No. 121, New York Knicks)

A 6-11 center who scored 1,642 points in his college career, Kanieski expected to go in the third or fourth round but slipped to the sixth. The draft had 10 rounds then. It has had two rounds since 1989.

Kanieski heard he was drafted when an agent from New York called his mom.

“I was playing ball at a friend’s house when she called and told me,” he said. “All I know about the Knicks is they have a new coach (Hubie Brown) who gets the most out of his players.”

Kanieski did not make it to the NBA. He played for the Ohio Mixers in Lima in the Continental Basketball Association in 1982.

1979: Jim Paxson Jr. (first round, No. 12, Portland Trail Blazers)

Paxson, a 6-6 guard who ranks fifth in UD history with 1,945 points, was at his family’s home in Kettering when the phone rang at 2 p.m. on June 25. It was the Trail Blazers calling to tell him he had been drafted. The phone didn’t stop ringing with that call.

“I didn’t realize they had so many newspapers, television and radio stations up there,” Paxson told Marc Katz, of the Dayton Daily News. “I must have talked to seven news people from Portland already.”

Paxson played nine seasons in Portland and three with the Boston Celtics, averaging 14.3 points in his career. No UD player has played more games (784) in the NBA than Paxson.

1978: Erv Giddings (fourth round, No. 79, Knicks)

A 6-7 forward who scored 1,227 points in his Dayton career, Giddings played in six preseason games for the Knicks after being drafted in 1978 but was among their last three cuts. He played in the Western Basketball Association for the Reno Bighorns and Las Vegas Dealers later that year and then spent time in the CBA.

1976: Johnny Davis (second round, No. 22, Trail Blazers)

Davis left school with one season of eligibility remaining. At that time, players who left school early put their name on the “hardship list.” He announced in early June he would keep his name on that list and would not return to UD.

Davis had a solid 10-year career, averaging 12.9 points and playing for four different teams. He earned a starting job in the playoffs as a rookie and scored in double figures seven times in 16 playoff games, helping lead the Trail Blazers to the NBA championship. He ranks second among UD players in games played in the NBA (750).

1974: Donald Smith (second round, No. 19, Philadelphia 76ers)

A 6-0 guard who scored 1,655 points in three seasons at Dayton, Smith was the first pick of the second round. He averaged 5.2 points in 54 games as a rookie but did not play in the NBA again.

1974: Mike Sylvester (sixth round, No. 105, Detroit Pistons)

A 6-5 forward who scored 1,248 points in three seasons with the Flyers, Sylvester never played in the NBA but started a career in Italy after college and played for Italy’s national team at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. He was also drafted by Carolina in the 10th round of the ABA Draft in 1974.

1971: Ken May (seventh round, No. 110, San Francisco Warriors)

A 6-5 forward, May scored 1,207 points in his Dayton career. He was also drafted by the Floridians, of the American Basketball Association, in the 15th round.

1971: Tom Crosswhite (14th round, No. 200, Baltimore Bullets)

Crosswhite was a 6-7 forward who averaged 18.1 points per game as a senior.

1971: George Jackson (14th round, No. 216, Milwaukee Bucks)

A 6-7 center who averaged 13.2 points in two seasons at Dayton.

1970: George Janky (sixth round, No. 93, Trail Blazers)

A 6-8 forward who averaged 16.2 points per game for the first team to play at UD Arena, Janky was also drafted in the fourth round by the Pittsburgh Condors.

1970: Jim Gottschall (ninth round, No. 137, San Diego Rockets)

Gottschall was a 6-2 guard who scored 725 points in three seasons for the Flyers.

1969: Dan Sadlier (sixth round, No. 72, Phoenix Suns)

A 6-6 forward, Sadlier averaged 18.2 points per game as a senior. He was also drafted by Kentucky Colonels in the ninth round of the ABA Draft.

1969: Dan Obrovac (sixth round, No. 78, San Francisco)

A 6-10 center, Obrovac averaged 12.0 points as a senior.

1968: Don May (third round, No. 30, Knicks)

The New York Knicks drafted May, a 6-4 forward who’s Dayton’s second all-time leading scorer with 1,980 points, with the eighth pick of the third round. He averaged 8.8 points in a seven-year NBA career that ended in 1975 with the Kansas City Kings.

1968: Bobby Joe Hooper (eighth round, No. 100, Knicks)

Hooper, a 6-0 point guard who scored 1,059 points in his Dayton career, was also drafted in the eighth round by the Indiana Pacers, then in the ABA. He averaged 5.0 points in one season with the Pacers.

1964: Bill Chmielewski (second round, No. 15, Cincinnati Royals)

Chmielewski, a 6-10 center who averaged 15.4 points in one season with the Flyers, learned he had been drafted by calling a local newspaper. He was teaching a seventh-grade class in Detroit when he made the call. Chmielewski was cut by the Royals and never played in the NBA.

1964: Hank Finkel (fourth round, 30th pick, Los Angeles Lakers)

Finkel played one season with the Lakers and nine seasons in the league, averaging 5.5 points. He won a NBA championship with the Boston Celtics in 1974.

1964: Gordy Hatton (seventh round, 56th pick, Philadelphia 76ers)

The 6-1 guard scored 1,097 points for Dayton.

1962: Tom Hatton (fifth round, No. 39 St. Louis Hawks)

The 6-0 guard scored 925 points for the Flyers.

1962: Gary Roggenburk (fourth round, No. 34, Warriors)

The 6-6 forward scored 1,398 points in his Dayton career.

1960: Frank Case (third round, No. 20 Pistons)

The 6-2 guard scored 1,175 points in his UD career.

1958: Bucky Bockhorn (third round, No. 18, Royals)

The 6-4 guard averaged 11.5 points in a seven-year NBA career spent entirely with the Royals.

1958: Don Lane (fifth round, No. 36, Knicks)

The 6-0 guard scored 754 points in three seasons at Dayton.

1958: Jack McCarthy (16th round, No. 87, Royals)

The 6-6 center scored 643 points in three seasons at Dayton.

1957: Jim Palmer (second round, No. 12, St. Louis Hawks)

The 6-8 center spent three seasons in the NBA, seeing time with the Royals and Knicks.

1956: Jim Paxson Sr. (first round, No. 4, Minneapolis Lakers)

Paxson Sr. played two seasons in the league with the Lakers and Royals.

1956: Bill Uhl Sr. (fifth round, No. 33 Rochester Royals)

The 7-0 center scored 1,627 points in his Dayton career.

1955: John Horan (first round, No. 8, Fort Wayne Pistons)

Horan, a 6-8 forward who scored 1,757 points in his UD career, expected to be drafted by Fort Wayne after meeting with the coach, Charlie Eckman, in Indianapolis. “They have one of the best organizations in the league,” Horan told Ritter Collett, of the Journal Herald. Horan spent one season in the league, appearing in seven games for Fort Wayne and 11 for Minneapolis.

1955: Jack Sallee (third round, No. 23, Syracuse Nationals)

The 6-2 forward who scored 1,610 points for Dayton.

1952: Chuck Grigsby (second round, No. 11, Baltimore Bullets)

A 6-5 guard, Grigsby’s pro career was delayed when he was drafted into the Army. He made it to the NBA in the 1954-55 season and appeared in seven games with the Knicksafter being traded by the Bullets.

1952: Don “Monk” Meineke (second round, No. 13, Fort Wayne)

A 6-7 center who scored 1,866 points in three seasons at UD, Meineke played five seasons in the NBA with Fort Wayne, Rochester and Cincinnati, averaging 3.1 points and 4.7 rebounds.

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