New Dayton grad assistant brings winning experience to program

Khyle Marshall played on one of Butler’s Final Four teams

Khyle Marshall was a 19-year-old freshman when he played in the 2011 national championship game for Butler. He saw eight minutes of action in a 53-41 loss to Connecticut at Reliant Stadium in Houston.

It was an unexpected thrill. A year earlier, as a senior in high school, Marshall had travelled to the national championship game in Indianapolis to watch Butler play Duke. He was jealous of his future teammates, sure he had just missed a once-in-a-lifetime season. Then Butler did it again.

“The experience was something I’ll never forget,” Marshall said. “It was incredible that first time checking in with 73,000 people in the arena. It was one of the most nerve-wracking things I’ve ever done.”

Eight years later, Marshall is preparing for his first season as a graduate assistant with the Dayton Flyers. He started in June, and he's one of a number of people connected to the current program who have experience on college basketball's biggest stage.

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Head coach Anthony Grant won a national championship as an assistant coach to Billy Donovan at Florida in 2006. Assistant coach Darren Hertz won titles with Donovan in 2006 and 2007. Michigan transfer Ibi Watson, a redshirt junior guard, played in the 2018 national championship game.

All of them and Marshall know what makes great teams tick. Dayton’s 11-man team will have depth, talent and experience in the 2019-20 season, but it will take more than that for the team to achieve all its goals.

“Talent can only get you so far,” Marshall said. “That’s something we definitely reiterate to the guys. You have to put we before me. Everything you do on and off the court has to be in the best interest of the program. When you put yourself second and the team first, a lot of great things can happen. That was one of our biggest accomplishments (at Butler). We had a great group of guys that were completely sold into the team being successful, not just individuals. A lot of guys start to realize if an individual has a great year and the team isn’t as successful, it really doesn’t matter. If the team wins, everybody wins.”

Butler slipped to 22-15 in Marshall’s second season and failed to make the NCAA tournament after back-to-back losses in the national championship game. The Bulldogs thrived again in 2012-13 when Marshall was a junior, finishing 27-9 in their only season in the Atlantic 10 Conference. Marshall scored 12 points in a 79-73 victory against Dayton at UD Arena that season.

“It was probably one of the best college atmospheres I’ve ever played in,” Marshall said. “The rich basketball tradition they have here is just incredible.”

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Marshall, who’s from Flanagan High School in Pembroke Pines, Fla., finished his college career with 1,373 points and said he will always consider Butler his second home. He played four seasons of professional basketball overseas after college, making stops in Japan, the Dominican Republic, Spain and Portugal among others.

When basketball started to feel like a job, Marshall decided to pursue his next goal of being a coach. His college coach, Brad Stevens, now the head coach of the Boston Celtics, has helped him throughout the process.

“He’s been one of my key contacts as far as getting advice,” Marshall said. “His biggest thing was about making the transition from player to coach. It’s always good to be friendly with the guys, but you need to know there’s a line between player and coach. Always have a standard and never be willing to compromise that standard.”

Marshall began his coaching career in the 2017-18 season as an assistant coach at Florida Southwestern State College. He moved to Florida Gulf Coast University last season as a coordinator of video operations.

Two connections helped Marshall land the job at Dayton. Florida Gulf Coast coach Michael Fly knows Brett Comer, a former FGCU point guard who worked as a graduate assistant the last two years at UD before earning a promotion to director of basketball operations this summer, and Andy Farrell, who’s now UD’s special assistant to the head coach and recruiting coordinator.

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Marshall worked with the Flyers throughout the summer and said he’s excited about the team and experiencing UD Arena on the home team’s bench.

“I’ve known about Obi (Toppin) and Jalen (Crutcher) with their accomplishments already,” Marshall said. “With our transfers coming, I definitely think we’re going to be very talented with a very deep bench. One thing I love about our guys is all the guys want to get better. They all live in the gym. They’re in constant communication with our managers about getting shots up and just want to work out. That’s something you definitely appreciate as a coach. Not only do you have talented guys but guys who want to learn and get better.”

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