New Dayton recruit has poise and confidence, former coach says

Kobe Elvis became Dayton’s 13th scholarship player for 2021-22 season last week

Vidal Massiah coached Kobe Elvis, the newest Dayton Flyers recruit, with the Northern Kings, an AAU team, and calls him a rare talent.

“I don’t say that lightly,” Massiah said. “I don’t use those terms or throw things out there like that every day. I’m sure a lot of people do. We’ve had pretty good success with having high-level point guards come through our program that are able to play at the collegiate level, and he definitely sticks out as someone who has something real different. When kids have it, it’s tough to describe, but he’s just got a poise and a confidence about him to go along with his physical attributes that make him special.”

Elvis, a 6-foot-2 guard from Brampton, Ont., committed to Dayton on Friday, a little more than six weeks after announcing his decision to transfer from DePaul after one season. He has four seasons of eligibility remaining because the NCAA didn’t count last season against anyone’s eligibility.

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Like most of the seven newcomers joining Dayton’s roster for the 2021-22 season, Elvis didn’t get to visit the University of Dayton campus or meet the coaches in person. The pandemic recruiting restrictions that started in the spring of 2020 will remain in place until June 1.

Massiah said the decision by Elvis to pick Dayton came down to his relationship with coach Anthony Grant, and that was built during a virtual recruiting process.

“It was all coach Grant and coach (Anthony) Solomon, who’s now gone, also played a key role,” Massiah said. “Coach Grant was in there for the get-go, which was important because that’s your point guard and you need your coach’s support. You’ve got to be on the same page. You’re somewhat running his company on the floor. You’ve got to be in sync. And I think Kobe thrives from having a strong relationship with his head coach.”

Massiah played for St. Bonaventure from 1998-2002, so he knows UD Arena well. He was able to give Elvis an idea of what he would experience as a Flyer.

“I told him this is one of the top atmospheres in college basketball,” Massiah said. “This is big-time basketball. It’s going to have a high-major feel.”

Elvis was an under-the-radar recruit early in his high school career. He averaged 28.0 points and 4.7 assists per game as a junior for Southwest Academy in London, Ont., and was named the Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association Player of the Year.

Elvis received offers from Morehead State, Wyoming, Robert Morris, Akron and others early in the summer of 2019. That July, the Northern Kings won the Under Armour Rise Championship in Atlanta, and Elvis was named the league MVP.

“Before we got him, he wasn’t really being recruited at all,” Massiah said, “and the team he was previously on he wasn’t playing the point guard position. We were in need of a point guard. It was kind what we needed to round out our team that year, and we were able to get him. We put him full time at that position. That was really his first time being a point guard and having the reins of a team, and he just kind of grew into it and picked it up fairly quickly. He always had a great feel for the game, so it wasn’t a matter of us teaching a whole lot. It was more about expanding his perspective on it and just having a broader sense of how important including your teammates was, how important that pass was and — to be honest — how amazing that pass was. He made a lot of things look so easy.”

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Elvis received numerous scholarship offers after his play with the Northern Kings in 2019. Massachusetts, Saint Louis, Richmond, Mississippi and Minnesota were among the schools recruiting him. Elvis took an official visit to DePaul in October 2019 and signed with the program the following month.

“It was the Big East,” Massiah said. “It was Chicago. There were a lot of good things that went into that decision.”

Elvis decided to play for Bill Crothers Prep in Unionville, Ont., his senior year and averaged 26.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.8 steals per game. He then averaged 5.2 points and 1.9 assists in 20.3 minutes per game last season as a freshman for DePaul. He appeared in all 19 games, starting four times, for a team that finished 5-14. He shot 42.3 percent from the field and 41.9 percent from 3-point range (13 of 31).

It was a challenging season for DePaul, which didn’t play its first game until Dec. 23 because of COVID-19 issues within the program. Coach Dave Leitao, who was fired in March, told reporters last December his players spent 25-40 days in individual isolation in the months leading up to the season.

“It was just a bad experience,” Massiah said. “He was looking for a fresh start. No hard feelings. They obviously made a coaching change. There was just a lot of change. I think part of the reason he chose Dayton was for stability. He was looking for a coach who is going to be there.”

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