Dayton's Xeyrius Williams cuts down the net after a victory against Virginia Commonwealth on March 1, 2017, at UD Arena.
Photo: David Jablonski - Staff Writer
Photo: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

Newcomers give Dayton Flyers plenty of height for 2017-18 season

Latest recruit, Obadiah Toppin,  gives UD eight players 6-7 or taller

“Wondering if we should get the bags out and cut the holes,” he said.

»RELATED: Flyers pick up fifth recruit for 2017

»RELATED: Point guard commits to Dayton

»RELATED: Svoboda brings unique skill, experience to Flyers 

It’s hard to predict how many games Dayton will win in 2017-18 with new coach Anthony Grant and four new starters, but it’s a safe bet fans won’t have to wear bags on their heads at UD Arena. The Flyer Faithful (or Fretful) can breathe a bit easier.

In recent weeks, Grant and his assistants have filled out the roster. Dayton has added two new recruits this month: point guard Jalen Crutcher and forward Obadiah Toppin, who committed to UD on Tuesday. That means the Flyers have all 13 scholarships filled.

A quick glance at the 13 players shows how different this squad will look. The biggest change from last year is the added height. There are eight players 6-foot-7 or taller.

Potential starters

Darrell Davis, 6-5, Sr., G: Davis made tremendous strides as a defender this season. He also regained his outside shooting touch. He shot 29.1 percent from 3-point range as a sophomore and 38.5 percent as a junior. He struggled to finish shots at the rim, however, shooting 23.8 percent from 2-point range.

John Crosby, 6-2, Jr., G: Crosby averaged 13.3 minutes as a sophomore. He appeared in all 32 games and averaged 2.8 points and 1.2 assists. His turnover average jumped from 0.8 as a freshman to 1.1 as a sophomore. However, he had only one turnover in his final six games (32 total minutes). He initially decided to transfer but changed his mind and was allowed to return.

»RELATED: John Crosby returning to Flyers

Josh Cunningham, 6-7, R-Jr., F: Cunningham spent most of the season working hard to get back on the court after tearing a ligament in his ankle in the second game. He wasn’t the same player when he returned as he was at the start, but without him, the Flyers likely would have fallen short of winning their first Atlantic 10 outright championship.

Xeyrius Williams, 6-8, Jr., F: The Wayne High School grad was Dayton’s most improved player and one of most improved in the A-10. His scoring average jumped from 2.0 to 8.2. He shot 41.5 percent from 3-point range.

Kostas Antetokounmpo, 6-10, R-Fr., F: Antetokounmpo’s debut will be one of the most anticipated in recent UD history. He sat out last season as a NCAA partial qualifier.

Other returners

Ryan Mikesell, 6-7, Jr., F: Mikesell’s status for the season is in question. He has impingements in both hips and needs two surgeries. He had the first surgery Monday. The second will take place in mid-June. He faces six months of rehab.

»RELATED: Mikesell facing six-month recovery

Sam Miller, 6-9, Jr., F: Miller broke his ankle on the same day Grant was introduced as coach, so he’ll have to focus on getting healthy before he can get back on the court.

Trey Landers, 6-4, So., G: The Wayne grad saw brief action in nine games. He’s recovering from sports hernia surgery but should get a chance to play as a sophomore.

Newcomers

Jordan Davis, 6-4, Fr., G: Davis was the Class 5A Player of the Year in South Carolina. He averaged 19 points and six rebounds for Dutch Fork High School in Irmo, S.C.

Jordan Pierce, 7-0, Fr., C: The center from Union Catholic High School in Scotch Plains, N.J., will bring size to a team that lacked it last season. He averaged 11.2 points in 23 games.

Matej Svoboda, 6-7, Fr, F: The Czech Republic native averaged 19.0 points at the FIBA U-20 European Championships in Helsinki, Finland.

Crutcher, 6-3, Fr., PG: Grant’s first recruit originally signed with Chattanooga. He had some big games at an AAU event in Atlanta in April. He averaged 19.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists in five games.

Toppin, 6-9, Fr., F: Toppin, of Mount Zion Prep in Baltimore, Md., had offers from Rhode Island, Illinois and Mississippi State. He visited Dayton in April.

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