Jalen Crutcher tumbled to the ground under the basket in front of the Flyer Pep Band on Friday during an exhibition game at UD Arena. All of UD Arena fell silent as trainer Mike Mulcahey and then coach Anthony Grant attended to him.
Fans of the Dayton Flyers know the team can’t afford to lose their only experienced point guard for any length of time. Crutcher may be the most valuable Flyer next to redshirt senior forward Josh Cunningham.
Fortunately for Crutcher and Dayton, he was not injured but suffering from cramps. After a visit to the locker room and chugging a Gatorade, he returned to the game, compiling 11 points and six assists in an 89-71 victory against Capital.
Crutcher showed his potential last season and again Friday. Entering his sophomore season, he needs to take the next leap and become an all-conference level performer for Dayton to contend in the Atlantic 10.
“Physically, he’s really changed his body from when he showed up last year at this time,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said. “He’ll be better just with the experience he got period, but I also think he’s worked on his game. He’ll be a guy who’s more comfortable running the offense. Physically, he’ll get to spots better. I think he’ll be able to prevent his opponents from getting to spots better. I think just overall his maturity and the physical development and being a year older will help him.”
Crutcher finished the exhibition game with no turnovers. The regular season begins this week with the first two of seven games in November.
“I’m really excited to get my first year out of the way,” Crutcher said, “so I’m comfortable with my teammates.”
Crutcher gained eight pounds from his freshman to sophomore seasons, according to the Dayton roster. He appeared in every game last season, started 22, averaged 9.2 points and made the All-Rookie team in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
“I think I’m a lot better than my freshman year,” Crutcher said. “Getting big in the weight room, getting better on the court, I feel really good about this year.”
Freshman Dwayne Cohill and sophomore Jordan Davis also ran the point in the exhibition game. Davis matched Crutcher with six assists and no turnovers.
“You want to see that,” Grant said. “Jordan’s another guy we can put back there with the ball in his hands. I thought he did a good job executing the things we want to do. We’re going to need both of those guys to really make that next step as they go into their sophomore year.”