Where Are They Now: Former Flyer follows program from afar in Colorado

Jimmy Binnie, one of Brian Gregory’s first recruits, looks back on his career 13 years later

It took Jimmy Binnie III a long time to get back to UD Arena after his career with the Dayton Flyers ended in 2008.

“Life was crazy,” said Binnie, who has lived in Denver for the last seven years. “The kids were young.”

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In 2017, however, Binnie traveled from his home in Denver to see a fellow alum, Anthony Grant, make his debut as head coach. The Flyers beat Ball State on a last-second basket by Josh Cunningham.

A season later, the whole family sat behind the UD bench during a NIT game at Colorado in 2019. With Binnie were his wife Lindsay, who he was engaged to during his senior year at UD, and son Jimmy Binnie IV, 10, and daughter Jada, 9. Last season, the whole family traveled to Dayton in February for a game against Fordham. Binnie shared photos on Facebook of his kids posing for a photo with Obi Toppin, Ryan Mikesell and Ibi Watson and getting autographs from Grant.

At that time, Binnie also reconnected with Dayton assistant coach Anthony Solomon, who was an assistant coach on Brian Gregory’s staff during Binnie’s senior season, and Andy Farrell, who was a student manager during Binnie’s playing career and is now a special assistant to the head coach.

Binnie remembers lifting his son up in the air to celebrate after the victory against Ball State in 2017. A little over two years later, Jimmy IV was better able to appreciate Dayton basketball and his dad’s career on the visit to UD. The younger Jimmy and Jada are both athletes themselves.

“My daughter is like my wife,” Binnie said. “She played Division I college soccer. They’re both just incredible athletes. My wife ran track against (Olympic hurdler) Lolo Jones in high school and still holds some track records and scoring records in soccer. They can just show up and play. My son, he just loves to work at it. He’s got weighted ball-handling gloves, ankle weights, weighted bats. He does ladder drills, jumps ropes. Anything I give him, he just eats it up. He was doing ab rollers, push-ups, toe raises last night.”

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More than 18 years after he signed with Dayton, along with Brian Roberts, Trent Meacham, Norman Plummer and Chris Alvarez — all members of Gregory’s first recruiting class — Binnie works with Dig Boss in Colorado. The company specializes in excavation and repair and replacement of underground utilities, sewer systems, water lines, storm drains, etc. He works in outside sales and estimates.

“I’ve been around the industry for almost 10 years,” Binnie said. “It’s a great job. Just incredible people. It’s a smaller family-owned company. Good environment. They take good care of me.”

Binnie spent some time in pro basketball before moving into the business world. He played in 18 games with the Dakota Wizards in what was then known as the NBA D League in the 2009-10 season. He then played in Europe and China. After his playing career ended, he worked as a financial advisor for about six months before deciding that wasn’t for him. He transitioned to a more physical job, building houses and bridges, but didn’t like the amount of travel involved. That led him to a job in sales.

Binnie’s from Des Moines, Iowa, but the job took him and his family to Wyoming for a couple of years and then to Denver, where they live now.

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While Binnie is a long way from Dayton and 13 years removed from his college career, the memories are still fresh. He scored 567 points in his four seasons and played a key reserve role as a freshman and sophomore. His playing time increased as his career progressed. He started eight games as a sophomore, 15 as a senior and all 34 as a senior.

Binnie averaged 6.0 points and 3.9 rebounds in 25.7 minutes per game in his final season. He didn’t know much about Dayton before he was recruited by Gregory but learned fast on his official visit during a game against Saint Joseph’s.

“This is one of the best places in the country to watch college basketball,’” Binnie thought to himself.

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Binnie has kept in touch with former teammates. Charles Little has visited him in Denver, as has Roberts. He has seen London Warren, Marcus Johnson and Chris Wright, to name a few, over the years.

“That’s what’s been really fun for me since my time at Dayton,” Binnie said.

Binnie is proud he stayed at Dayton for four seasons alongside Roberts, who went down as one of the program’s all-time greats and ranks fourth in school history with 1,962 points. The other three recruits in Gregory’s first class finished their careers elsewhere.

Binnie and Roberts were unlucky in that UD reached the NCAA tournament the season before they arrived and the season after, but their 23-win season in 2007-08 set the stage for consistent winning for Dayton. It was the first of five straight 20-win seasons.

”When all of us came in as freshman, we were BG’s guys,” Binnie said before Senior Night in 2008. “We still had some of OP’s guys (former coach Oliver Purnell), and we all got along. But they were used to a different coach, a different system. Some of them didn’t really accept BG the way we did. Obviously, some of the guys (BG) recruited didn’t either. When guys you became friends with, dreamed with, leave, it can be hard on you. You question yourself, too. But one thing I never wanted to do was quit. Not after what these coaches did for me and this school did for me.”

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