Photo Credit – Erik Schelkun
The Dayton Flyers, who finished third in the A10 regular season, were runners up in the A10 tournament and made the Round of 32, will be returning 6 of their 7 players from last year, losing only Jordan Sibert to graduation. Bobby Wehrli, who was put on scholarship mid-season after the loss of Jalen Robinson and Devon Scott, will become a walk on again. The Flyers will have 5 returning scholarship players. These five returners are: Senior Dyshawn Pierre, Juniors, Scoochie Smith, Kendall Pollard, and Kyle Davis, and Sophomore Darrell Davis. Pierre, Smith, Pollard, and Kyle Davis have already been named the co-captains for the season. Dyshawn Pierre, the lone scholarship senior, is a “do it all” player. He is very versatile because he can play the 3, 4, or 5. He is one of the preseason favorites to win the A10 Player of the Year. The Canadian born player was named second team All-Atlantic 10 and led the team in scoring in the NCAA tournament. He will be an integral part of this team. Scoochie will be the starting point guard once again this year. He led the team in assists averaging 3.8 a game and had a 1.9:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Kendall Pollard, who was the Most Improved Player in the A10 last year, is the most athletic guy on the court at any time. This kid is fun to watch. Kendall will need to improve his free throw percentage because he gets to the line often but doesn’t shoot it well from the line. Kyle Davis may be the best lock-down defender I’ve ever seen play at UD. Kyle was able to shut down key player after key player game after game. Archie Miller can put him on any guard in the country and he will lock them down. Darrell Davis is the best three point shooter in the Atlantic 10. He will be a great asset coming off the bench for the Flyers this year. They will also be adding both, 6’ 11” center Steve McElvene who was a partial qualifier because of academics (could only practice) and Charles Cooke, a 6’5” guard who transferred in last year from James Madison. Cooke will be looking to fill the hole at shooting guard with the graduation of Jordan Sibert. McElvene will be looking to add some height to a team that didn’t play with a guy over the height of 6’6” for the majority of the year. The Flyers will also be adding four freshmen to their already talented squad. Freshman John Crosby will most likely back up Scoochie Smith at the point, Ryan Mikesell will help out at the three and Xeyrius Williams and Sam Miller will help the post play for the Flyers. The Flyers also added Sophomore Forward Josh Cunningham. He transferred in from Bradley but will have to sit out the 2015-2016 season due to NCAA transfer rules. He will have three years of eligibility remaining.
Coming off of a Round of 32 appearance in the NCAA Tournament, the Flyers will be poised to make another run and should be the favorites to win the Atlantic 10. Adding to this, for the first time in his career at the University of Dayton, Archie Miller will have a full roster to play with. Last year, the Flyers played with only 7 players for most of the season. This could have been a complete disaster, however, Archie was able to work his magic and take the Flyers to the NCAA tournament for a second straight season.
Moreover, this year’s team will rely a lot on the returning players. Out of the five scholarship returners, four of them are returning starters and have a very good chance to start again this year depending on what Archie decides to do. The only player not likely to start would be sophomore combo guard Darrell Davis. Darrell added great energy off of the bench and led the Atlantic 10 in three point shooting at 45.2%. He seemed to have lost his confidence towards the end of the season but picked it back up during tournament time. When he is on, he can be the best player on the court. The definite starters barring any injury in the preseason would be Scoochie Smith, Dyshawn Pierre, Kyle Davis and Kendall Pollard. Charles Cooke could compete with Kyle Davis at shooting guard, but I see Kyle keeping his spot. McElvene could start at center or Archie could go small and start Pollard at the 5. It will be very interesting to see what Archie decides to do this year with the cards he was dealt last year. He may continue to play small but can also use McElvene and a few freshmen and go big. The Flyers will most likely continue their “True Team” motto which really came about during the Elite 8 run two years ago. The Flyers will open up the season at home on Friday, November 13th against Southeast Missouri State. This season should be very fun to watch and could be another year to remember.
Alex Handorf ’17