FLYER NEWS The University of Dayton’s Student-Run Newspaper Since 1956 VOL. 69, NO. 3 || THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2020
NEWS: Campus community reacts to election results. Page 2. Capacity limit set at 300 for UD Arena. Page 3.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT: UD Basketball 2020-21 pregame soundtrack. Page 4.
OPINIONS: UD marching band marches on. Page 5.
SPORTS: Women’s basketball roster. Page 6. Women’s basketball season preview. Page 7. Coach Green and Coach Grant preview their upcoming seasons. Page 8.
The 2019-20 basketball preview edition:
A NEW PAGE After each having championship seasons come to an abrupt end at the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Dayton men’s and women’s basketball teams will look to continue their net-cutting success in a year that will present challenges both on and off the court.
Men’s basketball recruting campaign yields highly-ranked class. Page 9. Men’s basketball roster. Page 10. Men’s basketball season preview. Page 11. Toppin drafted No. 8 overall by New York Knicks. Page 12.
@flyernews @UDFlyerNews @flyernews
(Top) The 2019-20 women’s basketball team celebrates their Atlantic 10 Tournament championship at UD Arena on March 7, 2020. (Bottom) The 2019-20 men’s basketball team gathers for a photo alongside its Atlantic 10 regular-season trophy after completing a 19-0 sweep of the conference at UD Arena on March 7, 2020. Photos courtesy of Keegan Gupta.
FLYER NEWS || THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19
Campus community reacts to election results
SGA member resigns, cites Critical Race Theory ALEX GOODLIVE Staff Writer
People celebrating in the streets after former Vice President Joe Biden clinched Pennsylvania’s electoral votes during the 2020 Presidential Election in the Times Square on Nov. 7, 2020. From the New York Post. TORI MILLER News Staff Writer Among voter fraud allegations and political division, several members of the UD community shared their reactions to the election results with Flyer News. After a long ballot count, former Vice-President Joe Biden beat President Donald Trump in the 2020 election with 306 electoral votes, matching Trump’s winning electoral vote count in 2016. However, Trump has continuously challenged the election results and claims that the election was rigged, even though any claim of voter fraud has yet to be proven. This past Sunday, Trump seemed to finally acknowledge in a tweet that Biden won, but later tweeted “I conceded NOTHING! We have a long way to go.” In a country where tensions among opposing political sides seem to be growing, how do people on Dayton’s campus feel about the election results? And how can we, as a university, continue to build community even when political opinions are so diverse among the student population? College Republicans’ President Lauren Hassett said that the organization is disappointed with the current outcome of the presidential election. “However, Republicans have gained House seats (especially Republican women) and are likely to defend the Senate. Republican candidates did very well in the state legis-
Supporters of US President Donald Trump demonstrate in front of the Maricopa County Election Department in Phoenix, on November 7, 2020. From CNN.com
lature, winning 4 seats in the House,” Hassett said. Regarding Trump’s accusations of voter fraud, Hassett believes that every claim of voter fraud should be investigated to ensure a fair election. “If these claims are investigated, I’m confident that Trump will accept the election results no matter the outcome,” Hassett said. Hassett also stated: “Joe Biden is the projected winner of the election; however, we should all wait to count every legal vote before officially announcing the next President.” The Communication Director for College Democrats Tyler Delahanty shares that the organization is overwhelmingly relieved that Joe Biden has won the presidency. “Though many of our members initially wanted different candidates in the primaries, we are impressed by Biden’s plans as president, including his COVID-19 response and his plan to combat climate change,” Delahanty said. “We are also thrilled that Kamala Harris has become the first female, first black and first South Asian vice president.” Delahanty added, however, that there’s still work left to do, and that College Democrats will hold Biden and other elected officials accountable for their legislation. College Democrats are not shocked by President Trump’s claims of voter fraud, but they remain hopeful the transition of power is ultimately smooth for both sides. “Our club is not too surprised by President Trump’s claims of voter fraud and refusal
to accept the election results,” Delahanty said. “There needs to be a peaceful and graceful transition of power to end his presidency and usher in a new one.” President Spina told Flyer News that he believes everyone on UD’s campus should continue the practice of balanced news gathering. Consulting news reports from multiple sources and outlets diversifies viewpoints and allows for people to speak and listen respectfully to each other. “I also encourage students to let the process play out without becoming too upset,” Spina said. “There were dire predictions of what would happen on and immediately after election day, but the election was conducted peacefully and fairly, and the democratic processes worked well in the country. I expect that they will continue to do so.” As part of the Marianist community, Spina encourages UD students to be different and be accepting of those differences. “We can be very different and have very different opinions, but we must value the essential dignity of every member of our community,” Spina said. “Listen, learn, engage in dialogue and seek common ground. We will be better for it.” Regardless of matters of political alignment or ideology, UD encourages differences among it’s student body to reinforce diversification and allow for human growth. To keep up with on-campus political opinions, follow @udaytondems on Instagram or @UDRepublicans on Twitter.
Tongyu Guo, the University of Dayton’s former Director of Campus Unity, has resigned from the Student Government Association, naming a lack of harmony, particularly around policies regarding racial unity on campus, as his reason. In a letter explaining his decision, Guo argues that racial unity at UD is worse than before, referencing discrimination and incidents of bias that have occurred in recent years. Guo also expressed disapproval with the emergence of Critical Race Theory (CRT), a sociological theory which emphasizes systemic racism and social hierarchies. Guo declared it to be a Marxist theory that divides rather than helping bring unity to the university. He said that the Critical Race Theory “has sowed hatred in many people of color and made many white people feel guilty for things they did not do.” This ideology, Guo believes, is not consistent with the university’s Marianist values. Guo also argued that while efforts to make the University of Dayton an antiracist school are necessary, the University should not restrict those students who disagree with Marxist ideology and concepts. “True unity is not a unity of ideology, but rather a sense of unity that allows people with different perspectives to voice their opinions,” Guo said to SGA. “I hope this is not the beginning of a new cultural revolution like my grandparents had experienced in China”. Not everyone in SGA agreed with Guo on his stance. One member countered him in a SGA meeting saying that by dismissing the concepts of systemic racism and oppression as a part of Critical Race Theory as not not fact we should all believe, Guo was dismissing a very real systemic racism that people including her actually endure. Ideology aside, she argued that members of SGA have a responsibility to recognize these social ills. Another member reminded others that no one, including Guo, represents all of SGA in their views, but that SGA does not ignore the issue of racism and values antiracism. Guo countered that he values antiracism but that the approach to antiracism can be different, representing people from different ideological backgrounds. But others objected that racism is indeed systematic, whatever ideology you associate the term with, and that his statement was problematic, with some questioning the qualifications of Guo for his position. In his resignation letter, Guo stated that his “resignation from SGA does not mean that I will give up on my vision of unity. On the contrary, I will continue to fight against the rise of radical ideologies on campus.”
FLYER NEWS || THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19
Students, professors share struggles of semester online ANNA ZAHNER Contributing Writer Students all over the country, including at the University of Dayton, have been thrusted into the realm of online school this semester. They are expected to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic along with keeping up with their studies and friendships. Professors sit in their homes or offices wondering if they have done enough for their students. They want them to be successful, but they also are in a world of uncertainty. One question remains: how are the students and professors handling the added pressure? The solutions students have found to deal with the situation are plentiful. Mallory Boring uses a whiteboard to keep track of her assignments. She finds this more helpful than a planner or Google calendar because she can see it when she sits at her desk, so she always has it accessible. College students are also in a developmental stage in their lives, where socialization is vital to success. With the strict guidelines set by the university, it seems impossible for students to stay in touch with the important people in their lives. Resident Assistants Amira Fitzpatrick and Alison Pierce have tried several ways to stay social. Fitzpatrick makes sure to call her family every Sunday to control homesickness while Pierce visits a few of her closest friends outside with masks while remembering social distance guidelines. Fitzpatrick also shared multiple organization strategies she has been utilizing for this peculiar semester. For example, she has a planner she uses to cross off assignments when they are completed so she can see what she accomplishes on paper. Then, she uses an Excel sheet, where she inserts all assignments and their due dates. This helps her see when projects or assignments are due and if many fall in the same timeframe, she can plan accordingly. Lastly, she has her Google calendar up to date with her different social events to help budget her time. For example, if she has a three-hour window, she knows she can study for two classes. Not only do students feel the pressure of this unusual semester, but professors see it. Biology Professor Julie Wolters said she sees a difference between students in a major and who are still undecided. In her opinion, if a student has a path along with a goal, they are succeeding. However, undecided students are struggling more than she has ever seen. Wolters contributes this to the first group having a goal to work toward and a passion for their classes, which helps their work ethic. When students were welcomed back into the classroom the difference in their actions were huge. Wolters says when she asks for questions, she still feels as if she is on Zoom and everyone has their mute on. She believes since students started the semester online, they do not know how to get back into the
groove. To get students to want to help themselves, she has tried to make her classes more engaging with contests and one low quiz dropping. When asked what she has learned from this semester, Wolters gave a heartfelt answer. “I have learned to tap into different types of intelligences students have rather than the traditional pen and paper one,” Wolters said. Carolyn Crowner, a Global Language and Culture professor, has observed that students who stay organized and complete activities early or on time are doing significantly better than those who do not. When asked if she thought students were having a harder time socially or academically, she said academically. Crowner attributes this to not only a learning curve from moving online but to an added layer of confusion this year. “My class is and always was meant to be 100 percent online and I had students asking me where we meet on campus, so I think that’s a sign of this new ambiance of confusion,” Crowner said. Fitzpatrick echoed this confusion, saying that with the added steps students must take to make this semester great, it can become disorganized. Even with her in-person classes, professors are constantly changing up their courses, whether that be due dates for assignments, the schedule on Isidore or classmates being in and out due to quarantine. As a person who feels her best when following a schedule, this reality has worn on Fitzpatrick. The ambiance of confusion is also all too real to Boring, who spoke about the difficulty of navigating Isidore. She said when she has to search through six uniquely made Isidore class pages, it causes her motivation to wane and she gives up easier on assignments. “I have multiple different places I have to go within Isidore to find my homework, so there is no continuity across my academics online,” Boring said. As each student closes their laptop at the end of the day and every faculty member drives home, it is clear that this is a trying semester for every individual at the university. Students like Boring and Fitzpatrick show the persistence that many of their peers share in trying to succeed, while professors try every day to improve for their students. Despite these added difficulties, however, Boring added that she is strategizing useful ways to end this semester on a successful note, and is feeling quite hopeful for next semester. “I hope that next semester both students and professors use what we’ve learned from this semester to make classes more manageable, especially if most are online,” Boring said. “I think this semester was a big learning opportunity and I’m confident in my studies moving forward.”
Capacity limit set at 300 for UD Arena
Photo courtesy of Dayton Athletics. PETER BURTNETT Sports Editor University of Dayton Director of Athletics Neil Sullivan announced Nov. 13 that UD Arena will play home games with an “extremely limited capacity” in 2020-21. Sullivan said 300 tickets will be available to a select few people at the beginning of the season. “The limited seating will go to players’ families, a limited number of students and invited athletic department guests,” Sullivan wrote. “UD Arena may receive a variance related to isolated seating areas such as individual family suites and loges seats.” While the college basketball season begins on Nov. 25, the Flyers’ first scheduled game (confirmed only by opponents in the non-conference slate) is Dec. 1 against promoted Div. II team Bellarmine. Southern Methodist University is also pegged to play the Flyers at UD Arena Dec. 5. The Flyers are also expected to play Mississippi State in the Holiday Hoopsgiving event on Dec. 12 in Atlanta, and host the Bulldogs’ in-state rival Ole Miss on Dec. 19. Whenever games are played at UD Arena, Sullivan said the university will follow the guidelines in place. “We will continue to collaborate with both Public Health — Dayton & Mont-
gomery County and the Ohio Department of Health — to pursue additional variances throughout the season as conditions allow,” Sullivan wrote. “Given the current local and state COVID trends, our next opportunity will likely be January 1 or later.” When UD submitted a variance request plan for increased capacity in October, Sullivan offered an opportunity for fans to purchase season tickets at a refundable rate of $50-200. In the latest announcement from Sullivan, he reassured fans, “we have your deposit and have recorded your intentions to be included in any significant capacity variance granted. If we are able to pursue and receive a significant variance, you will automatically be included for consideration. If, given this update, you would like to change your response from opting in to opting out, you will need to contact the UD Arena Ticket Office at FlyerTickets@udayton.edu or (937) 229-4433. “For those of you who opted out, as long as you paid your Arena seating contribution, you will maintain the opportunity to renew your Arena Seating Program contribution and seats for the 2021-22 season. You will not be billed again until the Arena Seating Program contributions are due for the 2021-22 season.”
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
FLYER NEWS || THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19
Fall album reviews DANIEL PETERS Arts & Entertainment Staff Writer
UD Basketball 2020-21 pregame soundtrack
Graphics courtesy of Pixabay. JACOB MANTLE Contributing Writer Coach Grant and the Flyers are looking to follow up a season for the ages this year. Last season, ESPN’s College GameDay used the men’s lineup introduction––Duckworth and Shaboozey’s “Start a Riot”––for their show’s opening. Here are some tunes that will get your adrenaline pumping and blood flowing as you prepare to take flight this season: Warning, NSFW: Some of the music in this list contains explicit lyrics. 1. “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble” from Space Jam (“Get Ready”- 2 Unlimited) Over 13,407 fans on their feet. All of them waiting for you to run out of the tunnel for the main event. Let’s get ready to rumble! 2. “All of the Lights” -Kanye West 3. “Win” -Jay Rock 5. “Start a Riot” -Duckworth ft. Shaboozey Just a song to reminisce about the record-breaking season. 6. “Power” -Kanye West Aye ahuh. Aye ahuh. Kanye always gets the people going. 7. “On the Move” -Book ft. Rochester 8. “More Than You Know” -Axwell Λ Ingrosso Before last season, few people outside of UD saw or believed in the Flyers. Dayton proved everybody wrong--it seems we a ways have more than most know. 9. “Money In The Grave” -Drake ft. Rick Ross 10. “Going Bad” -Meek Mill ft. Drake
11. “Man of the Year” -Juice WRLD 12. “POPSTAR”- DJ Khaled ft. Drake 13. “The Show Goes On” -Lupe Fiasco 14. “Nonstop” -Drake A catchy bass-line and lyrics that describe continued success. We sure hope the Flyers are not stopping anytime soon. 15. “Whatever It Takes” -Imagine Dragons 16. “My House” -Flo Rida Last season, the Flyers protected the home court by going 17-0 at UD Arena. 17. “Big Rings” -Drake ft. Future 18. “Mood” -24kGoldn ft. iann dior 19. “WHATS POPPIN” -Jack Harlow ft. DaBaby, Tory Lanez and Lil Wayne 20. “Turbulence” -Steve Aoki and Laidback Luke ft. Lil Jon Are we back at UD Arena right before tip off? Get on your feet and start jumping! 21. “DOLLAZ ON MY HEAD” -Gunna ft. Young Thug 22. “Lemonade - Remix” -Internet Money ft. Don Toliver and Roddy Ricch 23. “Thunderstruck” -AC/DC 24. “Started From the Bottom” -Drake 25. “Transportin’” -Kodak Black 26. “Heroes (we could be)” -Alesso ft. Tove Lo 27. “Trophies” -Young Money ft. Drake 28. “‘Till I Collapse” -Eminem ft. Nate Dogg 29. “We Will Rock You” -Queen 30. “Can’t Hold Us” -Macklemore and Ryan Lewis ft. Ray Dalton Ultimately, who can hold us back? With a passionate fan base and some of the best coaches and players in the country, no one can hold us. Roll ‘Yers!
“Tickets To My Downfall” by Machine Gun Kelly I slowly got into Machine Gun Kelly when he had a popular single “Bad Things” dominating the airwaves. Then I saw that on his “Laced Up” album he had a song called “Save Me” featuring the work of the lead singer and lead guitarist of Avenged Sevenfold, which is my favorite band. Once I got word that MGK was working on a Pop Punk album that had the support as well as produced by Travis Barker of Blink-182, I was instantly hooked. It left a bit to be desired, due to some tracks sounding the same, however this album got the ball rolling to revive Pop Punk. Highlight Songs: “Bloody Valentine,” “My Ex’s Best Friend,” and “Concert For Aliens”
“POST HUMAN: SURVIVAL HORROR” by Bring Me The Horizon I have been a fan of Bring Me The Horizon ever since their revolutionary album “That’s The Spirit” hit the airwaves in 2015. Since then, I have been hooked. Their previous album “amo” lost me, granted it had really good songs on it, I felt that they strayed away from what made them explode into popularity. This EP brings back the driving riffs, solid techno, and excellent vocals both clean and screaming. This EP truly caught me off guard because I was expecting another “amo,” but this seems like they made “amo” into a metal record and it truly shows what they can do musically. Highlight Songs: (Excluding Singles) “Dear Diary,” “Teardrops,” and “One Day The Only Butterflies Left Will Be In Your Chest As You March Towards Your Death”
“Nectar” by Joji I was never a huge fan of Joji, granted, I don’t typically listen to the type of music he produces. The song that drew me into Joji was “Slow Dancing In The Dark” off of his previous record. Nectar is 53 minutes of solid and catchy beats while he lets us into his mind. He brings in stellar guitar work into a genre where that is scarce. It is a solid record that anybody can enjoy. Highlight Songs: “Ew,” “Run,” and “Mr. Hollywood”
“Volume 1” and “Volume 2” by Smith & Meyers Smith & Meyers is an acoustic duo consisting of Brent Smith and Zach Meyers of Shinedown. They decided to do acoustic covers of some of their favorite artists and influences as well as some brand new music. They have beautiful and emotional covers of “Rockin’ in the Free World” and “Never Tear Us Apart.” Their songs “Not Mad Enough,” “Panic!” and “Bad At Love” show that the duo of Smith & Meyers can truly create incredible music outside of Shinedown. However some covers fall flat and miss the mark such as “Better Now.” Highlight Songs: “Bad At Love,” “Not Mad Enough,” and “Rebel Yell”
Album covers courtesy of Wikimedia.
FLYER NEWS || THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19
More than a mandate: How wearing a mask can be a statement of self-expression and a safety precaution
UD marching band marches on
ZOE HILL Opinions Staff Writer Although it was more than half a year ago, I genuinely have a hard time remembering day-to-day life before the pandemic. Masks are such a big part of our lives now, especially following Governor Mike Dewine’s recent statewide mandate. Mask-wearing has also been hotly contested bipartisanly, but at this point, they are a necessity in the wake of Covid-19. It’s routine now to mask-up before going out in public. I have collected quite a few cloth masks at this point. I keep one in my car in case I forget to nab one on my way out the door. I have a mask for work and another one for socializing. Leaving the house without my mask is on par with forgetting my keys; metaphorically speaking, a mask is the key to the city. I am sure by now that everyone has heard the arguments for and against wearing a mask. Some experts will say they are effective while others disagree. Anti-maskers sometimes experience breathing issues and feel that their personal freedoms are being suffocated, while wearers argue that the inconvenience is worth it for the sake of public safety and personal security. Wherever you fall on this issue, I would like to pose another reason you should wear a mask if being considerate and actively saving lives is not enough of an incentive: fashion. Personally, I do not feel as though mask-wearing is a difficult task. After having to wear one for eight hours a day as I wait tables at a local restaurant in my hometown, I have gotten used to the feeling and the routine of putting it on, as I mentioned before. That being said, I like to have fun with my self-expression in any way that I can. I have been known to match my outfits perfectly with my hair scrunchies, and if you were to ask anyone that I work with, they would tell you that my eyeshadow and nails coordinate as well. Having a mask mandate allowed me the opportunity to add to my coordination. If there is one thing that I love, it’s the ability to accessorize. Adding a face mask to my uniform really gave me another level of personability when I am at work. Outside of work, I can have a little more fun pattern mixing with my outfits and masks. The face mask really is the new infinity scarf or the new braided baseball necklace (remember when we would match them with everything?). Masks can also be a reflection of yourself. This can be in a very direct way, such as my campus Welcome Weekend Leader mask that lets my peers know that they can come to me with questions during orientation and movein. The image or pattern on a mask can tell someone your favorite movie if you’re any-
Photo courtesy of the University of Dayton. HANNAH WEBB Contributing Writer
Photo courtesy of Zoe Hill. thing like me and sport an Avengers mask from time to time. One mask that is especially helpful in sparking up conversations and raking in some tips at work is my UD mask. I bought one of the cloth masks from the bookstore online earlier this summer and it never fails to show my school pride and connect me with fellow Flyers or Flyer fans. Now although accessorizing is not a necessity, nor is it the most important thing in the world right now, I do find it to be a little ray of sunshine. No one is thrilled to be living in a global pandemic, but the very least that we can do as a community is follow the guidelines given by our officials, and slip a cute piece of fabric up over our noses. Finding a way to have fun in a situation as dire as this can seem childish, but at the end of the day, if I can help save the life of someone’s parent or best friend-- or at the very least, keep them from losing two paychecks because they have to quarantine-- I will happily match my mask with my scrunchies. I urge you, if you are not already on board, to get a mask that reflects who you are and wear it! Masks are required on campus (and in the entire state), and wearing one will help ensure that we can stay on campus and return to normalcy that much quicker. You can take solace in knowing that you are helping keep your Dayton community safe.
The Pride of Dayton, for those of you who don’t know about us, is the University of Dayton’s marching band, not to be confused with the Flyer Pep Band although we do share a lot of the same members. Normally you can catch us playing at the football games on Saturday’s, during NSO or on Parent Weekend in Humanities Plaza. This year was a bit different though. In fact, if you wanted to see us perform you either had to log on to YouTube for one of our video premiers, or stop by Fitz Hall on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday afternoon and watch a practice. We faced a lot of trials this year starting from the very beginning with scattered movein causing us to change our band camp dates from a full week to just three days. Normally band camp is filled with themed days and after-practice activities such as a trip to Young’s Dairy or a game night on K.U. field. This years’s socials had to be spread out throughout the season and they were definitely different than socials in the years past. It is really hard to get to know everyone in a band as big as POD under normal circumstances which is why while we were on Zoom for the first few weeks break out rooms became so important. We did a lot of group bonding through playing games in breakout rooms and just talking and getting to know each other. Once we were able to return to in-person classes, we did some outdoor socials where we enjoyed prepackaged food like popsicles or ice cream. Practices, like our socials, also had to be changed. When we were on Zoom practices, we did things like learn the words to the alma mater or we’d do our stretching routine since playing in a dorm room or apartment isn’t exactly ideal. There were a lot of differences for our in-person practices as well, one of the biggest was the space markers on the sideline telling us where we could each individually set our things. We also had to take turns getting water during practice to avoid being too close together. One of our biggest priorities this season was the safety of everyone involved so these were just a couple of changes we made.
Something else that slightly changed was how we ended rehearsal. Normally we would all stand close together in arcs and sing the alma mater, but this year we had to stand 6 feet apart and play it instead. Masks were also required to be worn at all times unless you were playing, and in that case there was a special cue for instrumentalists to pull their masks down and play. I have to be honest though, doing color guard in a mask was not nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be. I think it made us work harder as a guard because we really had to use our body language to convey the mood of the music because you couldn’t see our smiles. Performances were very different this year as well. As I mentioned earlier, we did not have any live performances this season and everything was filmed. Our media team was a key part in this, they operated the drone, field cameras, and helped with editing everything together. Filming was quite a process as we would do each piece three times to make sure that the videos we produced were the best visually and audibly. The most normal thing about our filming days was dressing up in our secondary uniforms, I think wearing those helped a lot of us get more in the spirit with performing. Obviously, doing these video recordings had its challenges. Sometimes it would be too windy for the drone to fly or the hospital helicopter would take off as soon as we would start, but overall I think it was a good experience for everyone involved. Our season recently came to a close, but during the last week of practice we were able to do our POD Olympics which is a game competition between the sections that usually happens during band camp. POD Olympics is a very important tradition in POD and I don’t think the season would have felt complete without them. The band put just as much work in this season if not more than they have in years past and I am really proud of what we accomplished. If you’re ever interested in seeing how these virtual performances turned out, they are on YouTube for your viewing pleasure and I highly recommend checking them out.
FLYER NEWS || THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19
FR. || G || 5'7"
RS FR. || G || 5'10"
RS SR. || G || 5'6"
FR. || G || 5'9"
FR. || G || 5'6"
JR. || F || 6'2"
RS SR. || G || 6'1"
FR. || G || 5'9"
FR. || C || 6'5"
SO. || F || 6'3"
RS SO. || G/F || 6'0"
RS FR. || F || 6'3"
RS SR. || G/F || 6'1"
JR. || F || 6'2"
Photos courtesy of Dayton Athletics.
FLYER NEWS || THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19
Building upon conference dominance
PETER BURTNETT Sports Editor Now past an off-season unlike any other, the University of Dayton women’s basketball team transitions from the early practice stage to the last 10 days of practice before the season begins Nov. 25 at Morehead State. For head coach Shauna Green and her team, a big adjustment has been bringing in five true freshmen to a team that already favored youth, with just three fifth-year seniors and two juniors. However, with guards Bailee Adkins and Anna Lemaster sitting out the season due to medical issues, the three true freshmen who will play are guards Capria Brown and Makira Cook, and 6-foot-5 center Tenin Magassa from France. “With Makira and Capria and Tenin, I think they’re all highly talented players,” Green said. “And I’ve really seen, in the last week or so, they’re starting to be confident… starting to get it. They’re starting to understand the expectations and standards, and the consistency and the effort needed daily in order to make an impact at this level.” Green said all three are going to “have to play” and that she is counting on them to make an impact. Green is not alone in seeing improvement from the young players and recognizing their need to make an impact right away. Fifth-year senior Erin Whalen said the mix of freshmen and underclassmen creates an “interesting dynamic,” but everyone “gets along.” “Sometimes, you do look across the court and be like, ‘Wow, we are really old,’” Whalen said with a light chuckle. “But no, I mean our team’s great. We’ve done a lot of different activities to kind of bond us more together, but for the most part, everyone really gets along… I don’t really see the divide as much.” Whalen, who was named to the pre-season Atlantic 10 First Team, returns from a season where she averaged 28.9 minutes, 12.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists per game and a teamhigh 66 three-pointers made. Whalen’s role as a fifth-year senior is not just to be a leader for the young players on the team, but also to manage the pressure that comes with managing the high expectations which are placed on Whalen and the rest of the team. “(The expectations) add a little bit of pressure,” Whalen said. “I mean, I obviously want us to succeed, and help the team get to another A10 championship, and so I think it’s more of, it just helps you focus in a little bit more. Obviously, the pre-season stuff is cool, but we care more about what happens in the postseason.” Whalen is not the only player that carries a lot of expectations. For fellow fifth-year senior guard Araion Bradshaw, her role as a leader has intensified with the losses of 6 seniors -
Araion Bradshaw returns for her final season at UD. She will play a critical role as a leader for a young Flyers team. Photo courtesy of Keegan Gupta. Jayla Scaife, Shakeela Fowler, Julia Chandler, Jordan Wilmoth, Brittany Ward and Christine Szabo. Bradshaw was particularly close with Fowler, and had a connection where they both knew where the other was going to be next on the court. Bradshaw, who was named to the A10 Third Team and All-Defensive team, said that connection has already begun with the freshmen, as her role changes into more of a teaching role. “The biggest change for me as a leader is that I have to teach a lot more,” Bradshaw said. “And to be able to teach, you have to have trust, (the freshmen) have to trust the things you are saying. “So that goes into spending time with them, getting to know them, just being genuine and last year, I had so many seniors that knew me very well, I knew them very well, we already had that established trust… I think this year it’s been a concerted effort of all of ours that we continue to build that trust… on and off the court.” For the Flyers to succeed this season, building trust among the team is at the forefront of those plans. Another part of their chance at success is the play from the players outside the three seniors - Whalen, Bradshaw and guard Jenna Giacone - starting with junior forward Kyla Whitehead. Last year, Whitehead averaged 29.4 minutes, 7.2 points, 6.2 rebounds per game and
shot 50.6 percent from the field. Whitehead was also named to the A10 Third Team, but said the expectations - along with the Flyers projected to finish second in the conference “aren’t that high” for her. “Personally, those aren’t high at all for me,” Whitehead said. “Third (Team) is not that high for me, second is definitely not high, especially when we’re the reigning champs. I don’t think that we pay too much attention to those (projections) because honestly, it’s other people’s opinions on us, so our job is to do our work on the court… We make it a point not to get into politics, because at the end of the day it’s about who goes out on that court and works the hardest.” Whitehead’s competitive drive is something the whole team has taken to heart through this difficult off-season. Even with the difficulties of finding a gym, Whitehead was able to work on bodyweight strength training and ball handling before she was able to get back on the court. Since practices have begun - and even going back to last season - Whitehead’s partnership with her fellow forward, sophomore Mariah Perez, will be important in building the Flyers’ post presence. “I think this will be a great year for (Perez),” Whitehead said. “She had a lot of people to look up to last year, we had a lot of post seniors in our group, and I think that helped her mentally. She’s always willing to work
hard, always asking questions, always eager to learn, she’s never afraid to be wrong, and I think that’s great for her. And we gel together pretty well on and off the court, and that’s what you want with your teammates. So I’m excited to see what she’s doing this year.” Similarly to her connection with Perez is Whitehead’s relationship with Tenin Magassa is tough because of the language barrier - English is Magassa’s third language, according to Whitehead - but Magassa is “willing to learn” and is adjusting to life in the United States. For Magassa, Whitehead and the rest of the team, a major adjustment this year has been off-season work. White Whalen worked on a lot of her all-around game - ball handling, coming off screens, making reads, being “bigger” on the offensive end and being a leader overall - with a trainer she had worked with since eighth grade, Bradshaw watched film, worked on a consistent three-point and mid-range shot, off-ball screens and finishing in the lane at a Next Level gym at home in Boston, Mass. Even with all the improvements the players made individually over the summer, head coach Green said the team worked on growing as a team and building chemistry with so many new players. But with the first game approaching on Nov. 25 at Morehead State, there are still some areas Green hopes to see improvement in. “We still have a lot to get in,” Green said. “With having limited time in the pre-season, we don’t have everything in that we normally would, but we’re just really trying to, especially with eight new kids - we’re just trying to be really solid with what we do, and that’s our defense and our core principles defensively. “And then offensively, really flowing from our transition to our half-court offense is what I would like to get a little bit cleaner, but we’re just gonna have to start the year with having a couple things that we normally would have done.” Green added that while there’s still some “extra stuff” to work on, the main focus is on the core principles on offense and defense. With the first game nearing, Green and her team are honing in and relying on the leadership of the three seniors, who Green called “unbelievable” and who know “what it takes… what needs to be done.” While the Flyers open with two road games (Nov. 25 at Morehead State, Dec. 2 at Illinois State), their first home game will be played on Dec. 6 against Central Michigan at UD Arena. With the right mix of youth and veteran experience, the Flyers could live up to or even surpass their projected second-place finish in the A10 and a chance at their fourth regular season A10 championship in five seasons.
SPORTS FLYER NEWS || THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL MEN’S BASKETBALL Catching up with Coach Green Coach Grant on 2020-21 season PETER BURTNETT Sports Editor Zoom calls, a lack of time, an accelerated process and uncertainty have been the framework of an unprecedented off-season for women’s basketball coach Shauna Green and her team. Coming off an A10 regular season and tournament championship, the University of Dayton women’s basketball team was at the heights heading into the 2020 NCAA tournament. Now, six seniors are gone, the off-season was disjointed, and uncertainty reigns as the 2020-21 season is set to begin Nov. 25. That start date is the extent of our knowledge on concrete scheduling, leaving a lot of work for Green and her eight new players, five of which are true freshmen. But the experience of the three starters who do return - Araion Bradshaw, Kyla Whitehead and Erin Whalen - will help the team adjust to carry over any momentum left over from last year. “I think that’s where you’re returning players come in and are really important,” Green said. “They know, through the struggles early on, and what it took to win. The work, the consistent work, every single day, and that grind and the mindset that it takes in order to do what we did… the question now is, how fast can we get… all the newcomers up to speed and on board and right where (the veterans) are.” Green said taking things one day at a time, laying the foundation and working on the fundamentals have been key in helping to accelerate the adjustment process for the new players. So far, the team has been limited to just eight hours a week of practice, but beginning Oct. 14 that will increase to the regular 20 hours. In the practices leading up to now, practice was mostly individual skill work, but has recently shifted to more team work in 2-hour practices, four times a week. “(Once we increase to 20 hours) We’ll have more time to go over some of the details,” Green said. “We do a lot of film session stuff, and we just aren’t able to do it right now because of the hour restriction. And that will be the biggest thing, practices won’t change as much, it’s gonna be more individual work off the court.” More practices will allow Green to get more answers from her players, but one thing that won’t be answered is scheduling, which has been a struggle for athletic directors around the US. While the Flyers still have a “core set of games,” they lost out on a tournament, throwing a “wrench into a lot of things,” including waiting for a decision from the A10 on whether conference play will be 16 or 18 games. “No matter how long you’ve been coaching, no one’s been through this,” Green said. “There’s no playbook right now, things are un-
Photo courtesy of Griffin Quinn. PETER BURTNETT Sports Editor
Photo courtesy of Keegan Gupta. answered and this year, we don’t know what it’s gonna look like. You gotta be very flexible, one day at a time, they gotta focus on what they can control.” As the team moves into the month that remains between now and the tentative start of the season Nov. 25, they come out of an off-season characterized by trials. Perhaps none has been more challenging and polarizing as the fight for racial justice and an end to systemic racism. One player, fifth-year senior Araion Bradshaw, has led the charge at UD, creating “Athletes for Change.” “We’ve dealt with it and talked and communicated about it since really when everything happened with George Floyd, his murder is what really set it off,” Green said. “We weren’t all together (physically), but we were able to get together via Zoom and have discussions and let people share their feelings if they wanted to, and to just talk.” Since then, the team has taken steps forward in education on racial inequality and teamed up with the men’s basketball team to give players an opportunity to use their voice. Green said to expect some “different things throughout the season” to keep the discussion going.
For reigning consensus National Coach of the Year Anthony Grant, the off-season he and the rest of the UD men’s basketball team faced this year was unlike anything else he’s ever experienced as they prepare for the 202021 season to start Nov. 25. “I’ve never been through a pandemic,” Grant said. “And with everything that took place surrounding the pandemic, with everything that’s taken place surrounding the social injustice in our society, and then trying to re-acclimate our players and our student body back on campus, it’s been a year unlike any other.” Now through the pandemic, Grant said the goal was to “find a way to help,” while their battle regarding social issues centered around education and supporting those in need. The biggest positive he found was the willingness to learn through all the layers that come with societal issues. “I would say the willingness to have a conversation (was the biggest positive),” Grant said. “I think that’s probably where you would like to see all of our society get (to). To understand, let me be willing to listen and keep an open mind in terms of different people’s vantage point in terms of where we’re at, where we’ve been as a society and as a country, the history, because I think it impacts what we’re doing today and it will impact the future.” Grant said his athletes have been willing to converse on important issues with each other and the student body at large on how to make an impact. “(Moving forward) just trying to be fully present and fully aware of the changing environment we’re in,” Grant said. While the team deals with what has happened to people of color more recently, and historically, they continue to educate themselves and have conversations with the right
people in front of them, but don’t have a checklist of how they plan to address social issues moving forward. “I don’t think there’s anything we can say (like) we’re gonna check a box on this issue or this subject,” Grant said. “I think that would be naive on anybody’s part to think you could do that, or that one thing’s gonna make a difference. There’s a lot (to go over) as a team, as a university, as a society, our conference… we’ll just try to come together and figure out where we can help be a part of positive change and help our guys be able to use their voice and understand the impact they can have because of…(the people) that we maybe have a chance to impact with the way we go about what we do. So we’ll see what type of opportunities (our platform) brings, and try to make the most of those opportunities.” As the Flyers continue to fight for a real change, they will also be competing for wins as the preparation for the 2020-21 season ramps up, with hours allowed for team practice going from eight to 20 hours per week starting today, Oct. 14. Veteran leadership is equally as important on the court as it is off. For Jalen Crutcher, Rodney Chatman, Ibi Watson, Jordy Tshimanga, and Camron Greer, their final year of eligibility at UD has been more up-and-down than perhaps any other team has ever experienced. From the heights of a 29-2 season to the trials of this off-season, Grant said this group of veterans is “really good at understanding” to live in the moment, whatever that moment brings. “We have to live in the moment, live in the present,” Grant said. “I think that allowed us to have the success we had last year, so I think these guys will be able to go off that experience.” With the experience that comes from the five seniors - along with veterans like Dwayne Cohill, Chase Johnson - will come the leadership that will be needed to acclimate three true freshmen (Koby Brea, Luke Frazier and R.J. Blakney), a transfer (Elijah Weaver from USC) and several young players with little playing experience, like redshirt freshmen Moulaye Sissoko and Zimi Nwokeji. “We’ve got a group of first-year guys that weren’t necessarily a part of what happened last year,” Grant said. “And I think it would be really unfair to them if we blow too much on that.” Grant also said it would be a “grave injustice” to base this year’s expectations off last year’s success, and that every new season brings a “whole new team.” For the Flyers to have success again this year, the veteran experience - for which there is no substitute - familiarity with team culture, and helping the young guys along the learning curve, will be the staples of a successful 2020-21 season after such a unique and trying off-season.
FLYER NEWS || THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19
MEN’S BASKETBALL Four Flyers named in A10 Recruting campaign yields highly-ranked class preseason all-conference teams
PETER BURTNETT Sports Editor The A10 released their all-conference teams for men’s and women’s basketball this week, with four Flyers (3 women, 1 man) named to the teams. The pre-season polls were also released, with the Flyers women tabbed to finish second and the men to finish third. Three University of Dayton women’s basketball players were named to the teams, and the Flyers were tabbed to finish second in the A10. Jalen Crutcher was the only men’s basketball player named to an all-conference team, while the team was picked to finish third. Of the three women’s basketball players, redshirt senior Erin Whalen was named to the First Team Preseason All-Conference team, while fellow redshirt senior Araion Bradshaw was named to the Third Team and All-Defensive teams. Junior forward Kyla Whitehead joined Bradshaw on the Third Team. Whalen led the returning players from the 2019-20 team in points per game with 12.2 points, and added 4.8 rebounds per game. Bradshaw averaged 5.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game, while Whitehead averaged 7.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 1 block per game in the Flyers’ A10 regular- and post-season championship season. With two first-place votes, the Flyers women are predicted to finish behind favorite VCU, who received 10. The Flyers are favored just ahead of third place Saint Louis, and a 3-way tie for fourth (Davidson, Duqesne and Fordham). Meanwhile, senior guard Jalen Crutcher was named to the First Team All-A10. Crutcher already holds an All-American preseason honor, named to the Second Team by Stadium. Crutcher also ranks 34th in Sports Illustrated’s listing of the Top 50 players in the 2020-21 season. Crutcher led Dayton in minutes (33.7), assists (4.9) three-pointers (2.4 per game), 3-pt. FG% (.468, 147-314) and FT% (.869, 86-99), and was second in scoring (15.1) in the Flyers’ historic 2019-20 season. The men’s team was picked to finish third with 318 voting points, behind Richmond (380 votes, 19 first-place) and Saints Louis (364, 7), and just ahead of St. Bonaventure in fourth (307).
Following a victory at UD Arena, Anthony Grant embraces Jalen Crutcher, his first recruit since taking over as Head Coach. Photo courtesy of Griffin Quinn. LUC ALMEDA Sports Staff Writer Head Coach Anthony Grant and the Dayton men’s basketball team have been igniting the recruiting trail since the abrupt halt of the 2019-20 season. Since late August, Grant has welcomed to his team four huge commitments from players in the 2021 class. The most notable of the three, DaRon Holmes, comes as UD’s top recruit in program history. Holmes, a 6-foot-8 power forward from Arizona, chose the Flyers over Arizona, Marquette and California. During his first three seasons at Millennium High School in his home state of Arizona, Holmes established himself as one of the premier high school basketball players in the state. He was named Arizona Gatorade Player of the Year after his junior season with Millennium. He currently ranks within the top-50 players on three recruiting sites. Holmes is 36th in the class of 2021 in the Rivals.com rankings, 46th in the ESPN 100 and 49th in the 247Sports.com rankings. Holmes has been praised for his multi-dimensional game and work-ethic, something that he knows Coach Grant values as well. He took to Instagram and Twitter to announce his decision, and later wrote an exclusive blog with Sports Illustrated to explain his decision. “Coach Grant really showed me how they could really elevate my game and put me in position to be successful. I know that I have to buy-in and work hard and that’s the only focus for me in going there,” Holmes said. He will spend his senior year in Florida at
Montverde Academy. The Arizona native will join a notable list of Montverde Men, such as NBA stars D’Angelo Russell, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. In 2017, their basketball program was named the best basketball program of the decade by USA Today. After a year at Montverde, Holmes will call UD his home. “I’m just excited right now, it’s been a long process for me, but at the end of the day I just felt like the staff there and the culture was a perfect fit for me,” Holmes said. Along with Holmes, Dayton recently landed three other highly ranked players in the class of 2021. Kaleb Washington, a 6-foot-7 small forward from Georgia, joined after Holmes announced, when Dayton landed two four-stars in three days. He chose Dayton atop a list of 11 other schools. The lanky forward has raw and unfilled potential, something that Dayton’s program proved they could capitalize on with Obi Toppin. ESPN recruiting analyst Adam Finkelstein had high praise for Washington, but issued the same sentiment about tapping his potential. “[Washington is] a jumbo 6-foot-7 wing with a ton of upside. Washington is long and athletic with good positional size and some signs of tremendous potential. But he’s not a finished product yet and needs to get more consistent. Dayton obviously has a strong recent track record of player development,” Finkelstein said. Besides the back-to-back decisions in October, Malachi Smith, a 6-foot combo guard from The Bronx, New York, decided to be-
come a Flyer in late August. Smith is the fourth-best player in New York according to 247sports.com, and the guard fielded offers from schools such as Georgetown, Oklahoma State and Rutgers before choosing Dayton. The addition of Smith brings welcome memories for the Flyer Faithful. He is the younger brother of former Dayton phenom Scoochie Smith. Scoochie, a name revered all over Dayton, helped Dayton to four straight NCAA tournament appearances before he graduated in 2017. Regardless of his brother’s legacy in Dayton, Malachi told Dayton Daily News that the decision to join the Flyers was his own. “They’re a good fit,” Malachi said. “I had a good feeling. Everybody was telling me you’re going to have that one school to keep in the back of your head. For me, it was Dayton. I trust coach (Anthony) Grant, the national coach of the year.” Finally, 6-foot-9 power forward Mustapha Amzil announced his commitment to UD Monday. Amzil, originally from Finland, will spend the rest of the year at First Love Christian Academy in Washington, Penn. Although he is classified as the 306th overall recruit in 2021 according to Rivals, Amzil will be filling the Flyers’ final scholarship position when he enrolls early in January. Sophomore forward Zimi Nwokeji did the same last year, and redshirted the season but gained valuable experience by practicing with the team. It is no doubt that Coach Grant and Dayton’s success last season played a role in this year’s efficient recruiting trail, but Dayton knew that Grant’s recruiting was a strong suit of his from the jump. Coach Grant will look to continue the program’s recent recruiting success, and a productive 2020-21 season won’t hurt. The strong class - besides Amzil - will join Dayton to start the 2021-22 season. The team will have a much different look without four-year starter Jalen Crutcher, fifth-year senior Ibi Watson, two of the team leaders and impact players. Both Rodney Chatman and Jordy Tshimanga will be out of eligibility as well. After the three 2021 commits, Dayton still has two open scholarships for the 202122 season. The four youngsters could play a vital role right away. They will be accompanied by former four-star recruit Elijah Weaver, who is required to sit out this year after transferring from USC. The Flyers now rank 20th in 247’s team rankings, ahead of powerhouse programs like Duke, Kansas, North Carolina, and fellow mid-major Gonzaga. Dayton is shaping up to be a consistent tournament squad and a nationally prominent team under Coach Grant, proving that his hiring was a sharp decision by UD.
FLYER NEWS || THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19
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Photos courtesy of Dayton Athletics.
FLYER NEWS || THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19
Rebounding from a historic season PETER BURTNETT Sports Editor As the calendar passes the regular start of the men’s college basketball season, the Dayton Flyers have yet to play a game but are practicing and preparing for the season to start, whenever that is. A key factor in that preparation is the experienced players who return from last year’s 29-2 team, which was one weekend away from a likely No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament before the COVID-19 sports shutdown occurred. Of the returning starters, fifth-year seniors Ibi Watson, Jordy Tshimanga and Rodney Chatman, and senior Jalen Crutcher will be key starters for head coach Anthony Grant, and joined Grant in a media availability session Nov. 5. In that session, Watson led off by highlighting the importance of building chemistry with the team and leading the young guys. “Practices have been great so far,” Watson said. “We’re just, you know, trying to build chemistry with the guys who have already been here and then also help along, help lead the young guys and get them ready for what we’re trying to go, go do this year.” The 6-foot-5 guard Watson, who averaged 22.6 minutes, 10.1 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game in 31 games played, has a lot of building expectations this year, and is considered one of the breakout candidates in the Atlantic 10, but doesn’t let the expectations get to him. “Me, I just lose myself in each day,” Watson said. “I’m trying to get better. You know, my biggest thing is just trying to improve every single day. So, you know, I’ll just lose myself in that. I don’t really think too much about the expectations and just trust in my work and my teammates and my coaches and I’m, you know, I try to try to think of myself, less than just think about how I can help the team win.” With the losses of National Player of the Year Obi Toppin and senior glue guys Trey Landers and Ryan Mikesell, the role of players like Watson and Jordy Tshimanga has increased. For Tshimanga, the excitement is building as the practices ramp up and the start of the season nears. “(Practice is) going well, you know, we have a whole new different group of young guys as well,” Tshimanga said. “So we’re learning every day and just taking day by day, you’re ready in three weeks. I’m excited.” Part of the adjustment in this tough time for someone with a personality like Tshimanga is adjusting to life in quarantine. “It’s hard, you know, because I’m a people’s person,” Tshimanga said. “I like to be out and about and see faces, talking to other people, you know, that’s that’s that’s what I live for, seeing happiness and I haven’t been seeing that a lot. So, you know, it’s been kind
Jalen Crutcher returns for his last season at UD. Photo courtesy of Griffin Quinn. of down for me a little bit. But, you know, like everything in life. We have to adjust. So I’m trying to do that right now.” Another adjustment will be on the court, where the 6-foot-11 center will likely be playing more minutes than his 9.8 minutes per game last year. Tshimanga averaged 3 points, 2.4 rebounds, and blocked 13 shots in 27 games played. Without the post players of Toppin and Mikesell, Tshimanga will likely partner with junior Chase Johnson in the frontcourt, but his experience will be an important part of the Flyers’ success this year. “Yo know, veterans and guys that’s been through it and nobody has been through what we’ve been through this year, you know, (with) COVID,” Tshimanga said. “Nobody in college, I think, for the past 50 years has been through this. So it’s new for everybody. You know that format is new for all of us. So we still are learning to adapt to it. But, you know, as far as a team, while we got a lot of veterans that know the game and that have played at this level for a couple years, they can help be kind of a mentor to the young guys in the group.” By providing “tips and tricks” to young fellow post players like redshirt freshmen Zimi Ngokeji and Moulaye Sissoko, Tshimanga has provided positive reinforcements and been a voice for the young guys on the team. Three of those young guys are true freshman guards Koby Brea and Luke Frazier, along with guard/forward R.J. Blakney. The experience of Rodney Chatman and Jalen Crutcher will be important for the growth of these young players this season. For Chatman, he worked on his own game often this offseason, even without summer practices at UD. The 6-foot-1 guard from Lithonia, Ga., was able to workout at a church gym with his dad. “Yeah, so my finishing around the basket, you know, last year, I really didn’t have to focus on scoring a lot,” Chatman said. “So it wasn’t
my thing, but you know finishing, getting to the rim, using the strength of my body, you know, to shield guys off...being more physical, creating more contact, drawing more fouls. “And also just my shooting, catch-andshoot and also off-the-dribble. That’s something I’ve worked on, and my play-making also, you know, I just worked on my allaround game, scoring, passing. “So really just using my body. You know, I have a big frame, big shoulders, so I’m just using that as my advantage to get, you know, smaller guards or not so strong bigs on my shoulder and just being able to finish.” The final guard in the Watson-Chatman-Crutcher tandem is the 6-foot-1 guard from Memphis, Tenn., who leads returning players in minutes per game (33.7), points (15.1), assists (4.9), three-point field goal (42.4) and free throw percentage (86.9). With many tabbing Crutcher as the A10 Player of the Year, the largest amount of hype rests in the hands of Clutcher - err, Crutcher - who knocked down several key shots in the closing seconds of games last year. The Memphis, Tenn., native has also been named to the Bob Cousy Award (best PG in college basketball) preseason watch list. “Just staying humble and staying poised like I always be on the court and off the court (is how I manage those expectations),” Crutcher said. “It’s mostly just staying poised.” Part of staying poised is being ready for extenuating circumstances, which helps Crutcher (and the team) be ready for whatever comes next. “Yeah, definitely, that’s what Coach Grant’s been trying to install in us, like just, you know, making sure that we already, no matter what happens,” Crutcher said. “So we’ve just been coming to practice and trying to work as hard as we can and get better.” Over his four years at UD, Crutcher has gone from a “soft-spoken” player to a true leader and will be a voice for the young guys on the team like fellow guards Brea, Frazier,
and Blakney, and his role has changed “a lot.” “It’s changed a lot because I have to use my voice, a lot more than I had, you know, in the years I’ve been here,” Crutcher said. “When I first came in, I was the younger guy. Now I’m the older guy so now I have to, you know, make sure they doing the right thing and make sure they are ready for when the game comes.” For the young guys, meshing into Grant’s team has been a focus for the head coach, who said the process has felt like putting two different teams together. “We’ve got a nice group of veterans that have experience and understand our system,” Grant said. “And then we’ve got a brand new group that really hasn’t been through it before. They’re still trying to figure out how to compete at this level and then learning a system offensively and defensively. “So it’s almost, you know, two different groups, two different teams. I’m trying to get them to balance each other out a little bit and then, you know, trying to think about how we can put some of the pieces together to become the best version of ourselves. So it’s still a process. I wish I couldn’t tell you that I right now on November 5 I have a lot of answers. I got a lot more questions than I do answers.” Even with the questions Grant has, the team he has at UD is set to reach at least a taste of the success from last year. The likely rotation for the Flyers is three in the backcourt (Chatman, Crutcher, Watson) and two frontcourt bigs (Tshimanga and junior forward Chase Johnson), along with a deep but inexperienced bench. At the guard position, the Flyers looked solid off the bench, especially with the return of junior guard Dwayne Cohill. However, an ACL injury has now sidelined Cohill for the entire season, leaving the Flyers with little experience off the bench. Senior guard Camron Greer and redshirt junior Christian Wilson combined for just 43 total minutes played, and the Flyers are left with true freshmen Brea, Frazier, and guard/ forward R.J. Blakney. In the frontcourt, the Flyers have less depth and experience. With the return of Chase Johnson - who averaged 5.1 points, 2.8 rebounds and 11.1 minutes per game in 8 games played - the Flyers return a forward with experience after playing parts of two seasons at Florida before transferring to UD in 2019. Behind Johnson and Tshimanga are redshirt freshmen Zimi Ngokeji and Moulaye Sissoko, who have yet to play a minute for the Flyers. The 6-foot-7 Ngokeji and 6-foot-9 Sissoko will likely be bolstered by true freshman Blakney. If each of the five projected starters (Chatman, Crutcher, Watson, Johnson, Tshimanga) remain healthy, the Flyers should be in a good position to finish among the best teams in the A10.
FLYER NEWS || THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19
Toppin drafted No. 8 overall by New York Knicks PETER BURTNETT Sports Editor With the No. 8 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft Wednesday night, the New York Knicks selected former UD men’s basketball forward Obi Toppin, making him the highest selection for the Flyers since 1955. Over eight months since playing his last game at UD Arena against George Washington on March 7, Toppin’s selection is the culmination of years of work, from receiving no DI offers to playing a prep year at Mt. Zion Preparatory School, and finally to the incredible 2019-20 season at UD. Although the 29-2 record the Flyers racked up was spoiled by the cancellation of first the Atlantic 10 tournament and then the NCAA Tournament, Toppin’s incredible season bolstered him to being the consensus National Player of the Year. Toppin’s career at UD began with a academic redshirt in his freshman year in 201718, before an injury to Josh Cunningham cleared the way for Toppin to play in 33 games, making 15 starts, as a sophomore. Toppin had solid numbers in 2018-19, averaging 26.5 minutes, 14.4 points, and 5.6 rebounds per game, while shooting 67 percent from the field and making 11 of 21 three-pointers. The Flyers finished 21-12, but coming into 2019-20, the script would be flipped and Toppin would lead the University of Dayton into the national spotlight. Winning the first five games – one over No. 1 overall draft pick Anthony Edwards and Georgia in Maui – Toppin and the Flyers flew into the Maui Invitational Final against Kansas. Toppin scored 24 points and grabbed 8 rebounds in a hard-fought 90-84 loss in overtime. Even with the loss, the Flyers gained national respect, jumping into the polls to the No. 19 spot. They won the next four games before losing on a last-second three-pointer against Colorado again in overtime (78-76) to go to 9-2. Next, the run Toppin and the Flyers went on will long be remembered by Flyers fans. Winning game-after-game and climbing in the polls, the Flyers won the next 20 games (the best in college basketball) and rose as high as No. 3 in the AP Poll. The Flyers also became the first team to finish 18-0 in A10 play and cut down the nets for winning the A10 regular season championship on March 7. When the season concluded prematurely soon after that March 7 game against George Washington, Toppin had finished playing all 31 games, averaging 31.7 minutes, 20 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. Toppin was also highly efficient from the field, shooting 63.3 percent from the field and
39 percent on three-pointers. He led the nation in dunks, which ranged from windmills to between-the-legs to 360s, in a flurry of moves that intensified the roar in UD Arena. Now, with his selection by the with the No. 8 overall pick, Toppin is pegged by most experts to plug in right away as the most NBA-ready player in this draft class and will get to stay in his hometown of the New York metro area (from Brooklyn). It will be interesting to see how Toppin plugs into a team with a “logjam of bigs,” per ESPN’s Jay Williams, with Julius Randle, Taj Gibson, Bobby Portis and Kevin Knox. Pairing with 2019 No. 3 overall pick R.J. Barrett and guards Frank Ntilikina and fellow high-flyer Dennis Smith Jr. (2019 NBA Dunk Contest participant) could be fun to watch. For now, the emotions were a lot to handle for Toppin, who teared up when talking to ESPN reporter Malika Andrews about whether he would have believed his mom, Roni, about his selection just a few years ago. “I wouldn’t believe her,” Toppin said, with tears streaming down his face. “I swear to God I wouldn’t believe her. It’s just – I’m sorry.” Roni said she thought it would have been an April Fool’s joke, per Andrews, who asked Toppin how he processes his lottery pick selection. “It’s a blessing,” Toppin said, pressing back tears. “Without God, I wouldn’t be here. Without my parents I wouldn’t be here, without my teammate right here to the left of me, I wouldn’t be here, I appreciate you bro. Jalen Crutcher, shout out to Jalen Crutcher, I wouldn’t be here without him. “To my coaches right here in the back, coach (Anthony) Grant, coach (Ricardo) Greer, I would not be here without them. I’m very grateful, and it’s a blessing to be in this position.” When Andrews asked how important it was to be putting on a Knicks jersey, it was met by applause from his mom, Roni. “I’m from New York, that’s why it’s important,” Toppin said. “Me repping my city, it’s amazing. A lot of people pray to be in this position, I’m not gonna take it for granted, I promise you that.” Toppin is the second-highest drafted A10 player ever after No. 2 overall pick in 1996, Marcus Camby. Johnny Horan was drafted sixth overall by the Fort Wayne Pistons in 1955. Toppin’s contract is worth $22.2 million, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. The Knicks also drafted guard Immanuel Quickley from Kentucky with the No. 25 overall pick, acquired in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Obi Toppin becomes the highest overall selection for UD since 1955 with his No. 8 overall selection by the New York Knicks. Photo courtesy of Griffin Quinn.
2021 March Madness to be held in one geographic area PETER BURTNETT Sports Editor Due to the consistent and growing threat of COVID-19, the NCAA announced Monday the 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, or March Madness, will be held in one geographic location, per release. In the NCAA release, the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee has worked on a contingency plan to conduct a “safe and healthy March Madness for all participants for the 2021 championship.” The NCAA staff is in preliminary talks with the state of Indiana and the city of Indianapolis to move the 68-team tournament to the state capital, where the Final Four was already scheduled to take place April 3-5, 2021. This change would take away hosting privileges for 13 host sites, including Dayton, where the First Four takes place every year. “My committee colleagues and I did not come lightly to the difficult decision to relocate the preliminary rounds of the 2021 tournament, as we understand the disappointment 13 communities will feel to miss out on being part of March Madness next year,” said Mitch Barnhart, chair of the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee and University of Kentucky athletics director. “With the University of Kentucky slated to host first- and second-round games in March, this is something that directly impacts our school and community, so we certainly share in their regret. The committee and staff deeply appreciate the efforts of all the host institutions and conferences, and we look forward to bringing the tournament back to the
impacted sites in future years.” The committee emphasized the importance of hosting the tournament in one geographic location to provide a “safe and controlled environment with competition and practice venues, medical resources and lodging for teams and officials all within proximity of one another.” “We have learned so much from monitoring other successful sporting events in the last several months, and it became clear it’s not feasible to manage this complex championship in so many different states with the challenges presented by the pandemic,” said Dan Gavitt, NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball. “However, we are developing a solid plan to present a safe, responsible and fantastic March Madness tournament unlike any other we’ve experienced.” “The committee and staff have thoughtfully monitored the pandemic to develop potential contingency plans,” said Mark Emmert, NCAA President. “The Board of Governors and my top priorities are to protect the health and well-being of college athletes while also maintaining their opportunity to compete at the highest level. These principles have guided the decision-making process as we continue to assess how to have a fair and safe championship experience.” Although this move would take the First Four games (or Opening Round) away from UD Arena for the first time since 2000, the close proximity between Dayton and Indianapolis (2-hour drive) would allow Flyers fans to easily attend the tournament if fans are allowed.