2007-08 Dayton Basketball Preview
Overall Rank: #41
Conference Rank: #2 A-10
2006-07: 19-12, 8-8, 7th (t)
2006-07 postseason: none
How does a team like Dayton go from 8-8 in the conference to an NCAA Tournament bid? It all starts with experience. The flyers had two freshmen starting last year, including at the all important point guard position. The lack of experience caused problems last year especially down the stretch in close games. That should be less of a concern this year and stealing away a few victories here and there is enough to put Dayton squarely on the bubble. Add one of the best recruits to ever suit for up for the Flyers and Coach Brian Gregory has some high expectations to deal with.
Desmond Adedeji and Norman Plummer are transferring. Plummer played a big role off the bench and averaged 8.2 points and 4.8 rebounds. Little used Nick Stafford has graduated and walk-on Matt Hogan has opted to concentrate on academics this year. While Plummer is a loss, what has fans worried is the loss of Monty Scott. The senior forward averaged 10.0 points and 4.4 rebounds during his senior campaign and will go down in history as one of the Dayton greats.
What makes the absence of Scott less of a concern is the addition of Chris Wright. Wright is one of the best athletes in the class. He is a great, great recruiting pickup for the Flyers and any team in the nation would be happy to have him. Wright does not have the greatest ballhandling skills or the best shot, but he will have some spectacular finishes in transition. The 6-8 Trotwood, Ohio product will work hard on the glass and it will be a huge attribute for Dayton to have a 6-8 rebounder on the wing. Lost among the hype of Wright are a few more quality recruits who could make an impact this season. Power forward Devin Searcy has the size and strength to battle in the paint as a freshman. He will add more strength as his career progresses, but Searcy has the skills on the offensive and defensive ends to be a contributor right away. The last incoming freshman is point guard Stephen Thomas. Thomas is not a flashy player or a quick player, but he is a smart pass-first point guard who knows how to get the job done. Mickey Perry, a transfer from Wisconsin, will be eligible to play at the semester break. The 6-2 sophomore redshirted his first year with the Badgers and only saw limited action in seven contests last season before opting to transfer. Perry is a good scorer and can do some rebounding and passing as well. It may take him some time to get into the flow of the game once he is eligible, but Perry will be a significant contributor by the time March rolls around. The final newcomer is junior college transfer Thiago Cordeiro. The 6-9 Brazilian continued to improve during his tenure at Barton County Community College and will add some scoring and rebounding to the frontcourt.
Who to Watch:
London Warren took over the point guard duties late last season and the sophomore hopes to improve on his 2.5 assists and 1.9 turnovers per game this time around. Warren may be the most important player on the team as he tries to develop into a more consistent point guard, but having Brian Roberts, Marcus Johnson and Andres Sandoval in the backcourt certainly will make it easier. Roberts is the big scorer on the team and averaged 18.5 points last season. He is a terrific outside shooter and even led the team in assists. Johnson is a great scorer, but never really found his shot as a freshman. His athleticism will get him to the basket and he will score around the rim when he cannot find his stroke.
Kurt Huelsman was the only player to start all 31 games for the Flyers…and he was just a freshman. The 6-10 center will not put up big numbers, but he will work hard on both ends of the floor. The scoring up front is done by power forward Charles Little. At 6-6, Little is a little, well little, but he makes up for it with his strength and toughness. He averaged 10.5 points and a team high 5.2 rebounds last year and big things are expected from him now that he is an upperclassman. Jimmie Binnie’s versatility adds another dynamic to the team. He is a great shooter, but the 6-7, 211 pound Iowa native is also extremely tough and will battle with anybody on the glass. With the addition of the newcomers, Binnie may see his minutes decrease and that is a great sign of the team’s depth. Once everybody figures out their new roles on this team, Dayton will be extremely dangerous.
Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
London Warren, Sophomore, Guard, 2.4 points per game
Brian Roberts, Senior, Guard, 18.5 points per game
Chris Wright, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season
Charles Little, Junior, Forward, 10.5 points per game
Kurt Huelsman, Sophomore, Center, 3.8 points per game