Scouting Report: Dayton

This has been a down year for the Flyers. So far, Dayton, who was touted by many at the beginning of the season as the Atlantic 10’s top team. However, this perception was based on several false conclusions. The first of these is that  Brian Gregory is a good coach. Gregory drew much interest after his team took home the NIT title. Gregory said no to major conference programs such as Boston College, Iowa and Rutgers. This interest is misguided because these athletic directors do not have as much intimate knowledge of the Dayton program as those of us who follow the Atlantic 10. Dayton has largely underperformed in each of his seasons despite grabbing big time recruits.

In seven seasons, Dayton has made the big dance only twice, one of which being the year Gregory inherited the program from Oliver Purnell. Gregory has largely succeeded in getting highly touted recruits to come to the gem city.The only problem is that most of these players never actualize their potential. The usual reason is because the players are not mentally tough, for example SENIOR point guard Rob Lowery punching Tu Holloway in the arm right in front of an official in the Atlantic 10 tournament costing the Flyers the game.

Case in point is senior power forward Chris Wright. Wright is the team’s leading scorer and rebounder but lacks the leadership and consistency to be a truly great player. The big man has the body of an athletic bruising four but plays like he is a two-guard. On offense he tries to drive to the basket like he is LeBron James but he does not have the ball handling skills to pull it off regularly. On the defensive end his game suffers with Wright’s constant desire to produce highlight reel blocks which prevents him from playing solid man on man defense. Despite this he is an excellent rebounder on that end as opposed to on offense where usually Wright is too far from the basket to make a difference.

His unwillingness to post up on offense costs his team greatly considering the quality guard play of freshman Juwan Staten. Staten sees the floor well and is among the nation’s leaders in assist rate. He already is the Flyers’ best player and has provided a T.J. McConnell like spark to the team.  The second best player is swing man Chris Johnson does everything well but is not particularly good at any one aspect of the game. He extends the defense with his capable three point shooting and has been troublesome to Duquesne in the past.

Tomorrow’s game will likely be decided by which team plays smarter. If the Dukes can play their game, force turnovers and apply pressure they should be able to win. That’s because Dayton tends to fall into the run and gun game of Duquesne when they play. The reason for that, as seems to be a trend, is that Dayton is not a smart team whereas Duquesne can be a smart team. Duquesne should have won both contests against the Flyers last season, and hopefully the Dukes can sweep these clowns this year.

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