Dayton head coach Archie Miller’s rotation got substantially smaller Wednesday afternoon, as it was first reported by David Jablonski of the Dayton Daily News that big men Devon Scott and Jalen Robinson have been dismissed from the program. With 6-foot-11 freshman Steve McElvene having to sit out the season as a partial qualifier, the Flyers will move forward without the two tallest players on their active roster.
According to a report by ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman, the two players were dismissed as a result of their involvement in a “trespassing incident in the dorms in which they allegedly stole money.”
“I’m extremely disappointed in Jalen and Devon. Their actions do not reflect the behavior we want in our program.” Miller said in a release announcing the decision. “Our student-athletes are given every opportunity to be successful on and off the court. Despite ample opportunity to do so, their actions demonstrate they chose not to take advantage of that.
“More important than wins and losses, it’s about members of our program being committed to represent the University of Dayton in the manner we all expect.”
Scott started all nine games for Dayton, averaging 9.1 points and a team-best 7.4 rebounds per contest. While the 6-foot-9 senior was relatively quiet in games against Eastern Michigan (three points, four rebounds) on December 6 and Arkansas (six points, eight rebounds) December 13, Scott posted three double-doubles in his last five games.
As for Robinson, he averaged 3.2 points and 2.4 rebounds in just over 15 minutes of action per game with all nine of his appearances coming off the bench. His most productive outing of the season came in Dayton’s win over Eastern Michigan, as he scored eight points and grabbed three rebounds in 17 minutes of action.
The dismissal of Scott and Robinson leaves Dayton without an eligible player taller than 6-foot-6, meaning that players such as Dyshawn Pierre (6.0 rpg) and Kendall Pollard (4.6 rpg) become even more important to the Flyers from a rebounding standpoint. However Dayton doesn’t lack for guards, and that may very well mean that the Flyers look to ramp things up from a pressure standpoint in order to account for their lack of size inside.
Dayton returns to action Saturday, as they begin a four-game home stand with a matchup with Boston University.
On the heels of their first Elite Eight appearance in more than 30 years, Archie Miller’s Dayton Flyers are looking to do something they’ve yet to do under his watch: win the Atlantic 10. Last season’s group finished tied for fifth place in the Atlantic 10, and in Miller’s three seasons at the school the Flyers have finished no better than that in the standings.
With contributors such as Jordan Sibert, Dyshawn Pierre and Dayshon “Scoochie” Smith returning, Dayton is expected to contend for the Atlantic 10 crown. In order to do so they’ll need to account for the loss of three starters, led by forward Devin Oliver, and a productive reserve in Vee Sanford. Unfortunately for Dayton they won’t begin practice this weekend with all hands on deck, as three players will be sidelined for health reasons.
David Jablonski of the Dayton Daily News reported earlier this week that Pierre (foot) and Jalen Robinson (ankle) are expected to be sidelined until mid-October, and junior college transfer Detwon Rogers could be out until at least January as he recovers from a knee injury. While Robinson was a supplementary piece for the Flyers last season, averaging 4.3 points and 2.8 rebounds in 12.6 minutes of action per game, Pierre was a starter and is expected to take on a larger role in 2014-15.
“Some of our most experienced everyday workers are no longer here,” Miller said. “You add in new faces and new roles for our younger guys. It just becomes a normal progression of trying to build a brand-new team. We need our oldest players to drive the ship, so to speak. As they get accustomed to new roles, new opportunities to lead, it’s going to be challenging. Each individual’s got to focus on the team at hand and what we’re trying to do and put those self expectations to the side.”
Pierre finished the season averaging 11.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, starting 36 of Dayton’s 37 games and reaching double figures in 22 of his appearances. The “good” news regarding both Pierre and Robinson is that they aren’t expected to miss any game action based upon the reported timeline. However the same can’t be said for Rogers, who 16.7 points and 7.2 rebounds per game at the College of Southern Idaho last season.
While Pierre and Robinson have ample game experience with their teammates that isn’t the case for Rogers, whose adjustment process becomes a bit more difficult due to the injury. Chemistry played a pivotal role in Dayton’s run to make the NCAA tournament, much less enjoy success once they made the field. With the three players above ruled out of the lineup, the remaining Flyers will need to work towards cultivating a similar spirit.
h/t Jon Rothstein
After having their six-game win streak end with a blowout loss to Saint Joseph’s, the Dayton Flyers got back on track with an 86-79 win over UMass on Saturday. Wednesday night provided Archie Miller’s team with another opportunity to enhance their resume and the Flyers took advantage, beating No. 17 Saint Louis 72-67 at Chaifetz Arena. With the NCAA tournament bubble seemingly changing by the hour at this point in the season it’s tough to say that this result sews up a bid for Dayton, but it certainly helps their case.
A key for Dayton, especially in the second half, was the play of their reserves. For the night the Flyer reserves outscored Saint Louis’ by a margin of 31-14, and that was one area in which Dayton would make up a ten-point disadvantage at the foul line. Jalen Robinson scored all ten of his points in the second half, joining starters Jordan Sibert and Dyshawn Pierre in double figures, and as a team Dayton held a 16-2 edge in bench points in the final 20 minutes.
Just as important in the second half was the defensive effort put forth by Dayton. Both teams turned the ball over nine times in the second half, but Dayton did a better job of challenging shots as they limited the Billikens to 42.9% shooting from the field and 2-for-9 from beyond the arc. As a result, SLU scored just 0.8 points per possession in the second half. By comparison, Dayton shot 50% from the field and scored 1.14 points per possession.
Entering Wednesday the Flyers hadn’t set themselves apart from the pack conference play defensively, ranking ninth in both field goal (45.2%) and three-point percentage (37.5%). But Dayton defended better against a Saint Louis team that’s now lost three straight games, and their execution during a critical 24-9 second half run made the difference for a team in need of another quality win.
How much work is there left for Dayton to do? With early-season wins over Gonzaga and California, the Flyers do have some solid results on the non-conference portion of their resume. And after going through a four-game losing streak that included losses to Richmond and Rhode Island, Dayton’s playing well at the right time.