Connect with us


GOOOOO Dayton Flyers! Three reasons to cheer!

Here are three reasons why I like the Dayton Flyers in the NCAA Tournament.


  1. Flyers Overcoming adversity

Malachi Smith was poised to have a great year. The UD guard from Brooklyn was ready to break out on a national stage. His 2022-23 season was marred by ankle issues. But the surgeries this past off-season prepared him for the year.

Courtesy of UD basketball

Rarely turning the ball over and experienced since playing 29 games as a freshman, Malachi brought toughness, grit and joy to UD Arena.


But in the first game of the year, he shredded his knee, thus ending his 2023-24 season. Dayton would have been in the top 15 all year if this didn’t happen. And it seems that whoever is playing point now has been getting injured. How this team goes today will be determined by overcoming Smith’s loss.


Oh. And did we say that Dayton overcame a 17 point deficit Thursday to play again Saturday? Adversity is nothing to these men. But this team with Smith was a #3 seed!


  1. Daron Holmes II-Mr. Flyer

The reigning A-10 player of the year has been the leader of this Flyer team pretty much since he stepped onto campus in the 2021-22 season. One of the most engaging, fun and sincere players to grace Dayton’s program, Holmes now has been pegged as a potential Naismith College Basketball Player of the Year. He is the main cog that pushes this team.

Photo Courtesy of UD Basketball (

Every category from rebounds per game to free-throw percentage to points per game has been improved since his first year. His durability is a main reason that Coach Grant relies on his junior, 6’10” forward. But so is his attitude and tenacity.


Daron and Malachi were part of the same recruiting class just after covid. He came for two reasons…the coaches and the Flyer faithful! Here’s a great comment by Dayton Coach Anthony Grant in 2022 from a Dayton Daily News article on the preview of the ‘22 season.


“For DaRon,” Grant said during A-10 media days in October, “obviously coming in with the accolades that he did, being a top-50 player in the country, I have been really impressed with his humility, his work ethic, his desire to continue to try to improve and get better. He’s just learning the game. Every day, there are just different things that he’s able to pick up from myself and our staff, whether it be on the court or through film. He’s been really good.”


Daron has been a Flyer favorite since starting in the first game his freshman year. But this piece from DDN’s David Jablonski is classic Holmes!


After the Flyers upset the No. 4 Jayhawks on a last-second shot by Mustapha Amzil, a Dayton fan, John Douglass, came onto the court to seek a high five from Holmes and got picked up and hugged instead. The Flyers won three straight games at the ESPN Events Invitational, rebounding from a 1-3 start. Holmes made the all-tournament team, averaging 14 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.3 blocks.

Since that on-court hug, Holmes has been Mr Flyer!


  1. Anthony Grant-Flyers coach


Coach Grant’s 2022-23 year was full of ups, downs, and foreign media craziness. Wait. Foreign? The Flyers had players from Belgium, England, Finland, Canada and the big one, Mongolia!


Mike Sharavjamts is a current San Francisco Don’s power forward and the first person ever in Mongolia to earn a Division 1 scholarship. Playing as a freshman alongside Holmes and Smith, he saw time as a starter for Grant’s Flyers. But when you sign Mongolia’s first star, you must navigate the media paparazzi and the family’s wants and desires.


“Mongolian” Mike had shown sparks of talent for UD, but his minutes played dropped from over 30 a game for the first 15 or so games to less than 16. When the season ended with a 2nd round loss in the NIT, he declared for the NBA draft. 


But he wasn’t the only player who left the program. In fact, Grant had to jumble and adjust the roster constantly, it seemed, and players were leaving the team during the season. Fans were angry. Grant and his staff kept trying to find combinations that work. Enter Washington.


One reason for the struggle was the suspension (twice!) to Kaleb Washington, the third part of that recruiting class of Smith and Holmes. Kaleb left UD during the season after the 2nd suspension as did a transfer from Georgia who never saw time on the court, Tyrone Baker. This left UD with only 10 scholarship players on the club. 


There were ups! They finished in third place in the tough Atlantic 10 conference. Played two games in the NIT tournament. Overall, their record was 22-12. Considering the walk-ons that contributed that year and you could say it was incredible!


But arguably the 2022-23 season was Grant’s toughest because he and his wife were dealing with the sudden loss of their child.


Grant’s biggest Loss


May 2022 was the month Anthony Grant and his wife had to bury their daughter. Any parent who’s lost a child would understand Grant’s pain. Add to this monumental agony the stress of being a Division 1 coach in a town where basketball reigns and you understand how the 2022-23 season started for Grant: with a huge loss.


He since has openly discussed how he and his wife, Chris, coped and how they are involved in mental health issues in and around the Dayton area.


Here is one of David Jablonski’s best interviews with Coach Grant. I hope you read this. After this interview, I have been a Grant apologist ever since. And the best part of Thursday’s win was the smile on his face after.

Photo by David Jablonski, Dayton Daily News


Three reasons to love this Dayton club! They have a chance to redeem the 2020 lost season with a win today! Arizona will be tough but the Atlantic 10 teams have been excellent this tournament so far. Here’s Grant’s speech after the big win!

Now, if Michigan needs a new coach, drive down I-75 and have a conversation with this man! 


Next game: 12:45 PM 

Where: Salt Lake City

Who: Arizona

Line: Arizona -9.5

Watch: 12:45 PM CBS (Why these two teams have to play first is mind boggling!)

Dayton fans, follow @DavidPJablonski for more coverage of “Your Dayton Flyers!”

I am a math teacher in SW Ohio. Born and raised in NE Ohio, I am married with four sons who keep the flame burning for all things Cleveland. I cover soccer, betting, football and anything that focuses on the human side of sports.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *





Show Your Team Spirit

NEO Sports Insiders Newsletter

Sign up to receive our NEOSI newsletter, and keep up to date with all the latest Cleveland sports news.

Recent Comments


More in Main