The 2008-09 University of Dayton men's basketball team kicked off the upcoming basketball season with its annual media day at the Donoher Basketball Center.
Flyer fans will get their first look at the men's and women's basketball teams on Saturday, Oct. 25 at the Red & Blue Game from UD Arena.
Admission is free and open to the public. Doors open at 9 a.m. ET and the first 500 fans in attendance will receive complimentary donuts and milk. Free vouchers will also be given to the Flyer football game as Dayton hosts the Valparaiso Crusaders starting at 1 p.m. ET from Welcome Stadium.
2008-09 SEASON PREVIEW
The Dayton Flyers will try and build on last year's midseason national ranking with a new look. Dayton jumped out to a 14-1 record and a No. 14 ranking before an onslaught of injuries and illnesses decimated the team. UD finished 23-11, advancing to the NIT quarterfinals before losing at eventual champion Ohio State.
The Flyers return 11 lettermen from that team, including three of their top four scorers and top three rebounders. But even with all this firepower returning, the Red & Blue will have a new look to them in 2008-09. For the first time in four years, Dayton will step onto the UD Arena's Tom Blackburn Court without Brian Roberts. With the graduation of Roberts, UD lost one of the top players in its history and one of the top guards in the country last year.
If the Flyers were guilty of anything other than spending too much time in the training room last year, it was that they sometimes stood around and waited for Roberts to make things happen. With head coach Brian Gregory and his staff assembling the most athletic team in school history, there will be little standing around of any kind in 2008-09.
After Roberts, UD's next three leading scorers and top three rebounders - forward Chris Wright (10.4, 5.7), guard Marcus Johnson (10.1, 5.1) and forward Charles Little (8.0, 4.6) - are all back and all have 40-inch (or better) vertical leaps.
A charismatic player whose work ethic matches his athleticism, Wright was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie team even though he played just eight minutes in one conference game, due to a fractured ankle suffered in the A-10 opener. He returned to average double figures in the NIT. Wright also led the Flyers in FG% (.602, 59-98) and was second in FT% (.804, 37-46).
Johnson reached double figures in 17 of the 34 games he played in during the 2007-08 campaign, including 15 of the last 23 contests. He had a team-high three double-doubles last year, including a 15-point, 11-rebound performance in UD's 80-55 win over then-sixth-ranked Pitt. One of the best rebounding guards in the nation, he also was second on the team in blocked shots (14), third in steals (23) and third in FT% (.760, 98-129).
Little was the A-10 Sixth Man of the Year two seasons ago, and played through a broken sesamoid bone in his foot in conference play. He started out A-10 action by averaging 12.7 points and 5.0 rebounds against Rhode Island, Saint Louis and UMass, and was able to come back after missing just three games. But after the injury, his numbers fell to 7.7 and 4.3. Healthy again, he will be counted on to step up as UD's lone senior in 2008-09.
The high-flying trio, along with juniors Kurt Huelsman, Mickey Perry and London Warren, sophomores Devin Searcy and Stephen Thomas, and newcomers Josh Benson, Luke Fabrizius, Chris Johnson, Rob Lowery and Paul Williams, are the most athletic team in UD history and one of the deepest.