Dayton Flyers Top 10: Best freshman seasons

Oct 18, 2017

To kick off coverage of the 2017-18 Dayton men’s basketball season, David Jablonski will publish 17 top 10 lists on various topics between now and the season opener on Nov. 10.

The Dayton Flyers will lean on freshmen throughout the 2017-18 season, more so than they have in recent seasons. With 10 scholarship players, they have to. They need production from redshirt freshman Kostas Antetokounmpo and true freshmen Jordan Davis, Jordan Pierce, Jalen Crutcher and Matej Svoboda.

TOP 10: Dayton’s best A-10 victories

Dayton hasn’t had a freshman average more than 10 points per game in the last nine seasons. Here’s a quick glance at the 10 best freshman seasons in school history.

Johnny Davis, who played for Flyers from 1973-76, seeing a Dayton game in person for first time since his playing career. Photo: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

1. Johnny Davis (1973-74): No UD freshman has averaged more points than Davis (14.3). He finished his career with 1,562 points despite playing only three seasons. He also averaged 4.1 assists and 3.7 rebounds. He ranks 16th in school history with 1,562 points.

Davis returned to UD Arena for a game last season for the first time since his career ended. He played 10 years in the NBA after leaving Dayton.

“The floor is different,” Davis said. “We were on the tartan floor when I played. The arena looks very similar. I know there have been some changes. But the spirit of the school itself and the arena here, you can just feel it. I’ve been in a lot of gyms, been in a lot of arenas, seen a lot of fans. The fan base here at the University of Dayton is as good as I’ve seen anywhere.”

Former UD basketball player Keith Waleskowski acknowledges the crowd as he’s inducted into the Dayton Hall of Fame on Saturday, March 8, 2014, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff

2. Keith Waleskowski (2000-01): The Alter grad got his UD Hall of Fame career off to a strong start by averaging 11.3 points and 7.7 rebounds as a redshirt freshman. He sat out the previous year but practiced with the team.

"The most striking thing about Keith is that he doesn't play like an inexperienced player," Dayton coach Oliver Purnell told the Dayton Daily News in November 2000. "That comes from having a year of practice and getting a perspective of what he needed to do the next year. That's really helped him. He has the makeup of a guy who is going to be ready to play in the big games. He's versatile, he's a good passer, good shooter and he runs well."

Waleskowski ranks 19th in UD history with 1,515 points.

Dayton’s Tony Stanley applauds his teammates from the bench in the second half during a game against George Washington in 2001 at UD Arena. Behind Stanley is Sam Smith. Staffy photo Photo: Staff Writer

3. Tony Stanley (1997-98): No Dayton player has scored more points as a freshman than Stanley, a 6-4 guard from Arlington, Va., who averaged 13.1 points in his first season and totalled 431 points. He scored 30 points in an exhibition game as a freshman.

"I like being in the spotlight," Stanley said in November 1997. "I can't do without it."

Stanley ranks seventh in school history with 1,835 points.

4. Jim Paxson (1975-76): The Alter grad averaged 13.1 points per game as a freshman. He finished his career with 1,945 points and ranks fifth in school history.

5. Mike Kanieski (1978-79): The 6-10 forward from Cleveland averaged 11.7 points as a freshman. He also averaged 8.7 rebounds, which remains a UD freshman record. He ranks 12th in school history with 1,642 points.

University of Dayton basketball legend Roosevelt Chapman in the 1980s. Photo: Staff Writer

6. Roosevelt Chapman (1980-81): Dayton’s all-time leading scorer (2,233 points) averaged 12.8 points as a freshman, ranking second on the team behind Kanieski (16.9).

7. Chip Hare (1991-92): The Massillon native averaged 11.1 points as a freshman. He had 13 points and 10 rebounds in his first game.

"(Assistant coach) Tom McConnell did an unbelievable recruiting job," Dayton coach Jim O’Brien said in 1991. "Chip narrowed it early to Wake Forest, Northwestern, OSU and Dayton, but everybody knew it would come down to OSU and UD. And when he came here, he came for all the right reasons. He really understood what an education is all about here — the individual attention, the pride we take in academics."

8. Jack Zimmerman (1976-77): The Alter grad averaged 11.0 points and 4.62 assists in his first season. He ranks 20th in school history with 1,482 points.

9. Anthony Corbitt (1986-87): The Dayton native averaged 10.6 points in his first season and averaged double digits throughout his career. He ranks ninth in school history with 1,760 points.

Arizona's Lamont Frazier, right, knocks the ball away from Dayton's Brooks Hall in the first half of a second-round game of the Maui Invitational in Lahaina, Hawaii Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2000. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) Photo: MICHAEL CONROY

10. Brooks Hall (1999-00): The Troy native averaged 10.4 points and 5.8 rebounds as a freshman. He scored 15 points in his first game.

"He had an excellent opening," Oliver Purnell said then. "He didn't look rattled, but that didn't surprise me. He's a poised young man. ... He's still learning, but he's light years ahead of most guys at this stage of their career.”

Hall ranks 23rd in school history with 1,404 points.

Honorable mentions: John Horan averaged 10.1 points per game in 1951-52, the ninth-best freshman total in school history.Dayton native Juwan Staten played only one season with the Flyers in 2010-11 but averaged 8.5 points and 5.4 assists. His only season was Brian Gregory’s final season. He owns the school record for most assists by a freshman (190), and that number ranks fourth overall in school history.

Staten played his final three seasons at West Virginia and finished his career with 1,558 points.

A list like this has to include late Dayton center Steve McElvene in some way. His impact as a redshirt freshmen in 2015-16 was limited by his battles with foul trouble, but he still set a school record with 55 blocks and averaged 6.3 points and 5.6 rebounds.