Dayton Flyers coach Anthony Grant opened up practice at the Cronin Center to local media on Tuesday.
Here are some quick impressions from seeing the team work out and talking to Grant and three players:
1. All in action: Everyone on the roster looked healthy: the nine available scholarship players and the two transfers sitting out this season, Ibi Watson and Rodney Chatman. Everyone was practicing at full-go.
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2. Key points: Grant started the practice with a short video session. All the players gathered around him as they watched a TV just off the court. He spoke about the importance of avoiding turnovers while also being aggressive.
3. New face: Meadowdale High School graduate Jabali Leonard worked out with the team. He is trying to make the roster as a walk-on guard.
4. Added size: Redshirt freshman Obi Toppin said he has grown an inch since arriving on campus a year ago. He said he measures 6-foot-10.
5. Important time: Dayton’s second summer session ends this week. Grant has had the whole team on campus since the session began in June. He was asked if there is such a thing as offseason these days in college basketball.
“That’s a great question,” Grant said. “Our guys have been here all summer. For our veterans, our first summer session started in early May, and for the newcomers, it started somewhere around the middle to end of June. It’s been a long summer for our returners, and for the newcomers getting acclimated, it’s been a good six weeks.”
6. Key player: The only senior on the court was Josh Cunningham, the team’s top returning scorer.
“I thought he had a really good year for us last year,” Grant said. “We asked a lot of him and put a lot on his back in terms of what we expected. We’re going to keep the expectations high for him. As a guy that’s our only senior, a fifth-year senior, I think he’s more than ready to handle that workload.”
7. Fun fact: Here’s an interesting personal note on Cunningham entering his final year in college: his girlfriend is A’ja Wilson, who was the No. 1 pick in the WNBA Draft earlier this year.
Wilson is averaging 20.0 points per game for the Las Vegas Aces and scored 18 points in the WNBA All-Star Game on Saturday. She played college basketball at South Carolina, helping lead the Gamecocks to a national title in 2017 and winning the national player of the year award as a senior in 2018.
Cunningham visited South Carolina when he in high school and looking at schools, and he said that’s where he met Wilson. Wilson shared a photo on Twitter last month of her wearing Cunningham’s Dayton jersey.