Entering the year ranked No. 24 in the country and predicted to win the Atlantic 10, it’s hard to remember a time when Dayton garnished more preseason hype. For the first time since 2019-20, when Dayton finished the season ranked No. 3 in the nation, Flyer fans have real reason to be highly optimistic. After having one of the youngest teams in all of college basketball last year, Dayton’s talent-ridden roster is ready to prove itself this season. Of course, all the preseason accolades go by the wayside once the games begin, but the national recognition the Flyers continue to receive is exciting nonetheless. Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at Dayton’s 2022-23 roster.
Mike Sharavjamts – 6’8″ Guard/Forward – Freshman
The lone recruit in Dayton’s 2022 recruiting class, Mike Sharavjamts will become the first person from Mongolia to ever play Division 1 college basketball. Sharavjamts was ranked No. 95 in ESPN’s top 100 class of 2022 recruits and is a composite four-star according to 247sports. To say his skillset is unique would be a massive understatement. At nearly 6’9″ Sharavjamts is a combo guard/forward with a lot of upside. Familiar with playing point guard, Sharavjamts has scoring ability, is comfortable handling the ball, and has phenomenal passing skills according to several of his teammates. He shot a remarkable 51% from three on nearly 100 attempts in his final high school season. While it’s unclear exactly what Sharavjamts’ role will be this season, he’s a guy NBA Draft gurus already have their eye. Both Flyer fans and the country of Mongolia will be eagerly watching Sharavjamts when he hits the court this year.
Tyrone Baker – 6’9″ Forward – Sophomore
Transferring from Georgia following his freshman season, Tyrone Baker adds quality depth to Dayton’s group of forwards. A three-star recruit in the 2021 class, Baker brings athleticism and upside. Baker’s offensive game could be a work in progress, but he’s sure to be the beneficiary of several alley-oops. His primary impact will likely be made on the defensive side of the ball this year.Much like Mike Sharavjamts, I anticipate notable improvement from Baker as the season goes along and a chance to make a more substantial impact on next year’s team.
DaRon Holmes II – 6’10” Forward – Sophomore
After winning A-10 Rookie of the Year in runaway fashion, DaRon Holmes is one of the betting favorites to win A-10 Player of the Year this season. A four-star recruit and top 50 player in the 2021 class, Holmes more than lived up to expectations in his freshman season. Holmes averaged 12.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks in 30.7 minutes per game. He started all 35 games for the Flyers and shot a highly efficient 65% from the field. As the star power of this Dayton team, it’s no secret NBA scouts will be keeping close tabs on Holmes’ performance this season. If there’s one area of Holmes’ game to critique, it would be his mid-range jumper and free throw shooting. Holmes showed improvement as the season progressed, but ultimately shot just 58.6% from the line. While his strength will always be playing around the rim, shooting closer to 70% from the line and continuing to work on his mid-range game would go a long way in fully developing Holmes’ skillset. That said, I do think Holmes will be the the dominant force many anticipate this season. After adding 15 pounds of muscle over the offseason, he’s going to pose problems for any and every opposing forward.
Malachi Smith – 6’0″ Guard – Sophomore
Allow me be the first to admit Malachi Smith was far better than I expected last season. Smith burst onto the scene when he played a pivotal role in Dayton’s win over No. 4 Kansas and was named the MVP of the ESPN Events Invitational. The freshman point guard’s relentless motor helped pull the struggling Flyers out of their early-season rut. Smith’s confident and aggressive play-style provided the spark Dayton’s lineup desperately needed. Averaging 9.3 points, 5.3 assists, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.8 steals per game, Smith did a little of everything for the Flyers. Despite not being known as a shooter, he shot 40% from three and over 78% from the foul line. This production earned the freshman a spot on the A-10’s All-Rookie Team. If there’s an area to improve for Smith, I think it’s the tempo at which he plays. There were times last season when his desire to make a play turned into reckless turnovers. Running the point with calculated aggression is something that often comes with experience and I fully expect him to show improvement in that regard. As long as Smith can get/stay healthy, all signs point to him becoming one of the premier point guards in the conference.
Toumani Camara – 6’8″ Forward – Junior
A four-star recruit coming out of high school, Toumani Camara played his first two seasons at Georgia before transferring to Dayton. In his first year as a Flyer, Camara averaged 10.9 points and 6.9 rebounds. He has a talented skillset and the ability to stretch the floor, but needs to improve in a few key areas in order to fulfill his potential. First and foremost, Camara must become a more efficient shooter. He shot less than 34% from three last season and just 59% from the foul line. Additionally, Camara turned the ball over 89 times last season (2.6 turnovers per game), by far the most on the team. That’s a number that needs to drop by at least 50%. On the bright side, Camara should feel much more comfortable playing within the offense this year, and I thought he showed several improvements in the back-half of last season. A more cohesive Dayton offense should help Camara cut down on turnovers, pick his spots from behind the arc, and continue to play well around the rim.
Koby Brea – 6’6″ Guard – Redshirt Sophomore
Young for his grade, Koby Brea began his career with the Flyers as a 17 year-old kid. Through two seasons, however, the former three-star recruit has proven himself to be one of the team’s most reliable shooters. Brea shot over 42% from three on nearly 150 attempts last season. In conference play, Brea played with a newfound level of confidence, shooting an astounding 49% from three. This year, I expect Brea to pick up where he left off while also making a notable contribution on the defensive end of the floor. Brea has the quickness to stay in front of smaller guards, and his size can can create problems for opposing wings.
Kobe Elvis – 6’2″ Guard – Redshirt Sophomore
Much like Koby Brea, Kobe Elvis (one of the best names in college basketball) has shown himself to be a very capable three-point shooter. In his first season as a Flyer, Elvis shot over 36% from behind the arc, but I think that number improves to around 40% this year with better shot selection. Elvis has a knack for taking and making tough shots, but he should find more open looks as Dayton’s offense improves as a whole. While Elvis is expected to start at shooting guard again for Dayton this year, I will be interested to see whether he continues to serve as the back-up point guard. The Flyers will have to decide between Elvis and freshman Mike Sharavjamts when it comes to who will handle the back-up point guard duties. If Malachi Smith is out with injury to start the season, both Elvis and Sharavjamts will likely get a crack at running the point.
Mustapha Amzil – 6’9″ Forward – Redshirt Sophomore
Entering his third season with the Flyers, Finland native Mustapha Amzil created a name for himself when he hit a miraculous buzzer-beating game winner against No. 4 Kansas last year. A three-star recruit in the 2020 class, I think it’s fair to say Amzil has been one of Dayton’s streakiest players over his first two seasons. He averaged 5.6 points and 4.1 rebounds for the Flyers last season, but his three point shooting numbers took a dive. Despite being a 72.5% free throw shooter, Amzil shot just 29.5% from three last season. A large part of Amzil’s game is his ability to stretch the floor, so I’d like to see his three point percentage back up to around 35% this year. Expect Amzil and Tyrone Baker to be the primary forwards filling in when Homes and Camara need a breather.
R.J. Blakney – 6’6″ Forward/Guard – Redshirt Sophomore
The only player besides DaRon Holmes to start all 35 games for the Flyers a season ago, R.J. Blakney has the ability to do a little bit of everything. At 6’6″, Blakney can play and defend a variety of positions, from the perimeter to the block. Last year, in his second season with the Flyers, Blakney averaged 6.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, shot over 71% from the foul line and 35% from three. While none of these stats are overly impressive, Blakney’s well-rounded skillset and contributions on defense make him a guy Anthony Grant can trust. I question whether or not Blakney will start many games this year, but expect him to be a key contributor nonetheless.
Zimi Nwokeji – 6’7″ Forward – Redshirt Sophomore
After flashing his potential with a 29-point performance against Rhode Island as a freshman, Zimi Nwokeji struggled to find his groove last season. Averaging only 4.6 minutes per game, Nwokeji simply did not see the court enough to contribute. A former three-star recruit in the class of 2019, Nwokeji certainly has the talent to play at this level. That said, finding consistent minutes on a roster that’s favored to win the A-10 will be difficult. Even if Nwokeji can average 8-10 minutes a night consistently, I think his production numbers will see a nice boost.
Kaleb Washington – 6’7″ Forward – Sophomore
Despite not seeing much playing time last year, Kaleb Washington is a guy Flyer fans should still have hope for. A three-star recruit and composite top 150 player in the class of 2021, Washington came to Dayton with relatively high expectations; and it’s easy to see why. Given his length and ability to handle the basketball, Washington can score from both the perimeter and the paint. That said, adjusting to the speed and strength of guys playing at the D-1 level is never easy, and it takes some players longer to adjust than others. With a year of college practices under his belt, I’ll be interested to see if his minutes increase at all this season. I still think Washington has a bright future; whether that’s with Dayton or another program we’ll likely find out after this year.
Richard Amaefule – 6’9″ Forward – Redshirt Sophomore
Richard Amafule began his career at ETSU, but transferred to Dayton following his freshman season. Amaefule sat out the entirety of his first year with the Flyers due to injury, and questions remain regarding his playing time this season. The redshirt sophomore was a three-star recruit coming out of high school so we know he has some talent. At this point, however, I would be extremely surprised to see him play meaningful minutes this year. If Amaefule can get/stay healthy I’ll be interested to see how he looks during games in which Dayton jumps out to a big lead.