Dayton Flyers, Please Adjust Your PG Situation Prior to Takeoff
Dayton’s win over Creighton, though expected, raises the national focus on the Flyers from a whimper to a murmur. Brian Gregory’s bunch of athletic anomalies got national airplay by playing in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tipoff, but they lost to Villanova and Kansas State.
Forward Chris Wright, offered by Michigan State, can only remain nationally anonymous so much longer. Even John Wooden, in his advanced age, acknowledged Wright’s talent with a preseason Naismith watch-list nomination.
His 18 second-half points against CU turned the fates in Dayton’s favor. Wright is a star now. They Flyers have a 42-11 record when Wright plays. To finally overtake I-75 rival Xavier for the conference crown, however, Dayton must find a backup PG. Immediately.
No top 25 team should be averaging nearly 16 turnovers a game, which the Flyers are doing.
Starter London Warren plays well establishing tempo and invigorating the amped fan base. Anyone with a pulse feels it quicken when Warren steps onto the floor. Seemingly sprinting and diving without concern for his physical well-being, Warren is spirited and relentless. His frenetic pacing mandates he play just 20-25 minutes a game.
Before his February 11, 2009 injury, Rob Lowery supplied UD with the perfect backup. A quick, enthusiastic player who plays defense like a police dog, Lowery refused to let the opponent relax. One hyper player sat down (Warren) to rest, and another (Lowery) stepped on the pedal.
Lowery plans to return in mid-December. He still is recovering from the knee surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right knee.
Dayton needs at least 15 mpg from Lowery. Of the 12 scholarship players on the roster, only Warren and Lowery possess the PG skill set.
Right now the backup point guard is Mickey Perry. The Wisconsin-transfer just does not have the ability to play on the ball. It’s really, really a struggle. Excruciating to watch. The kind of point-guard play that causes coaches to tug on their hair.
On one early, painfully telling possession against Kansas State, Perry shot an ill-advised three-pointer early in the shot clock. He then wandered in towards the free throw line as KSU speedster Jacob Pullen, ball in hand, zoomed down court in the opposite direction. Perry trailed him all the way down the floor, like the slow kid in gym class. Pullen instantly created havoc for Dayton’s front line en route to converting an and-1.
Last year Perry had two skills he brought to the table; he could shoot the open three-pointer and he could defend the ball-handler. On this and other plays even his strengths are fading into oblivion.
Dayton is a good team that might become great by March. Its depth is tremendous, save PG, and the team-wide athleticism belies a conference such as the Atlantic 10. The Flyers should win the A-10 and might even advance to the Sweet 16, but only if the PG spot evolves from the “Warren and only.”
It takes two PG to tango; er…dance.