Regardless of your opinion on the NIT, the Dayton Flyers season has now mercifully come to an end. It has worn me down, taken all my feelings, and my dignity, and pushed me out the door for a walk of shame without pants to get back to my life when I wasn’t writing/recording/editing things for this site every couple of days. At this juncture with no more meaningful Dayton basketball to watch until November, we extended the olive branch once again to all our readers that want their voices to be heard, and our good pal, John R Jr, has answered the bell to give his recap of the season that’s now etched in the history books. Enjoy.
So what was this season? Was it a success? A moderate success? A failure? Yes. All of it. That is the problem with this season. It has proven everyone right, and proven everybody wrong simultaneously.
Now, of course, the definition of success is the sliding scale with this team and our fan base. The real goal is the NCAA tournament, everyone knows that. Did we make it? No. Did anyone expect us to make it before the season began? No. Well, maybe that random 12-hour period where we were on the bubble before losing to URI (editor’s note: I’m still convinced that was just ESPN trying to make UD-URI relevant that one Friday night, I’ll go to my grave believing the fix was in). A nice short time span where good things seemed possible. Alas, it was not to be. Granted, I still don’t understand how the hell it happened. Well, the bubble was bad, not “Trey Landers 3-pt shooting bad” but pretty darn bad.
But that’s all to say that UD’s bubble was burst for good when they lost to the Rhode Island team they firmly dismantled a few short weeks before in Kingston. It stands out as probably my favorite road game of the year (not for quality of win by any means, I’m not delusional) because this was the game I got good and drunk, and overserved, and yelled in the middle of a restaurant about a travel call. There are plenty of things we can blame on the loss when we welcomed them into the Madhouse on the Miami, but first and foremost I believe the team came in cocky thinking they’d ram the Rams again. Secondly, I thought the coaching staff just didn’t have the team ready that evening, and of course we can blame Blackburn and Sully for fueling Fatts Russell by shitting on him for the majority of a podcast episode. (I blame the 3rd.)
In my humble opinion, the lack of caring and the preparation from the coaching staff on any given night were the biggest issues. I say the staff because the assistants have a job too. We all know by now timeout usage (or lack thereof) is not one Grant’s strengths. I’m not a coach of any kind (unless NBA2K counts) and I know this. Why aren’t the assistants reminding him about this issue? It is not like being a student reminding teacher to collect homework, its reminding the teacher about the promised extra credit.
What I find harder to pin on the staff is the collective team being not ready to play games on a given night. I know some of you will say “Keep being a cheerleader” whatever. When I say ready to play games I mean the energy. I mean for the love of red and blue, you all are getting an NBA level entrance. How does that not fire you up? I’m an old fat man and that opening hypes me up to the point where I want to start running the stairs shirtless.
Quick aside – We need to make a decision on who holds up flashlights in the pre-game. It either needs to be everyone, or the Red Scare only. If the whole arena would do that it would be cool. But no, Hank in 214, your random flashlight just looks sad right now. I mean if you’re looking for your antacid you dropped, then go ahead.
Sorry, as I was saying, I don’t understand why these players come out with no energy. Now we’ve had some games where we did come out seemingly ready to play. The majority of those were not home games. I just cannot figure out why this team refuses or is incapable of playing well at home. Or consistently. This team’s only real consistency is their inconsistency. At least last year’s (14-17) team you knew was not going to be good, they didn’t hide that. This year’s team? You could be watching an NCAA caliber team, you could be watching an NIT team, you could be watching a CBI game, the possibilities were endless. We were never really sure what team we were getting. I think that is the biggest problem of the season. Everyone is right, everyone is wrong. I think that is why we have had so much hostility this season on the Twitter machine.
This year was a success compared to last year. But that was last year. Let’s be honest last year (and next year) means nothing in basketball. What matters is THIS year. So was this year a success? I honestly don’t know. What were you honestly expecting? Did you begin to expect more when you found out how bad the conference was as a whole? Personally, the NIT was never the GOAL, it was simply a good consolation for improvement. Was it what I expected? Yes. Minus the tease of the Bahamas, I never really thought we would make it to the NCAA. So did we succeed at my expectations? Sure. Did we succeed at my goals? No. My goal, as a fan, is always to make the NCAA tournament or Maisie Williams sliding into my DMs. Neither happened. So was that a failure? Yeah. I guess.
Because the season is now officially over as of the time of this writing, I salute those who will not be back next year. Cunningham you will be missed. (My money is on A’ja beating you in one on one though). Frankie, I’ve got the feeling your farewell is coming. Your shooting form was perfect and your mother’s tweets will be missed. Give her a hug for us Flyer Fans. My man, JD? No idea. I hope you’re still around, that’s all I have right now is hope.
Next year’s crew? I’m excited to see, just like everyone else is who is reading this article. Maybe I’ll be allowed to do another post (editor’s note: John R Jr is welcome to post on the BBR whenever he damn well pleases and you’ll like it). Next year is big dance or bust people.
Until then WEAR RED and STAY LOWD.