DAYTON, Ohio (BVM) — The University of Dayton has a rich history within its men’s basketball program, and the last decade has seen some of the team’s best success. Whether it was the Flyers’ 2014 Elite Eight run, or their magical 2020 season in which they finished No. 3 in the AP poll, Dayton has seen several special moments.
Most of those moments were thanks to some of the best players to take the court at UD Arena throughout the last decade, many of whom will go down forever in Flyers’ basketball history. With that, let’s take a look at the top-five performers of the past decade.
- Dyshawn Pierre (2012 – 2016)
Pierre was one of the top scorers of the decade for the Flyers with 1,317 points across his four years at Dayton. The Ontario, Canada native started 28 games as a freshman, and continued to be a staple of the lineup for the next three years. In 2013-14, Pierre averaged over 11 points per game and had a solid NCAA Tournament performance to lead the Flyers to their first Elite Eight appearance in 30 years. Pierre also led the team in points in its return to the tournament the following season, and earned second team All-Atlantic 10 honors in both his junior and senior seasons.
- Jalen Crutcher (2017-2021)
Crutcher comes in as the most recent Flyer to play on this list, graduating in 2021. However, he is one who has some of the greatest experience on the court at UD Arena as he averaged over 30 minutes per game already as a true freshman in 2017-18, scoring nine points per contest. Crutcher made the jump from the Atlantic 10 rookie team to an all-conference third team player as a sophomore. Perhaps the highlight of his career came in his junior year playing alongside Obi Toppin, who he shared team co-MVP honors with. As a first team All-Atlantic 10 player, Crutcher led the Flyers in minutes, assists and three-pointers, and was a catalyst for their impressive 29-2 season in which the team went a perfect 18-0 in conference play. As a senior, Crutcher was the leader of the team and again was named an All-Atlantic 10 first team player while finishing his career with the 16th most points all-time in Dayton history.
- Jordan Sibert (2013-2015)
Sibert only played for the Flyers for two years, but his strong play and knack for coming through in the clutch moments — some of Dayton basketball’s best — rank him higher on this list. A Cincinnati native, Sibert began his collegiate career at Ohio State, but stayed in state and transferred to Dayton in 2013. It was that very season where Sibert got revenge on his former school, as Dayton won a nail-biting 60-59 thriller over the Buckeyes in the NCAA Tournament’s opening round.
It was one of five NCAA Tournament victories in Sibert’s Dayton career, many of which saw him make clutch shots. In the 2014 tournament, Sibert hit a deep three with 50 seconds left to give Dayton a lead against Syracuse, sending the Flyers to the Sweet Sixteen. In the First Four the following year, Sibert hit the game-winning three for a 56-55 win over Boise State. The transfer impressively played all 73 games of his Dayton career and set a single-season mark for most minutes played as a senior. Sibert finished his Flyers’ career with 1,030 points as one of Archie Miller’s most trusted players.
- Scoochie Smith (2013-2017)
Toppin may be the best talent to play for Dayton in recent memory, but Smith likely meant the most to the heart and soul of the Dayton program in the past decade. Smith played in a decade-high 138 games for the Flyers during his four years in Dayton, and was also part of the winningest senior class in program history, helping the team compile 102 victories. As a freshman, Smith became an instant contributor to Dayton’s Elite Eight squad. The following season, he played 117 of a possible 120 minutes during the NCAA Tournament, helping Dayton to wins over Boise State and Providence. As a co-captain in the 2015-16 season, Smith averaged a career high 11.7 points per game while leading the Flyers in steals and assists. Becoming the only three-time captain in program history as a senior, Smith posted career highs across the board as a first team All-Atlantic 10 player. In his three seasons as a starter at Dayton, Smith helped the Flyers to back-to-back conference championships, and three more NCAA Tournament appearances. A true winner at every stop, Smith will go down as one of the greatest impact players in Dayton history.
- Obi Toppin (2018-2020)
Toppin is certainly the flashiest name on this list, and although he only stayed for his freshman and sophomore seasons, he is undoubtedly one of the most talented players to ever suit up for Dayton. As a bit of a late bloomer who played just one season of high school basketball, Toppin grew six inches between his junior year of high school and his tenure at Dayton. After redshirting in 2017-18, Toppin burst onto the scene in 2018-19, averaging a program freshman record and team-leading 14.4 points per game. Toppin also became the first Flyer to win Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year and was the first Dayton freshman to make the conference’s first team in 20 years. After declaring for the draft and returning to Dayton, the stage was set for Toppin to explode as a sophomore, and he delivered. As the leader of that 29-2 team, Toppin was a consensus All-American who averaged 20 points per game and led the nation with 107 dunks, building on his 83-dunk freshman campaign.
Obi Toppin is putting on a show! 🍿📸
💥 Threw the ball down like Dwight
💥 180 dunk
💥 Between-the-legs dunk pic.twitter.com/gj6tGSg6W6
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 8, 2020
Toppin was named the Naismith player of the year after his sophomore season and was selected No. 8 overall by the New York Knicks in the 2020 NBA Draft.