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by Drew Formentini,posted Mar 23 2011 5:49PM
As you have probably heard, Juwan Staten will not be playing for the Dayton Flyers next year. Nor will his roommate and fellow freshman guard Brandon Spearman.
They are leaving for the same reason: the black hole of an offense that Brian Gregory has employed limiting their ability to showcase their talents and instead, restricted them to monotonous, predictable offensive sets.
All year long, and for most of last year, I have commented and opined that without offensive changes, the Flyers would not be able to achieve the success the Flyer Faithful expects. As I mentioned on air with Mark Neal numerous times, after the shellacking UD took at the hands of Cincinnati back in November, I was the only media member to ask Gregory if he envisioned making any changes to his offensive approach. He was taken aback by the question, said nothing would be changing, and the rest is history.
UD ended the regular season 297th in the nation in field goal percentage (40.9) and 239th in points per game (66.5).
The most recent charges of both Staten and Spearman point directly to the offense. And as a result of their transfers, UD’s program will be set back considerably.
Top recruits transferring, though, should not come as a surprise to UD fans. Staten and Spearman are the ninth and tenth players to defect Coach Gregory’s program during his eight-year tenure.
This leads, in my opinion, to the biggest problem facing the men’s basketball program as a whole: the creditability of Coach Gregory. This latest fiasco will surely dampen the interest of potential recruits because of how explicit both Staten and Spearman were in their reasons for transferring. Opposing coaches are probably salivating as they print out the articles in the Dayton Daily News.
But the credibility breach does not end there. Following the embarrassing senior night loss to St. Louis, one of the UD graduate assistants made his customary saunter across Blackburn Court to meet and greet with the recruits in attendance. Though that night there was one difference: the recruits and their families had either already left, or they were collecting their belongings and briskly heading for the exits.
In effect, UD got stood up.
Last, but certainly not least, is the fact that Brian Gregory does not exactly have a stellar head coaching record to fall back on when on the recruiting trail.
In his eight years leading UD, Gregory currently hangs his hat on the following: 2 NCAA appearances (one with his players and the other with previous coach Oliver Purnell’s players), 1 NCAA tournament win, an NIT Championship (how many top recruits want to talk about the NIT?), 3 NIT appearances in total and 1 conference championship (again, with Purnell’s players).
While his overall record of 172-94 is impressive, the Flyers average strength of schedule in those eight years is 88 according to RealTimeRPI.com.
The more telling record is his 70-58 mark in the Atlantic 10 equating to a .547 winning percentage. He’s had a winning record in A-10 play just three times, and only one of those came with players he recruited. During his time leading the program, according to Jim Sagarin of USA Today,the A-10 has fluctuated between being the 7th and 13th best conference.
So while the main story is the news surrounding Staten and Spearman’s transfer, I think the bigger concern is with the head coach. While he consistently puts a positive spin on any type criticism, the numbers speak for themselves and in my view, this program hasn’t been elevated nationally or in the conference since his arrival.
In recent years, schools including Iowa, DePaul and Rutgers have been linked to inquiring about Gregory’s services. Each time, he has turned down the offers claiming he is dedicated to Dayton since signing a five-year contract extension in 2009 that will keep him around until the 2017-2018 season.
The question now has become is Dayton dedicated to Brian Gregory?