Dayton alumni hoping TBT can avenge for lost NCAA tournament run

 

By: Meghan Carroll


Red Scare has three graduating seniors on the roster

Even though it feels like years ago, it's only been two months since Dayton made history on the national stage. Playing on ESPN against George Washington, the team cpatured its 29th and final win of the regular season, a new school record.

Dayton was ready to head into postseason play as a massive favorite in the A-10 tournament and projected one-seed in March Madness. Then the coronavirus pandemic put the world on halt.

Now, Flyers fans look ahead to TBT 2020, where they hope the returning Red Scare can bring that long-awaited trophy home to Dayton.

Red Scare GM Joey Gruden, a former Dayton walk-on, is ready to get his team back on the TBT court.

“I think not having the NCAA tournament has given our guys extra motivation,” said Gruden. “They’re even more excited for TBT and get a chance to play for the fans who I think are aching a little bit.”

After taking a loss to the eventual champions, Carmen’s Crew, in the third round of TBT 2019, Red Scare is back with a mix of new and returning faces. Most notably they added Trey Landers and Ryan Mikesell, two graduating seniors on this year's undergraduate team. 

 

On a powerhouse Dayton team, Mikesell and Landers had their senior postseason stripped from them. After that last game on March 7 against George Washington, Mikesell cut down the net and celebrated his senior night without knowing what was about to come.

“There was just a little bit of an emptiness just because you wanted to finish out the season and get some sort of closure,” said Mikesell. “But at the same time, we went out as champions. Obviously we wanted to be national champions, but being A-10 regular season champs is a good feeling as well.”

Mikesell added that although he didn’t get to finish his season with the Flyers, he is grateful to be able to put on a Dayton jersey one last time with some of his old teammates. 

“When they asked me to play it was a no brainer type deal,” said Mikesell. “I’m excited, there’s a lot of familiar faces and some guys I spent a good amount of time with at Dayton, so it’ll be nice to have a little reunion with them.”

 

Some of those familiar faces include former Flyers Kyle Davis, Darrell Davis, and Kendall Pollard, all of whom Mikesell played with in college.

Another new face to keep an eye on is TBT grad transfer Ryan McMahon. As a senior at Louisville this past season, he knows what it was like getting the postseason taken away.

McMahon was excited when Gruden presented him with the opportunity to play on the team. The two had known each other from Gruden’s time as a graduate assistant at Louisville.  

“I think Louisville and Dayton both feel [disappointed with the way the season ended] so it’s not like I’m going into any unfamiliar territory,” said McMahon. “I’m going to be playing with a chip on my shoulder the same way those guys are going to.” 

 

McMahon said he's looking forward to playing with new teammates such as Darrell Davis, the “beast” Devin Oliver, and Kyle Davis who is “a hound on the ball.” 

Playing for a Dayton alumni team, McMahon said he is not trying to take over, but rather fit in with the rest of the guys.

“We have a lot of good guys on that team,” said McMahon. “I’m definitely not going to be trying to take over or anything like that. I’m going to try to do my role and do what they need me to do the best that I can just like I have every year in college.”

Not only is Red Scare looking to represent Flyer nation when they need it most, but also avenge last summer's loss to Carmen's Crew. The team looks at a potential rematch as a tie-breaker. Back in 2014, Dayton beat many of those Ohio State alums, 60-59, in the NCAA Tournament. Last summer, the Buckeyes got their revenge.

 

Gruden said the 2019 TBT game was so big that it could’ve been played in a bigger arena because of the huge crowd and intensity in the arena. 

“I think it’s probably one of the biggest TBT rivalries out there,” said Gruden. “Both sides were packed, if one fan base started chanting, the other one started chanting louder…it felt like a real college basketball game, it was one of the more intense games I’ve been a part of.”

Most of all, the team just wants to hoop again.

“We can act like this is the crescendo or post season that we never got to finish out,” said McMahon. “We’ll definitely be trying to finish it out the right way.”