Updated: Oct 19, 2021
Coming in for the 2020 season of The Basketball League, the Dayton Flight have brought more Ohio-made talent to the league. The second team from Ohio, Dayton is not a stranger to the world of minor league sports. The Dayton Dragons, a minor league baseball team, was founded in 1988 but only moved to Dayton in the year 2000. In addition, the General Manager of the Flight is no stranger to professional basketball. Brandon Harper, cousin of NBA Legend Ron Harper, is hoping that his team emulates their baseball counterpart.
There are very few things that are more exciting in sports than local rivalries. The feeling of bragging that your hometown team beat the hometown team of a friend or workmate is truly an experience. Some of the greatest rivalries in sport do not require home fans to travel an excessive distance. In soccer, Manchester United versus Liverpool is one of the oldest rivalries in the world and the two cities are just a forty-minute drive apart. The NBA has the Texas-based teams in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. In addition, the NBA has the two Los Angeles teams, the Lakers and Clippers. The Basketball League has its own local derby in the Flight versus the Condors.
The first ever TBL game for the Dayton Flight was against the Columbus Condors at home. This made for an exciting start of the season for the fans and the players of both teams because it was the start of this local rivalry. The Dayton Flight, in a close, high- scoring, and hard-fought game, were defeated in their first game, by their neighbors 137-129. It came down to the effectiveness of the bench for the Condors, outscoring the Flight’s bench by 17 points. Even though their starting five outscored the Condors’ starting five by nine points, the Flight lacked a bit of depth.
The Dayton guards Tyrell Means and Taishaun Johnson were encouraging signs for the team. Both Guards scored twenty-eight points in the opening game and brought creativity in scoring for the team. The 6”2 two guard, Tyrell Means, averaged 21.9 points, 4.1 assists, and 6.1 rebounds in the seven games he played for the Dayton Flight before taking his talents to the Tijuana Zonkeys in the top tier of Mexican Basketball.
Taishaun Johnson, still with the Flight, finished the short season with amazing numbers. Johnson averaged 26.5 points, 5.7 assists, and 5.2 rebounds per game. He showed that he was not one to shy away in high pressure situations when he shot 13 of 19, scoring a season high 43 points in a loss against top-team Dallas Skyline. Dayton heavily relied on Johnson’s scoring through their ten-game losing streak; a few other players have also stepped up after the departure of Tyrell Means.
Finishing at the bottom of the ladder is never ideal for a team. With the season being cut short due to the pandemic, the Dayton Flight were not really given any time to come back from their rough start. However, I would not write them off and may, instead, take them as a dark horse for the coming season. The long off-season gives them more time to build around what they have and what they know about the league. They have shown that they have stars that can score for them. They also have shown that they can attain and develop stars around whom they can build. I believe that once the the Flight gets a taste of winning, they will be dangerous.
This piece was written by Enrique Ortiz, a common contributor for Globally Ballin. This piece is the third article of the "Who Are They" series. An article series that takes a look at all the teams in The Basketball League from a fresh set of eyes. Each piece in this series will be out and available on the website every Tuesday, enjoy!
ALSO - Below are a few links that will take you to video interviews we did at the 2019 TBL Draft Combine. The interview is with the owner and GM, Brandon Harper and team coach Gary Armstrong. This video interview is a part of the Globally Ballin Patreon page. So, if you are not already subscribed, a subscription may be required. Click the links to find out and learn more, enjoy!
Dayton Flight Statistics. (2020). Retrieved from https://hosted.wh.geniussports.com/TBBL/en/team/126995/statistics
Jablonski, D. (2019, August 28). Minor league basketball returning to Dayton in 2020. Retrieved July 27, 2020, from https://www.daytondailynews.com/sports/minor-league-basketball-returning-dayton-2020/vNT6XwdjnBC6VkDwFbc59H/
The Basketball League Schedule. (2020). Retrieved from https://thebasketballleague.net/schedule/
Tyrell Means Basketball Player Profile, Zonkeys de Tijuana, IU Southeast, News, CIBACOPA stats, Career, Games Logs, Best, Awards - latinbasket. (n.d.). Retrieved July 28, 2020, from https://basketball.latinbasket.com/player/Tyrell_Means/Mexico/Zonkeys-de-Tijuana/276973