Dayton will have to adjust to the loss of Matt Kavanaugh. (Credit: Erik Schelkun / Elsestar Images)
Dayton starting center Matt Kavanaugh was suspended from the team for the entire 2012-2013 season the university announced yesterday.
“Matt Kavanaugh is suspended for the remainder of the academic year as a result of violations of the University of Dayton Standards of Behavior and Code of Conduct,” the statement read. “Therefore, he will not play on the basketball team this season.”
Kavanaugh, a big bodied, physical center, averaged nine points and 5.9 rebounds last season for the Flyers and was the most improved player in the Atlantic 10. Kavanaugh scored in double figures 12 times last season, after averaging just under two points a game as a sophomore.
The loss of Kavanaugh is a significant blow to Archie Miller’s club as the center was expected to combine with forward Josh Benson to form solid post presence. With Benson missing a majority of last season due to a torn ACL injury, the pair never was never able to complement each other during league play. Dayton was often beat up on the interior, and relied heavily on their guards, specifically, point man Kevin Dillard.
Now, with Kavanaugh dismissed from the team, UD will need to once again, to fill a void down in the post.
Devin Oliver and Alex Gavrilovic (once he’s recovered his stamina from a bout with mononucleosis) will be the first two to get a crack at the opening playing time. Oliver, a junior, averaged 4.5 points and 5 rebounds last season in just over 20 minutes of action a game while shooting just 41% from the field. Gavrilovic, a sophomore import from France, averaged 4.0 points a game but played just under 13 minutes while shooting an impressive 54% from the floor. Jalen Robinson, a 6-9, 240 pound freshman who looks like he can contribute if he can continue improving on defense, is also in the mix for time. As is Devon Scott, another freshman.
The loss of Kavanaugh will create a rebounding and size void in the post, at least from an experience perspective, where UD was hoping he and a healthy Benson would give them a much improved interior. Having to depend on Oliver, Gavrilovic and a pair of true freshman leaves the Flyers searching for answers in the final weeks leading up to the season. While Oliver is a bit more athletic and runs the floor better, Gavrilovic provides better size by two inches and over 20 pounds, is more of a true pivot and defensive presence in the paint.
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