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Transfer forward brings versatility to Dayton roster

May 10—Eric Coulter has one more reason to follow the Dayton Flyers basketball team next season: Jacob Conner.

Coulter, the head coach at Alter, already had one former player on the UD roster: Brady Uhl, who earned a scholarship in January after two seasons as a walk-on. Now Uhl's former Alter teammate has transferred to the program after two seasons at Marshall.

"To have both of them together, it's fantastic," Coulter said Tuesday, "and I'm coaching both of their brothers, too."

Conner, a 6-foot-10 forward, committed to Dayton on April 27.

"As a player, he brings a lot to the table," Coulter said. "Any coach would love to have a (6-10) guy that can handle the ball and play multiple positions on the court. I think Dayton's going to be really pleased that they have somebody who can rebound the ball and get into the offense early by bringing the ball up the court. He can shoot it, and he has such great vision. He knows the game. He has a high basketball IQ. He sees things that other guys don't see. That's just who he is. He's a guy who has a lot of weapons. Let's put it that way. He's athletic. His skill level is off the charts as well. He can do multiple things."

Conner is one of three transfers UD has picked up so far this spring, along with Zed Key, a 6-8 forward who played the last four seasons at Ohio State, and 6-0 guard Posh Alexander, who played three seasons at St. John's and one at Butler.

The Dayton Daily News talked to coaches who know those three players well this week and will feature their comments in three separate stories. The first story focused on Key. This story takes a look at Conner, the second of the group to commit.

Last season, Conner averaged 6.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists. He shot 31.8% (35 of 110) from 3-point range. He started 32 games, averaging 26.5 minutes, and appeared in all 33 for a team that finished 13-20.

"He played point most of the time (last season)," Coulter said. "I played him a point his sophomore year just because of who we had on that team personnel wise. He was the type of guy, to be quite honest, even as a sophomore, he really knew the ins and outs of what we were trying to do offensively. He was trying to make plays. He was trying to create for others. And, and the other thing about it was, 'Who are they going to match up with him in high school, right?' I had another 6-9 player, Conor Stolly. Jacob was about 6-7 at that time. Most high school teams have one big, but they don't have two, and even if they did, they don't have one that could guard the perimeter."

Coulter said Conner created matchup problems for opposing defenses. He said Marshall coach Dan D'Antoni, who was fired on March 25 after 10 seasons, also recognized that.

"They did play him at point more than I thought they would, but they had a vacancy there," Coulter said. "They did not have a traditional point. Ideally, he probably wouldn't want to have sole responsibility of that position. But in basketball today there are no positions like it used to be. You've got guys that are bigs now who can do perimeter things. It surprised me a little bit he was the primary point guard, but that's his skill set."

How does Coulter see Conner fitting in at UD in coach Anthony Grant's system?

"I think he fits in well," Coulter said. "They do a lot of ball-screen motion. Coach Grant, everybody compliments what he does offensively, and the thing about Jacob is he's already done research on them. He's already watched film on them. He'll prepare. He wants to do the best job he can possibly do. He's always been that way. He'll watch a lot of film individually to try to prepare for playing for the Flyers."

Conner scored 810 points in three seasons on the varsity team at Alter. His brother Brady Conner averaged 7.1 points last season is his first full season on the varsity roster, helping lead Alter to the state championship. That team had other connections to the Flyers. Brady Uhl's brother Charlie, a junior guard, averaged 6.2 points. The team's leading scorer, junior guard RJ Greer, is the son of UD associate head coach Ricardo Greer.

Coulter knows the Conner family well after so many seasons coaching the brothers.

"I can't say enough good things about the family," he said. "They're very supportive of the coaching staff and other players. They want the team to do well. They're just fantastic. (Jacob's) a great teammate. I saw him mature at Marshall, being vocal. That was his personality. He would always lead, but he would lead by example. He was kind of quiet. At Marshall, I saw a different Jacob, a more confident Jacob. He was holding his teammates accountable, but also being encouraging as well. He's a fantastic kid. He just does everything at a championship level. At practice, he gives you championship effort. He's going to do well in the classroom. Whatever he sets his mind to, he gives it his best and that's what any coach would want."