UD’s Oliver vows to take more shots this season


Dayton’s Devin Oliver has always been committed to rebounding — willing to swoop in from his perimeter position and tangle with much bigger players.

But the 6-foot-7 senior wing has been less engaged on offense, seemingly happy to let the other four players on the floor take care of that phase of the game without him.

Shooting windows in college basketball disappear quickly, and Oliver often has been hesitant when he had an open look, giving defenders time to close out and force him to either pass or take a tougher shot. During that second or two of indecision, it looked as if there was a committee meeting going on in his head about whether it was OK to pull the trigger.

He did hoist 53 three-pointers last year, one of six players on the team to attempt at least 39, but he shot 28.3 percent — easily the lowest rate of the bunch.

Oliver, though, has a new outlook this season. The mental chatter is gone. He said he’s devoted massive amounts of attention to his outside game and won’t be a reluctant shooter. If he has the ball and a clear view of the basket, Oliver promised, “It’s going up.”

He added: “I’ve put so much work into my jump shot — I always do, but this summer specifically. That’s what I’ve been preaching to myself: ‘Don’t even think about it. Let it go. You can shoot. You’re making 20 in a row in practice.’

“Another big thing is, my teammates are passing to me. They have confidence in me to shoot. It makes the shot that much easier.”

UD fans often groaned when he passed up open 3’s. But the more he missed, the more apprehensive he became. He’s shot an acceptable 43.1 percent from the field overall for his career (179-of-415) but 23.8 from beyond the arc (25-of-105).

“A lot of it is confidence for me, but you can’t hold back now,” he said. “I’m just so excited for the year. I have a lot of confidence in my game. I have even more confidence in my teammates. Our togetherness is at a whole ‘nother level. I think everyone has bought into the system.”

Oliver has never needed prodding about rebounding. He finished first on the team and fifth in the Atlantic 10 with a 7.8 average last season. He was among the top three in the league until playing limited minutes the last three games because of foul trouble.

The rest of the top five in that category were 6-8 or 6-9 power forwards.

Oliver, who averaged a career-best 8.9 points last season, said rebounding “is definitely one of those things you can’t really teach. It’s more of a hustle stat. I’ve just kind of always been good at it. It’s definitely a goal to lead the Atlantic 10 in rebounding.”

He’s got the frame to do it. He played at around 220 pounds last season but is a solid 230 this year. He arrived at UD from Kalamazoo Central High School in Michigan at 180-185.

“Devin Oliver, quite frankly, is the embodiment of how our program works,” third-year coach Archie Miller said. “He’s 230 pounds — that’s almost 40 pounds heavier than when I walked in here and got the job. That’s what you call a kid really working to improve.

“I feel like he’s going to have a great senior year, and he’s going to have to do it in a lot of different ways for us with his versatility.”

If that means becoming more of an outside threat to complement the rest of his game, and Oliver won’t back away from the challenge.

“My mind,” he said, “is definitely where it needs to be.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Slow start sends Wright State to first Horizon League loss
Slow start sends Wright State to first Horizon League loss

Basketball games generally are won down the stretch, but Wright State’s Raiders believe they lost a close game in the first half Saturday night. A flat opening 20 minutes left the Raiders trailing, and even though they fought back to briefly take the lead in the second half, they couldn’t make the plays down the stretch in a 66-61 loss...
HS Scores 1/2o: Tecumseh’s Thomas nets 28; Ponitz bests Yellow Springs

PREP RESULTS Boys Basketball Friday’s Results Anna 74, Houston 34 Ansonia 52, National Trail 48: Sink (A) 22; Harrison (NT) 21. Beavercreek 43, Miamisburg 39: Saylor, Johnson (B) 10; Hartman (M) 14. Belmont 59, Stivers 52: Ellis (S) 25; Moore (B) 12. Bethel 62, Miami East 49: Rutledge (ME) 17; South (B) 21. Butler 70, West Carrollton 52: Justice...
HS Results 1/20: Trotwood boys knock off Northmont

The Trotwood boys basketball team routed GWOC foe Northmont, 76-73. Myles Belyeu led all scorers with 30 points in the win. Amari Davis tacked on 16 points and Justin Stephens 13. Jabari Perkins and Jamaal Linson each chipped in 16 points for Northmont in the losing effort. Ryan Foy added on 11. The win moves Trotwood to 7-0 in conference and 10-3...
What Oregon coach Dana Altman said after the Ducks’ win over UCLA
What Oregon coach Dana Altman said after the Ducks’ win over UCLA

On Saturday night, Oregon pulled out a much-needed win over UCLA, jumping out to a 17-point lead in the first half and holding off a frenzied UCLA comeback to win, 94-91. The win is Oregon coach Dana Altman’s 200th with the program. In his eight seasons in Eugene, Altman has won at least 20 games in all of them, with a...
Analysis: John Calipari says Kentucky is ‘fine’ after Florida loss, but is it?
Analysis: John Calipari says Kentucky is ‘fine’ after Florida loss, but is it?

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky lost for the second time in as many games, the third time in SEC play and fifth time overall this season on Saturday night against Florida. The Wildcats coughed up mind-boggling turnovers, had another horrible 3-point shooting night, turned a rousing start into a rotten finish again. But...
More Stories