DaRon Holmes is making more than a POY case for the A-10, as the Dayton Basketball star is proving to be one of the best players in the country.
It's been a rough time for the Atlantic 10, with several programs underachieving compared to expectations. The one exception has been Dayton Basketball, who after a strong non-conference campaign, enters the week at 13-2 and tied for first place in the standings at 3-0.
The latest win came on national television on Friday, taking on Duquesne on the road. In a rare sell-out crowd for the Dukes, it was a prime opportunity for someone to take out the top team in the league. But when you have DaRon Holmes on the roster, it's a tall challenge, even for a team in Duquesne with plenty of depth at the center position.
The Flyers were up double-digits early on Duquesne, thanks to Holmes producing 6 pts and 4 rebs, just four minutes in. The home underdogs had no answer for Holmes all night, as he finished with a season-high 33 points and 12 rebounds on 12/18 shooting, and 3/5 from deep. Dayton won 72-62 to set itself up to get ranked in the next AP top-25 poll.
Holmes, the Preseason A-10 Player of the Year and all-conference star, is averaging 18.7 ppg and 7.3 rpg. The junior big man and former top-50 prospect out of high school has played even better than expected and is leading the Flyers to a near-guaranteed at-large bid this season for the first time since the pandemic ended the 2019-20 season.
The development of Holmes has been an impressive feat for Coach Anthony Grant, who after having All-American forward Obi Toppin, has another national star. Holmes is one the same level as Isaiah Stevens, the star point guard of Colorado State. And he's playing as one of the best 15 players in the country, thanks to his consistent dominant play without any off-games.
At this point, it's all but guaranteed that DaRon Holmes will win A-10 Player of the Year and that Dayton Basketball will likely win the league, as long as the guards remain healthy. The big question left is whether he's going to earn All-American honors at the end of the season in the national landscape. He's not Zach Edey but in the next tier of great big men, Holmes is right there in the mix.