Dayton Dunbar seeks third straight Division II state title

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Dayton Dunbar Basketball

Last season Dayton Dunbar was the forgotten team in Division II.
The Wolverines were overshadowed by Kettering Alter and Tippecanoe locally and by Upper Sandusky on the state level. So much for the shadows. This season no one will be overlooking Dunbar. The Wolverines are shooting for their third straight state title and fourth straight state berth.


Last season Dayton Dunbar was the forgotten team in Division II.
The Wolverines were overshadowed by Kettering Alter and Tippecanoe
locally and by Upper Sandusky on the state level. So much for the
shadows.

This season no one will be overlooking Dunbar.

Despite the loss of current Miami Heat and former Ohio State standout Daequan Cook prior to last season, the Wolverines repeated as D-II state champions with a Herculean effort in the tournament en route to a memorable win over Upper Sandusky in the state final.

This season with stalwarts Aaron Pogue (Vincennes Junior College), Norris Cole (Cleveland State) and Anthony Oden (transfer) gone does anyone think Dunbar’s chances of wining a third straight D-II title have diminished? They shouldn’t. The Wolverines still have bite – and the ability to ball.

“I am very excited about our challenges this season,” head coach Peter Pullen said. “With these new challenges we must focus on the same commitment we have had in the past.”

This year Dunbar will be committed to 6-foot-10 senior Joshua Benson. A University of Dayton recruit, Benson blossomed during the Wolverines tournament run last season scoring 29 points and grabbing 15 rebounds in state wins over DeSales and Upper Sandusky. On the season Benson averaged 9.3 points and 6.2 rebounds.

Junior forward Darion Brandon, who had six points and four boards in the state final, will be counted on to lend inside support with his 6-5 frame. Brandon averaged 3.5 points and 4.7 rebounds last season.

Replacing Cole will be the biggest hurdle for the Wolverines. A three-year starter at the point, Cole was instrumental in leading the Wolverines to three straight Final Fours and two titles.

Pullen knows this is an area of concern.

“Our success will depend on our guard play,” said Pullen, who is 72-11 in his three years in charge of the Wolverines. “That is where our inexperience lies.

“With the development of our point guard position we feel the second half of the year will be promising and will carry us into tournament.”

The perimeter isn’t bare.

Returning starter Keith Rakestraw (6-2) will man one guard spot and look to increase his numbers (7.8 points and 2.1 assist) from a year ago. Rakestraw had 16 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals against DeSales in the state semis.

Senior Harvey Stewart will also play a large part in the Wolverines success. Stewart averaged 5.7 points and 2.3 assists last year as one of Dunbar’s top subs and should see his minutes increase significantly.

The Wolverines again face a daunting schedule with non-conference games against Columbus Brookhaven, Beavercreek, Columbus Northland, Bedford St. Peter Chanel, Chaminade-Julienne, Berlin Hiland, Chillicothe and Lexington (Ky.) Dunbar.

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