Dayton's Dyshawn Pierre, suspended for semester, nears return

Dayton standout Dyshawn Pierre, suspended by the school for the first semester, returned to practice Sunday and could make his season debut on Dec. 30 against Arkansas.

At one point, Dayton coach Archie Miller, who hadn't seen Pierre on the court since early September, was contemplating redshirting his leading returning scorer from a year ago. Miller told ESPN that while he is unlikely to play Pierre on Tuesday night at home against Miami-Ohio, the 6-foot-6 senior will likely make his season debut after Christmas against the Razorbacks.

"He looks great," Miller said. "I was surprised with how good he looked, to be honest. But he still hasn't played in months. He's missed 48 practices and 10 games. So we'll evaluate him on a day-to-day basis -- and he'll have to evaluate himself."

Dayton is 8-2 without Pierre, who was suspended by the school in September following sexual assault allegations by another student. Pierre has been vocal about his innocence, and he even sued the school in federal court. However, the suspension was upheld, and Pierre was not allowed to be on campus in the first semester.

Pierre issued a statement Tuesday saying that he and his family are still exploring their options and that "this injustice will be corrected."

"I am thrilled to be back with my team and coaching staff," Pierre said in the statement. "I would like to thank everyone who has supported me through this most trying time. My family and I are very disappointed but our hope is that the University of Dayton will handle these types of cases with greater care as a result of my fight."

The Flyers have gone to the NCAA tournament each of the past two seasons with Pierre, who averaged 12.7 points and 8.1 rebounds last season for a Dayton team that won 27 games.

"We're really different," Miller admitted. "We have a lot of different lineups we can play with Dyshawn. We can go big or small. It's a whole different ballgame for us."