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Dayton still feels like home for Flyers great Roosevelt Chapman

Published: Tuesday, May 21, 2019 @ 11:57 AM

University of Dayton basketball legend Roosevelt Chapman in the 1980s.
Contributed Photo
University of Dayton basketball legend Roosevelt Chapman in the 1980s.(Contributed Photo)

Two days after his induction into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame, Roosevelt Chapman, the all-time leading scorer in Dayton men’s basketball history, talked to the voice of the Dayton Flyers, Larry Hansgen, on WHIO Radio on Tuesday morning.

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Here are some highlights from the conversation:

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Q: You live in South Dakota now. You grew up in Brooklyn. But in some way is Dayton still home?

A: Dayton is definitely still home. Even when I lived in New York after playing in Dayton, Dayton became my second home, and it still is today. It’s because of the fans and all the support they showed me.

Q: When you left Brooklyn and came to Dayton as a freshman, did you anticipate having the type of career and making the type of impact you did on Flyer Nation?

A: When I first got here, I asked one of the players or coaching staff — I think it was Jack Butler — who’s the all-time leading scorer? He said, ‘It’s Donnie May.’ I said that’s the record I’m going to break. I was kind of joking to a degree, but to another degree, I take basketball very seriously, and I try to work hard.

Q: To do what you did, you had to put together four years of exceptional basketball, but perhaps that senior year in 1984 was the icing on the cake. You were the leading scorer in the NCAA tournament that year. You broke Don May’s scoring record. I remember that game very well. It was a loss actually on the road at Maryland. What do you remember about that game?

A: That was a great game. A lot of fans in the stands were like, “Ooh ooh,” every time I made a point, getting closer to the all-time scoring record. It was a great game. I believe Len Bias was playing in that particular game. They had a very good team. We came up a little short, but it was a great game. It was a memorable game, especially for me.

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Q: That Dayton Flyer team was just kind of treading water at 7-7. It didn’t look like you guys were going anywhere. Then you’re playing on the road at Temple. Temple’s ranked in the top 20. Coach (Don) Donoher decided to go small. Did you feel like that move helped you catch fire?

A: At first, I was like, ‘What is coach doing? We’re really going to be short with this lineup.’ But by the grace, it turned out to be very well. He inserted Damon Goodwin, one of the best shooters in Dayton history, and he really prevailed for us. Anytime I couldn’t get a shot out or any other members of the team, they would kick it out to him, and it was lights out if he shot it.

Q: Give our listeners an update on what you’re doing these days.

A: I’m kind of semi-retired. I continue to do private basketball lessons for high school and middle-school students out there in Sioux Falls, S.D., where I live.

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Q: I know you were able to visit with some Dayton fans in 2014. You made the trip to Memphis for Dayton’s run to the Elite Eight. It seemed like every time I turned around, there was a Roosevelt Chapman photo op. What was that like?

A: It was kind of different from when I played from ‘80-84. Back then, after a game, there used to be probably 50 to 100 people, fans, waiting in line to get an autograph from me. Now with the new technology and the cell phones, I might have signed one autograph, but I might have taken 1,000 selfies and pictures with fans. The times have changed. The spirit is still there. It was a great feeling. I think my cheeks got a little warm from smiling so much and taking so many pictures. It was a great experience.