Sibert Talks Battling Buckeyes

A mere two years ago, Jordan Sibert was still a member of the Ohio State basketball team. But after departing for Dayton, the junior shooting guard finds himself preparing to face the Buckeyes in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday.

Jordan Sibert isn't reading too much into the storylines.

But he's not exactly ignoring them either.

Dayton's junior guard might be playing for the underdog, but he'll be in the spotlight on Thursday when his 11th-seeded Flyers face his former team in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. A four-star guard from Cincinnati Princeton, Sibert transferred from Ohio State following his sophomore season in 2012, but insists that Thursday isn't about him seeking retribution against the Buckeyes.

"It's not about me.  It's not about me playing against old teammates," Sibert said on Wednesday. "It's about Dayton Flyers versus Ohio State.  And at the end of the day, we just want to win."

To say that revenge isn't on Sibert's mind, however, wouldn't be completely accurate either.

The 6-4, 187-pound shooting guard left Columbus for the Gem City following a sophomore campaign that saw him average a measly 11.4 minutes per game. Projected by most to be Ohio State's starting shooting guard following the graduation of Jon Diebler, Sibert was passed over in favor of Lenzelle Smith Jr. and by season's end had lost his place in the Buckeyes' rotation to then-freshman Sam Thompson.

Sibert's transfer didn't come as a surprise and he claims to not have any ill feelings toward OSU head coach Thad Matta and the OSU staff. But his desire to prove himself is palpable in his words as he prepares for the opportunity that he says is every transfer's dream.

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't like I'm not hyped about the game. Playing against your friends and going against people who you've grown up with is definitely, definitely something to be excited about," Sibert said. "I definitely have a big chip on my shoulder."

After spending the required season on the sideline as a transfer in 2013, Sibert managed to make an immediate impact for his new team. In what could have been his senior season in Columbus, the fourth-year junior is averaging a team-high 12.5 points per game for the Flyers and boasts a three-point shooting percentage of 43.9.

Ohio State, meanwhile, has struggled this season from beyond the arc with LaQuinton Ross laying claim to the Buckeyes' best three-point mark with a 36.2 percent success rate from three-point range. But even Sibert admits that a year away from game action may ultimately have been best for his career as he developed while adjusting to his new team's system.

"My redshirt year was very important to me," Sibert stated. "It definitely took my game to a whole other level."

Asked about his former player's time in Columbus, Matta said that this season is a glimpse into the ceiling that he saw for Sibert. But he also noted that he wasn't playing this well in his time as a Buckeye, as evidenced by his 26 percent three-point shooting clip in his sophomore season.

"The way you see him playing right now is where I thought he would be," Matta admitted. "He's a guy who can shoot the basketball, (but) he didn't shoot as great of a percentage as us. You'd have to ask him, but I think that he's really happy in the role he has with Dayton."

And that he is.

Thanks in large part to some help from Matta, Sibert headed down I-70 West to reunite with the coach who brought him to Columbus in the first place in former Ohio State assistant and Dayton head coach Archie Miller. With the Flyers, Sibert has found a starring role that likely wouldn't have been possible at OSU and it wouldn't be a stretch to say that his departure has worked out for all parties involved.

But even so, tomorrow remains extra special for the former Buckeye and current Flyer.

"(I was) definitely excited when I heard that we were playing them," he admitted. "You know, every transfer would love to get a chance to go against their old school again."

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