Looking at Drexel
The Dragons are loaded with talent, depth and experience. They return all but Samme Givens from last season’s team that went 29-7 overall, including 19 straight victories and a pair of postseason victories in the NIT.
Coach Bruiser Flint is one of the more underrated coaches in the country and his teams regularly give fits to opponents, particularly on the defensive end. In 11 seasons, Flint has transformed Drexel into not just a conference power but a team that has proven its ability to compete with the big boys.
Drexel has one of the best home-court advantages in the country, with the raucous DAC and its revelers – also known as the DAC Pack.
In point guard Frantz Massenat and off guard Damion Lee, the Dragons have the two best guards in the CAA – and a backcourt that any coach in the country would love to have.
Massenat, the conference’s Preseason Player of the Year and a first-team Philahoops preseason pick, emerged last season as a sophomore when he led the team by averaging 13.7 points and 4.8 assists. As a freshman, Lee was just behind with 12 points per contest.
What can go right?
A lot. Massenat and Lee can continue their ascent, and a now-healthy Chris Fouch can thrive again in his scoring role as the team’s sixth man. Fouch, a senior, averaged 10.5 points last season, including 14.3 in his last 11 games when he was feeling more recovered from offseason knee surgery.
Big men Daryl McCoy and Dartaye Ruffin will help make up for the loss of Givens, one of the best players in Drexel history who grabbed 7.9 rebounds and made innumerous off-court contributions.
Newcomers, like Tavon Allen, Kazembe Abif and Casey Carroll, will fill in as key reserves and provide strong depth for Flint.
What can go wrong?
Despite 29 victories, the NCAA selection committee left Drexel out of the Big Dance last March. Were the Dragons good enough? Absolutely. Was it a snub? Absolutely not.
The Dragons’ nonconference schedule wasn’t good enough. All of that isn’t Flint’s fault, however, as big-conference opponents aren’t exactly eager to play Drexel.
Flint managed to put together a slightly better nonconference schedule this season, but the Dragons will be hurt by VCU’s exit from the CAA and its negative effect on the league’s all-important RPI.
The Dragons will have some chances to make a mark, with games against St. Mary’s and St. Joe’s. They have some tough mid-major opponents, such as Kent State, Illinois State and Fairfield – games that won’t be easy, for sure, but contests they’ll need to win.
A few early-season slips on the nonconference portion of the schedule could, once again, come back to bite the Dragons in the event that they fail to win the CAA conference tourney and gain the league’s automatic NCAA bid.
What will happen?
Flint’s team won’t have to worry about the committee this time because the Dragons, after finishing atop the league’s regular-season conference standings, will capture the CAA tourney title.
They’ll also put the national audience on notice with an impressive performance in Anaheim, Calif., Nov. 22-25, where they will win the Anaheim Classic.
After being left out of the NCAA tournament last season, Drexel fans have come up with a slogan for 2012-13: “Revenge of the Dragon.”
Yes, Drexel fans, you’ll have your revenge. Start shopping now because, come March, you’ll need your dancing shoes.
More Drexel coverage:
-Read the Drexel season preview by staff writers Kevin Rossi and Mike Angelina HERE.
-Follow all of Philahoops’ Dragons coverage on the Drexel page HERE.