“Actually I think we’re the best team in Philly. I think we can beat anybody in the city.” — BRUISER FLINT
By AARON BRACY
Like Colonel Jessup on the stand in A Few Good Men, Bruiser Flint wanted to tell the truth.
Now, Philly, can you handle it?
After Drexel dusted a very good Georgia State team, 68-46, for their eighth straight win, 14th in 15th games and 12th in a row at home – including all nine this season – Flint questioned Drexel’s place among the six city schools.
Laughingly, he wondered how Philahoops could rank the Dragons (16-5, 8-2 Colonial Athletic Association) fourth, behind Temple, La Salle and Villanova, in our latest rankings.
When asked directly where he would rank Drexel in the city, Flint deflected the question by saying it was up to others. When pressed, Flint unleashed his inner Jack Nicholson.
“Actually I think we’re the best team in Philly,” he said. “I think we can beat anybody in the city.”
(Listen to the entire press conference HERE at the bottom of Josh Verlin’s story.)
He has every reason to feel that way, considering the Dragons’ balanced offensive attack that can hurt you inside and outside. And, of course, Flint’s trademark defense, which held an opponent to 60 points or less for the 10th straight game is ever present.
You want good big men who can score, defend and rebound? Drexel has them in Samme Givens, Daryl McCoy and Dartaye Ruffin.
Guards who can shoot, dish and drive? Check-check-check-check in Damion Lee, Chris Fouch, Derrick Thomas and Frantz Massenat.
The Dragons lead the conference in 3-point field-goal offense and 3-point field-goal defense. That’s a lethal combination for the opposition.
When they want to Drexel locks down the opposition with force, as they did by holding the Panthers to nine points during a game-changing 11-minute stretch over two halves that started with the game tied at 19 and ended with the Dragons ahead by 18.
But do they get enough respect? Flint doesn’t think so.
“I get the whole Drexel in Philly thing,” Flint said. “We always have to make everybody believe.”
Flint gets upset based on judgments by what he perceives is a stereotype on Drexel and its league, rather than an up-close look.
“I don’t think people have been watching,” he said. “Our conference is just as good as the Atlantic 10. In order for us to be a good team in the CAA, we should be able to beat the other teams in the city.”
Flint said this with no ill will toward any of the schools and prequalified his remarks by stating how much respect he had for the other schools, their coaches and players.
And there is no doubt from this vantage point, and I’ve said this for the last month, that Drexel could beat any team in the city.
As far as ranking them, though, that’s really tricky.
Other than Temple, which I’ve seen just twice, I have seen every team in the city in person at least four times this season.
It’s a very difficult thing to rank the teams because it’s an apples-to-oranges comparison because of the competition level. The CAA is a good conference but, top to bottom, it’s not the Big East.
That’s why I give Villanova a slight edge over Drexel. And, based on what I’ve seen, I honestly think Temple and La Salle would beat the Dragons on neutral floor in a best-of-7 series.
However, on one night, I think Drexel could beat Villanova. And La Salle. And Temple.
Unfortunately, we won’t get to see any of those matchups this season. The Dragons lost at St. Joe’s early in the season in Chris Fouch’s first game back from a knee injury, but won’t play another Philly team.
The reason for this, to a large extent, is Philly teams’ unwillingness to play a home-and-home against the Dragons with Drexel’s home contest at the DAC. And, really, who could blame them with the success Drexel has had there under Flint?
So we are left to prognosticate.
And Flint is left to react.
“When we have good teams, we can beat teams in the city,” Flint said. “I think it’s been proven.”
Flint has a good team, maybe even a great team when it’s all said and done.
Where does it rank?
Well, it’s hard to say. As he was leaving the interview room, I told Flint the Dragons would move up next week.
“Three and a half,” I said.
He just laughed.
-Aaron Bracy is the editor of Philahoops. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter: @Aaron_Bracy and Facebook: Facebook.com/Philahoops