Last season, the Drexel Dragons frontcourt utilized a three-man rotation with Samme Givens and Daryl McCoy in the starting lineup and Dartaye Ruffin coming off the bench. A year later, Givens has graduated and is playing professionally in Holland allowing Ruffin to move into the starting line up . With a frontcourt of McCoy and Ruffin this year, who will see the bulk of the minutes off the bench for the Dragons?
One of the options for Bruiser Flint will be talented freshman Casey Carroll. Carroll last played competitive basketball at Kiski Prep (PA) where he averaged 21 points and 12.5 rebounds per game during the 2010-11 season. Carroll was then redshirted by the Drexel coaching staff to get acclimated to the college game.
“I was a little disappointed that I didn’t have the opportunity to play right out of Kiski,” Carroll told Philahoops. “I know it was a good decision by Coach to redshirt me because our team was very good.”
With those kinds of numbers at the prep level, any player would feel like he could contribute to a NCAA D-I program right away. As disappointing as redshirting can be, it can also be an eye opening learning experience.
“I think redshirting last year was a huge advantage for myself. I observed how Bru coaches and his tendencies during the games, so now I have the opportunity to apply what I learned last year to this year.”
Spending last season on the bench also gave the 6-foot-8 225 pound Carroll the opportunity to mold his body into that of a true college forward. Although he brings a unique athleticism to the Drexel bench, Carroll says, “I am trying to improve my strength and my weight to compete with the bigger guys.”
The competition to be the first forward off of the bench will be tough with sophomore Kazembe Abif and junior Goran Pantovic also vying for minutes. However through the competition, Carroll says, “I feel good about what minutes I can play.”
Carroll also welcomes the challenge of playing with veteran players like Ruffin and McCoy and fighting for minutes saying, “Playing behind them (Ruffin and McCoy) in practice every day will be a good challenge not only for myself but also for Kazembe and Goran to put in a lot of minutes this year.”
As for the team, Carroll says he feels the Dragons will be “very good” this year. Even with the high expectations though, he still knows that the team will have to put in the hard work needed to win the big games. “We will have a big target on our back,” Carroll says, “so we have to practice and prepare even harder to make a good run.”
Although it is unclear which player will see the bulk of the minutes in Drexel’s frontcourt rotation, Carroll is making his presence felt. He has had the time to learn, and any knowledge that the already talented Carroll can add to his game will only make him that much more valuable. It is clear that Carroll is determined to earn his playing time on Bruiser Flint’s squad this season, and he knows the hard work that will be needed.
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