CAA Preview: Drexel Dragons
Last year: 29-7 Overall (16-2 CAA) 1st in the CAA, Lost to VCU in the CAA Championship, Lost to UMass in the NIT quarterfinal.
What Happened: Statistically and arguably talent-wise the best team in the CAA last year. With its 29 wins, Drexel set a school record for victories and captured their first CAA-regular season title. However, a lousy non-conference schedule and a motivated VCU team resulted in Coach Flint’s team not receiving a bid to the NCAA tournament and losing the CAA tournament title. The Dragons did advance to the quarterfinals of the NIT tournament, ultimately losing to UMass by two-points.
• Samme Givens (F): The only starter not returning for the Dragons but what a starter he was. He’s just the third player in Drexel history to have 1000-plus in both points and rebounds with 1,226 points and 1,059 rebounds. The graduate started every game his junior and senior year and earned second team All-CAA honors in both years. He was sixth in the CAA with rebounds 7.9 rebounds a game and twenty-first in the CAA with 11.6 rebounds a game. The absence of this big man will result in Coach Flint going with “small ball” for a majority of his line-ups, unless Dartaye Ruffin improves substantially.
• Frantz Massenat (G): The returning captain lead the Dragons in scoring last year with 13.7 a game and lead the league in assist with 4.8 a game. The junior also earned first team All-CAA honors last year and is the 2012-13-preseason player of the year. Massenat was the leading scorer last year when Drexel beat VCU in the regular season with 24 points.
• Chris Fouch (G): Will likely return as a sixth man for Drexel this year. Even though the senior came off the bench last year, he still managed to average double digit scoring with 10.8 a game. He begins his final season tied seventh all-time in three-pointers at Drexel with 191.
• Damion Lee (G): Competed all of last season with Northeastern’s Quincy Ford for rookie of the year, but ultimately took the honors as he averaged 12 points and 4.4 rebounds a game. The impressive thing is that the kid was able to improve in post season play as he was named to the CAA’s all-tournament team after averaging more than 15 points in Drexel’s three tournament games, including a 20 and 10 double-double against VCU in the championship.
Outlook: With Drexel returning all but one starter, the team is definitely the favorite to win the CAA regular season title. However, Coach Flint made the same mistake he made last year in scheduling a horrible non-conference schedule (toughest games being Kent State and Princeton?!). This will result in more pressure on the Dragons in terms of the CAA tournament, because if they lose even one non-conference game, they’re probably not receiving a bid. Delaware and George Mason are threats, but Drexel should approach this season knowing that it has the talent to win the CAA regular season title and Championship.
- Zolan Kanno-Youngs