College basketball season is right around the corner, and anticipation is building. My early Christmas present will soon arrive, but in the meantime, let’s take a look at the Drexel Dragons basketball team and look at what to expect from this season.
In a recent ranking selected by the league’s coaches, media relations directors and media members during CAA Media Day, the votes have the Dragons finishing eighth in the 10-team Colonial Athletic Association. Though I would be more optimistic, the rankings could very well be the motivation Drexel needs to take their next forward step and prove the doubters wrong.
Head Coach “Bruiser” James Flint is in his 15th season with Drexel. Flint’s team last season was plagued by injuries as they finished 11-19 overall and 9-9 in conference play while losing in the first round of the CAA Tournament against College of Charleston. Kazembe Abif with a right ACL injury. Major Canady with a right ankle injury. Redshirt senior Sooren Derboghosian with a major knee injury. Redshirt junior Damion Lee with a fractured right hand. The injuries kept coming and it was a struggle finding five consistent and healthy bodies on the team.
Fortunately this year’s team will have more depth as the Drexel Dragons will be looking to continue their development, building upon their season from last year.
Now of course, the biggest questions for the Dragons will be how well the team will respond to the departure of Damion Lee, who left to play his last eligible year for Rick Pitino in Louisville. Lee averaged 21.4 points per game, ranking as the 4th leading scorer in the nation. The production will have to come from somewhere, and someone will need to step up and be a leader.
All eyes will be on the seniors Kazembe Abif and Tavon Allen. Abif will return from his right ACL injury to play his last eligible season with the Drexel Dragons. He averaged 7.2 points per game in the 2013-14 season and has made a greater impact with each additional year. Allen is the team’s top returning scorer at 11.2 points per game. Allen is currently entering his final season with 843 career points, which is just shy of the 157 points he needs to become the 35th Dragon to reach 1,000 career points. With that goal in mind and being one of the two seniors on the Dragon’s roster, he will be the key veteran presence to get the Dragons back on track.
Utah transfer and redshirt sophomore Ahmad Fields will get his first chance to play for the Dragons as he sat last year due to NCAA transfer rules. With the two top talents gone in Freddie Wilson and Lee, he could very well be the next player to step up and lead the Dragons in scoring.
The Drexel season will get underway on November 13th against inner-city and Big 5 rival Saint Joseph’s.
Similar to last season, I find the league this year to be just as wide open. A few plays here and a little luck there will be the difference from a good team to a great team. As a current Drexel student and an avid fan of basketball, I am very optimistic with what this season will bring. The potential to be great is there. Now it’s time to execute. DU Believe?