CAA Preview – Drexel University Dragons

By: Jeremy Leopold

4732_drexel_dragons-alternate-2002Head Coach: James “Bruiser” Flint (15th season)

Last Season: 11-19 (9-9 CAA 6th place)

Losses: G Damion Lee, G Freddie Wilson, C Sooren Derboghosian

Newcomers: G Terrell Allen, F Andrew Cartwright, G Miles Overton (transfer will sit out 2015-2016 season)

 

The big news out of Drexel this offseason was the transfer of star guard Damion Lee. Forgoing his final year of eligibility at Drexel, Lee decided to transfer to Louisville where he will be able to play immediately as a graduate transfer. Without Lee this is a much different looking squad from the one that disappointed last season.

Flint’s squad struggled out of the gate last season starting 4-14. They then followed that up by reeling off six straight wins, all against conference opponents. They then lost three in a row before an injury forced Lee to miss the final two regular season games and the CAA tournament. They went 1-2 in those games, including a season ending loss in the first round to a last place College of Charleston team.

Losing Lee down the stretch was huge because he was Drexel’s only real weapon. Lee led the conference in scoring despite playing on the second lowest scoring offense in the league. By the end of the season, Lee had actually accounted for more than a third of Drexel’s points at 21.4 per game, and even when he wasn’t scoring he was facilitating, averaging 2.3 assists.

The one saving grace for the Dragons was their defense, where they led the conference in points against giving up just 64.3 per game. Unfortunately for Drexel, a lot of their defensive success can be credited to Lee, who’s length and athleticism at 6-foot-6 wreaked havoc, landing him in the top 5 of the conference in steals with more than 1.5 per game. Even on the glass, Lee was one of two Dragons to average more than five rebounds per game.

Looking at this season, no one player can fill the void but there are a number of guys poised to step up. After a solid freshman campaign in 2013-2014, Major Canady looked like he was ready to become a solid number two option in the backcourt, but an ankle injury kept him out for the entire season last year delaying his potential breakout until this season.

Staying in the backcourt, Tavon Allen is the guy who Drexel will look to shoulder the biggest load. Allen was the only Dragon not named Lee to average double digits in points last season, and was the team’s primary facilitator, leading the Dragons in assists. The biggest step forward Allen will need to make is in his efficiency where he struggled last season, shooting just 32% from the field and 28% from deep.

Rashann London had a similar season to Allen efficiency wise and will also look to take a big step forward after starting all 30 games as a freshman. London showed that Flint won’t hesitate in playing his younger guys, but incoming freshman Terrell Allen will have to fight for minutes in a crowded backcourt.

In the frontcourt, there isn’t much depth with Rodney Williams and Mohamed Bah serving as the only big men who made much of an impact last season. Freshman Andrew Cartwright is likely a year away from getting playing time, and Tyshawn Myles and Austin Williams were unimpressive in limited minutes last season.

Bottom Line: The loss of Lee is devastating for Flint’s squad. While there is still some talent, especially in the backcourt, Drexel will have to go through a difficult adjustment period of finding guys to fill Lee’s big shoes. Look for them to finish in the mid to lower half of the pack this season with a big improvement coming next season when Wake Forest transfer Miles Overton becomes eligible after sitting out this year due to transfer rules.

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