2008-2009 :15-14, (10-8 Colonial Athletic Association)
Key Losses: Scott Rodgers, Tramayne Hawthorne,
Key Additions: F/C Daryl McCoy, G/F Derrick Thomas, G Shannon Givens
Projected Starting Five:
G Jamie Harris, Junior 8.1 PPG
G Gerald Colds, Junior 9.0 PPG
F Samme Givens, Senior 5.6 PPG
F Leon Spencer, Senior 6.5 PPG
F Evan Neisler, Senior. 7.8 PPG
Backcourt: The loss of Scotty Rodgers (last season's leading scorer) and Tray Hawthorne will definitely hurt the Dragons offensively this season, but they will be returning Jamie Harris and Gerald Colds to fill the scoring void. Harris and Colds don't have the size that Drexel's backcourt has had in years past (Rogers/Mejia), but their speed and scoring ability will be valuable. Off the bench, New York City recruiter extraordinaire Coach Tony Chiles worked his magic again to bring in guards Chris Fouch (red-shirt last season with ACL tear) to provide another scoring threat and Derrick Thomas (not THAT Derrick Thomas) to bring size to the backcourt. Thomas is said to be a nasty 3pt shooter but although he is officially listed as a guard, his 6-foot-4 frame will give him the ability to post up the smaller guards in the CAA. The final piece of the backcourt puzzle is Shannon Givens. The little brother of Drexel forward Samme Givens, Shannon is a smaller/quicker version of Samme, but will most likely not get significant playing time in his freshman season.
Frontcourt: Seniors Even Neisler, Leon Spencer and Kenny Tribbett are will rotate in the power forward and center positions. A former Boston College transfer, Neisler finally developed the 15-foot jump shot last year that we have all been waiting for and that has opened up his game significantly. Undersized 6-foot-5 sophomore forward Samme Givens may not be a pure scoring threat but should once again improve on his already impressive freshman year rebounding numbers (Givens led the CAA in offensive rbs/game last season). Newcomer Darly McCoy, a 6-foot-9 270 lb freshman, will be an interesting player to watch purely because of his size. Looking more like a defensive tackle than a power forward, McCoy could provide an inside presence the Dragons have been sorely lacking in recent years. He hasn't stepped on the court yet, but rumor has it that his footwork and mobility are still a work in progress.
Player to Watch: A could like a group of players in this section but the main player to watch this season will be Kenny Tribbett. A highly touted F/C from Chester has, to this point unfortunately, not lived up to expectations. At 6-foot-9 and 240 lbs, Tribbett was expected to provide the inside void left by Chaz Crawford and Frank Elegar two years ago. Last season, Tribbett averaged only 2.7 ppg and 3.1 rpg . Bruiser will still give Tribbett playing time in his senior season but in order to keep that playing time, he must provide more of a spark than last year.
Games to Watch: The first game to watch is this upcoming Tuesday's 8am game against Niagara. Yes, that's right…I said AM, not PM. The Dragons are playing this game as part of an ESPN 24-hour basketball marathon for the second year in a row.
Drexel plays two games against top-5 ranked Wildcats team in the non-conference schedule. On December 2nd, the Dragons head to the Pavilion to play Villanova. In their last meeting at the Pavilion, the Dragons surprised 'Nova in a 81-76 win in '06. Please note that this victory by Drexel was directly in the middle of Villanova's much publicized 15-game Big 5 undefeated streak from '05-'08.
Another major game to watch is the Dragons game at Rupp Arena in Kentucky on December 22nd. Bruiser coached under Calipari at UMass, but both stayed close even after the reigns were handed to Bru in the midst of Calipari's first of two serious recruiting scandals. Kentucky will most likely dominate the Dragons, but it will be cool to see the Dragons paly at Rupp against a title contender.
Prediction: The CAA is returning most of its talent from last season and Drexel is picked by the media to finish 7th in the league. Drexel will finish 18-15 and finish in 4th place in the CAA. They'll be knocked out by Old Dominion in the semi-finals of the CAA tournament and get an NIT bid. Contrary to what Penn State fans believe, what they do after getting that NIT bid makes absolutely no difference at all.