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2014-15 CAA Preview

by - Published November 14, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
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Times continue to change in the CAA, and while there is still good basketball, it’s definitely a new era. Last season saw just two CAA teams reach postseason play. In prior years, the conference had sent more. Plenty of teams have challenging non-conference slates this year, so opportunities for quality wins will be there – but whether or not they come is another story. Another membership change comes this season as Elon joins to bring the conference to ten teams. For now, it seems stable, but conference realignment never seems to really take a break, so enjoy it while it lasts.

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Drexel Dragons 2014-15 Preview

by - Published November 14, 2014 in Conference Notes
drexel

Drexel Dragons (16-14 overall, 8-8 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Fr. G Rashann London
Jr. G Damion Lee
Jr. F Tavon Allen
So. F Rodney Williams
So. F-C Mohamed Bah

Important departures:

Three key starters have graduated: G Frantz Massenat, G Chris Fouch, F-C Dartaye Ruffin.

Returning:

34.7 percent of scoring and 45.8 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Fr. G Rashann London
Fr. G Sam Mojica
Fr. F Tyshawn Myles
Fr. F Austin Williams

Schedule Highlights:

The Dragons will play a tough non-conference schedule with five home games, highlighted by visits from Saint Joseph’s, Southern Miss, La Salle and MAAC contender Iona. They open at Colorado, play Miami and USC or Akron in the first two games at the Charleston Classic, and later travel to Penn State. After opening CAA play with two straight at home, the Dragons go on the road for four of the next five games.

Projected finish and outlook:

Injuries have struck again for the Dragons, as they have already lost two likely starters for the season. Add that to the prduction they already lost with three starters having departed, and normally it would look like a major rebuilding season. But there’s still something to work with, and the Dragons are the only team to finish with a .500 or better record in CAA play each of the past six seasons, so you can’t dismiss this team at all. Lee is one of the best players in the conference, and so far so good in his return. Allen has to go from being a complement to one of the conference’s better players, which he’s certainly capable of doing, and his former travel teammate Freddie Wilson should contribute more in his second season at the school. Williams showed potential as a freshman last year, and he has the physical gifts to turn into a star. With Canady out for the year, London seems the most likely candidate at the point. There is sure to be a learning curve there, so the Dragons are likely to take some lumps during the tough non-conference schedule. Bah should step in where Abif would have, and there will still be some growing pains with sophomores up front. The Dragons will guard you all day and make you grind games out, which means they’ll never be out of games and can break through and win. If London and the other freshmen grow up fast, the Dragons could be in contention in a wide open conference.

Next: Elon Phoenix

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2013-14 CAA Post-Mortem

by - Published May 9, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
colonial

The new era in the Colonial Athletic Association has begun. While there was plenty of competitiveness, as expected, the conference is in a very different time now with arguably its three signature programs having left over the past two years.

Conference champion Delaware was a study in overcoming adversity all season long. The Blue Hens certainly had enough talent and experience to compete for the title, but suspensions of multiple players, including long ones to Devon Saddler and Jarvis Threatt, could have scuttled this magical season. They were challenged in the conference tournament, including in the title game, but as they did all year, they found a way to win.

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Not the ending anyone imagined for Drexel

by - Published March 9, 2014 in Columns
drexel

BALTIMORE – The way Chris Fouch headed to the bench said it all. It wasn’t the way a guy who scores 30 points in a tremendous effort normally would.

This wasn’t how the season was supposed to end for Drexel. Not in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament with a senior-driven team. Not with a 90-81 loss that didn’t feel that close and where there was a good stretch the team looked out-classed. Not in a game where the opponent set a season high for points in a game, and it wasn’t an overtime game. Not in a game where the Dragons scored 60 points in the second half, but allowed the opponent to shoot 65 percent.

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At Drexel, two different guards from different places try to extend their careers

by - Published March 7, 2014 in Columns
drexel

This weekend, Drexel will attempt to prolong a season that began with a lot of promise. It hasn’t quite gone as many had hoped, but two senior guards will try to lead them to a longer season. It is those two guards, who come from different places, who have had different journeys to this point, and who have become like brothers while learning plenty about dealing with adversity, who will try to lead them one last time in the Colonial Athletic Association.

From a basketball standpoint, the backgrounds of Chris Fouch and Frantz Massenat aren’t all that similar. Their careers have been quite different as well, but as teammates they have been a big part of how Drexel has done. Through adversity, they have forged a strong bond that Massenat points out during interviews of both. It is perhaps only fitting that they will finish right next to each other on the school’s all-time scoring list.

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Drexel, key players overcome adversity yet again in win over Alabama

by - Published November 30, 2013 in Columns
drexel

NEW YORK – For Drexel to take home the third place game in the NIT Season Tip-Off the way they did, they had to persevere through a lot. While the challenges that came with Friday were not minimal, the Dragons have a couple of key players in the game who have had to persevere through more in their college careers.

For Chris Fouch and Kazembe Abif, Friday was just one more challenge in a college career that has had plenty of them.

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Drexel 70, Rutgers 59: Three points of emphasis

by - Published November 22, 2013 in Columns
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Piscataway, N.J. – Rutgers’ hopes of getting to New York and the “Final Four” of the NIT Season Tip-Off were dashed by a solid Drexel team. The Dragons earned the trip, defeating the Scarlet Knights 70-59 on their Rutgers Athletic Center home court on Tuesday.

Three points of emphasis from this one:

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Drexel Dragons 2013-14 Preview

by - Published November 5, 2013 in Conference Notes
drexel

Drexel Dragons (13-18 overall, 9-9 conference)

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. G Frantz Massenat
Jr. G Damion Lee
So. F Tavon Allen
Sr. F Dartaye Ruffin
Jr. F Kazembe Abif

Important departures:

Two starters are gone from last season’s team: G Derrick Thomas (9.2 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.3 apg) and F-C Daryl McCoy (4.4 ppg, 8.6 rpg). G Aquil Younger (1.4 ppg, 1.0 rpg) (transferred) has also departed.

Returning:

76.7 percent of scoring and 66.1 percent of rebounding

Additions:

Fr. F Mohamed Bah
Fr. G Major Canady
Fr. F Khris Lane
Fr. F Rodney Williams
Jr. G Freddie Wilson (transfer from Seton Hall, eligible in December)

Schedule Highlights:

Drexel opens a challenging non-conference slate at UCLA and Illinois State, then plays in the NIT Season Tip-Off hosted by Rutgers, where they will have a chance to advance to New York and get two more challenges before later road games at Davidson, Saint Joseph’s and Southern Miss. Of the four home games they have, the toughest is probably against Cleveland State. Early in CAA play, the Dragons play four of five at home, while they close out the regular season with three of four on the road.

Projected finish and outlook:

More was expected of Drexel last year, and with much of that team back they might seem an odd selection to contend again. But injuries and difficulty with adversity didn’t help, and all of those things appear to be mitigated this time around at first glance. Massenat had a slump year in part because of dealing with expectations and then having more heaped on him, especially when Fouch was lost to another season-ending injury and Lee got hurt early and was uneven all season. Ruffin didn’t have the kind of year they needed from him as well, and Abif never really had an off-season prior to the year before and as a result didn’t play last season at a good weight. Fouch will try once more to make it through a season, and if he does he gives them a solid weapon alongside Lee and Allen. McCoy’s loss is bigger than many think, but that can be mitigated if Abif, who had a full off-season, starts to live up to his potential. The Dragons will need someone among the freshmen to have an impact right away in the same manner that Ruffin did three years ago, while the perimeter is more settled and will add an impact transfer in Freddie Wilson in December. While the Dragons’ offense wasn’t nearly as good last year, the defense wasn’t up to its usual standard last year, either, and Bruiser Flint thinks that transferred over to the offensive end. If they defend more like Flint’s teams usually do, there’s enough offensive firepower on this team to score enough to win on many nights.

Next: Hofstra Pride

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New-look CAA trying to find its place in the changing landscape

by - Published October 23, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
colonial

BALTIMORE – As the Colonial Athletic Association goes through more changes, it’s natural to wonder where its place is in college basketball now.  The conference has had major membership changes over the last year and a half, and locations for major events like Media Day and the conference tournament are also changing.  While there is certainly a feeling of newness, one wonders what lies ahead for a conference that had a great run from 2006 to 2012 before things changed drastically.

The CAA is just one conference that is changing in an ever-changing landscape.  In the short term, the conference can be labeled one of the losers in the conference maneuvering.  In the last 18 months, George Mason, Old Dominion and VCU – the conference’s signature programs historically – have all departed, along with a Georgia State program that wasn’t in the conference long but looks like it might be on the rise under Ron Hunter.  What remains starts with five former America East schools and then includes newcomer College of Charleston and three charter members in James Madison, UNCW and William & Mary.  Next year, Elon joins the conference.

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Drexel has had to beat more than just opponents this season

by - Published February 3, 2013 in Columns
drexel

BOSTON – Raise your hand if you thought Drexel would be in the middle of the pack in the CAA this season.

No hands? None at all?

It’s hard to blame anyone who would keep their hand down. There was just about every reason to think Drexel was the clear team to beat in the CAA this season, and we won’t go through those now. But as we are more than halfway home, the Dragons are mired in mediocrity with a 5-5 conference record after losing 59-52 at Northeastern on Saturday night.

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Young UNLV team grows in Brooklyn

November 23, 2014 by

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Teams often grow from early season tournaments, and that appears to be what UNLV did in Brooklyn. The young Runnin’ Rebels need the experience.

Simply put, Syracuse needs to improve offensively

November 22, 2014 by

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Jim Boeheim didn’t have many things to say about his team’s offense, but that said it all. It’s at that end of the floor that Syracuse’s fate this season will be determined.

Growing pains are here for talented Brown team

November 20, 2014 by

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Brown has good talent and should be a factor in the Ivy League, but with three sophomores starting on the perimeter, growing pains are in the foreseeable future

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2014 Prep School Tour

Missed a recap of an open gym workout? We have them all right here for you.

Sept. 9: Putnam Science Academy
Sept 10: Commonwealth Academy
Sept. 11: St. Andrew's
Sept. 12: Northfield Mount Hermon
Sept. 16: Brewster Academy and Phillips Exeter
Sept. 17: Brooks School
Sept. 21: Holderness School
Sept. 23: St. Thomas More and Marianapolis Prep
Sept. 24: South Kent School and Kent School
Sept. 25: Williston Northampton
Sept. 28: Wilbraham and Monson Academy and Suffield Academy
Sept. 30: New Hampton
Oct. 5: Worcester Academy
Oct. 7: Brimmer and May
Oct. 8: Cushing Academy
Oct. 9: Tilton
Oct. 12: Tabor Academy and Rivers School
Oct. 14: The Master's School
Oct. 16: Vermont Academy

You can also find them all right here.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

New England Prep Schools 2014-15: looking back and looking ahead

November 3, 2014 by

nepsac

With a series of prep school open gym visits in the book and the season not far away, here’s a look back at open gyms and a look forward to the season in the New England prep school ranks.

Marianapolis Prep will battle in Class AA

October 20, 2014 by

marianapolis

Marianapolis Prep is far from loaded with talent, but they have enough perimeter talent to be dangerous. As is usually the case, they will battle and be a tough out in Class AA.

New Vermont Academy coach has put together a contender

October 17, 2014 by

vermontacademy

Vermont Academy has a new coach for the second year in a row, but they shouldn’t skip a beat. They have enough talent to win a lot of games and make a deep run in NEPSAC Class AA.

The Master’s School has good students and talent

October 15, 2014 by

mastersschool

The Master’s School has a number of good students, and they will continue to head to college later. This time around, they also have some talent on the hardwood and should win a few more games.

Rivers will try to build on a breakthrough season

October 13, 2014 by

riversschool

The Rivers School had a breakthrough season last year, winning the Independent School League. They will try to build on that with a team that loses a lot but also returns a lot from last season’s team.