By Jon Rothstein
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FIVE OBSERVATIONS FROM DREXEL
1. FRANTZ’S FINESSE
Frantz Massenat may be a sophomore — but he certainly doesn’t play like one. The 6-foot-4 point guard is a throw back player in every sense of the word and slightly resembles former Temple floor general Pepe Sanchez. Operating with the confidence of a veteran and the precision of a surgeon, Massenat should be one of the better players in the CAA if he refines his ability to make outside shots.
Plenty of coaches would like to have the luxury of bringing their leading returning scorer off the bench and that’s just what Drexel coach Bruiser Flint will do with Dragons guard Chris Fouch. Just like he did last year, Flint will use Fouch as a 6th man once he returns from a knee injury in late November. Expect to see the 6-foot-2 scorer in uniform when Drexel does battle with cross town rival St. Joseph’s on November 30th.
3. LEE A KEY?
Rarely will freshmen be ready to start from day one in college basketball but Damion Lee may not have a choice. With Fouch set to be the team’s ace reserve, the 6-foot-6 Lee is penciled in as the Dragons third starter on the perimeter next to Massenat and wiry wing Derrick Thomas. A dead eye shooter with great size, Lee resembles a mid-major version of former North Carolina star Danny Green.
4. BOP AND WEAVE
Samme Givens doesn’t always pass the eye test — but if you watch him play enough it really doesn’t matter. The 6-foot-5 power forward averaged a double-double last season and has a craftiness in the low post that allows him to get off nearly any shot he desires. By the end of the year, people should be talking about this southpaw as a potential CAA Player of the Year candidate — he’s that good.
5. LENGTH, LENGTH, AND MORE LENGTH
Teams at the mid-major level aren’t always synonymous with great size but Drexel is a different story. With Massenat, Thomas, Lee, Givens, and 6-foot-9 big man Daryl McCoy all likely to be starters, the Dragons won’t have a starter under 6-foot-4 — that’s a rarity for a team in the CAA. Look for Flint to maximize the Dragons’ length with regular pressure and traps in hopes of wearing down his opponent at all costs.
FINAL SYNOPSIS: There’s no doubt that Drexel has all the makeup of a team that’s built to break through and challenge for a conference title. The key will be if McCoy and fellow big man Dartaye Ruffin can finish easy baskets at the rim and if the Dragons as a whole become a better shooting team from the outside.
The addition of Lee will help but Massenat, Thomas, and Fouch will all have to become reliable at putting the ball in the basket if this team is to wind up where it hopes to be — the NCAA Tournament.