By Jon Rothstein
» More Columns
Frantz Massenat isn’t satisfied with being on the cusp of the NCAA Tournament.
Drexel’s talented point guard emerged as one of the nation’s better floor generals last season but he’s not going to be happy until the Dragons are playing in college basketball’s most fabled event.
After winning 19 games in a row and 25 out of 27, Bruiser Flint’s team fell to VCU in the CAA Tournament Finals by three points and then lost to UMass in the NIT. The Dragons were not awarded an at large bid to the NCAA Tournament despite having what many thought was a valid case.
“We know we accomplished a lot but the way our season ending was disappointing,” Massenat said on Saturday at the 2nd Annual Mary Kline Classic in Pennington, New Jersey. “Our final two losses, in the CAA Tournament to VCU and in the NIT to UMass were games we should have won. We know we were fortunate enough to win 19 games in a row and not a lot of teams are able to do that, but we want more. We want to be in the NCAAs.”
The pieces are in place for Drexel to accomplish just that next season. The only major loss for the Dragons head will be veteran forward Samme Givens. Everyone else returns from a team that finished 29-7 and the Dragons will add 6-foot-7 wing Tavon Allen, a rotation player who red shirted this past season.
Drexel’s perimeter should be good enough to compete with any back court it faces, no matter what conference the competition plays in.
“We’re set at the guard spots,” said Massenat, who noted he’s working tirelessly on his mid range game during the off season. “I think Damion Lee proved he was one of the better offensive freshman in the country last year and Chris Fouch should be fully healthy next year while Derrick Thomas is an older guy who brings a defensive mindset. Aquil Younger has also really improved since the end of the season.”
The main thing for Drexel will be finding a reliable third big man up front behind Dartaye Ruffin and Darryl McCoy. Forward Kaz Abif is a candidate but don’t be surprised if Flint uses different four guard alignments to maximize the Dragons’ overall firepower.
Massenat, who averaged 13.7 points per game as a sophomore after averaging 5.5 as a freshman, should be mentioned as one of the elite point guards in the country next season and Lee is a potential candidate for All CAA First-Team honors down the line. The 6-foot-6 sophomore to be had 20 points and 10 rebounds in the CAA Tournament Finals against VCU and averaged 12 points and 4.4 rebounds per outing as a freshman. Fouch and Thomas are also capable of reaching 20 plus points on a given night.
Despite the constant chatter about defections in the CAA, the league still looks to be in tact and will boast two potential Top 25 teams next season in VCU and Drexel. George Mason and Old Dominion will also be competitive as usual and Delaware and Hofstra are expected to be vastly improved.
“The league speaks for itself,” Massenat said. “VCU has a track record now of postseason season success the past few years and they’re extremely tough to play but we’re concerned about ourselves. We know what we’re working for. We want to be in the NCAA Tournament.”
Do you think Drexel will make the NCAAs next year? Sound off below…