By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Drexel will go for a 12th straight win on Wednesday night as the Dragons take to the road to visit James Madison.
This winning streak has upped the Dragons’ record to 19-5 on the season. One big reason for this success, is the play of Drexel’s lone senior on the roster, forward Samme Givens.
Givens has been a consistent force during his four years at Drexel. This season, he is averaging 12 points and just over seven rebounds a game and he is approaching a very special milestone. Givens needs 54 rebounds to become just the third player in the history of Drexel basketball to score 1,000 points in a career while also pulling down 1,000 boards (Malik Rose and Bob Stephens are the others).
The accomplishment is even more impressive when you consider that Givens comes in at 6-5 and is usually doing his work against guys several inches taller than him. The Philadelphia native and Academy of the New Church High School product says he enjoys frustrating those bigger opponents.
“Oh definitely. Ain’t nothing worse than when a dude smaller than you is outworking you. It feels good for me, I’m proud of myself.”
Listen to KYW’s Matt Leon interview Samme Givens:
Givens work down low is also a source of pride for Dragons head coach Bruiser Flint.
“The kid has had a great career. I’m hoping that he gets it, that’s something special. A lot of people don’t get it, 1,000 points/1,000 rebounds. Especially him, he’s an undersized big man. I said it from day one, when he first started playing for me. The one thing I realized, after the first five or six games in which we played and he was a freshman, I said it doesn’t matter who is on the court, he’ll get rebounds against them.”
Flint talks about what allows Givens to excel on the glass.
“He’s a kid that just has great instincts. And he always says that his mother told him, ‘If you want to score points, go rebound the ball.’ So he has always had that in him since he started playing basketball. And it’s paying off for him now.”
Listen to KYW’s Matt Leon interview Bruiser Flint:
As the lone senior on the roster, Givens also is a leader for the Dragons, and that’s a responsibility he takes seriously.
“But I think I got a lot of good guys that are around me that’s making it easier for me like Frantz Massenat who is doing big things, Damion Lee that’s stepping up, Daryl McCoy, Dartaye Ruffin, Derrick Thomas, Chris Fouch. Everybody out there on the bench is ready, helping me out and making sure that it’s just not on my shoulders, and know that it’s a team thing. And I know that they got my back.”
Now the approach to 1,000 points and a 1,000 rebounds is nothing new to the Givens family. Samme’s dad Kevin was one of the greatest players in West Chester history, and is actually the school’s alltime leading scorer with more than 2,000 points. But he missed the 1,000 rebound plateau by nine and Samme is aware that he now has an opening for bragging rights in the Givens household.
“I’m definitely bringing it home and I’m going to talk trash to my father once I do get it, that I beat you in rebounding.”
Givens and Drexel will tip-off with James Madison at 7:00pm on Wednesday night.