By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Hopes for the 2012-13 season were very high for Drexel. Coming off a 29-win season in 2011-12 with most of the squad back, the Dragons were picked to win the Colonial Athletic Association. But Drexel started slow with two straight heartbreaking, overtime losses, and never found their pace. They finished 13-18 overall, 9-9 (seventh) in the conference.
Surprisingly, one of the Dragons biggest problems last year was stopping the other team.
“Last year defense wasn’t one of our greatest things,” Drexel head coach Bruiser Flint tells KYW Newsradio. “We’ve got get back to doing those things, that’s one of our staples we kind of hang out hats on. So we’ve got to get back to that defensive mentality.”
And Flint hopes that will help the Dragons get back on track here in the 2013-2014 season. The pundits think last year was an aberration, as the Dragons were picked to finish second in the CAA preseason poll, behind only Towson.
Drexel does have a lot of talent returning including junior guard Damion Lee, who averaged a team high 17.1 points last season, while also pulling down about five rebounds a game. Senior guard Frantz Massenat averaged 14.7 points a game last season, while also dishing out a team-high 131 assists. And guard Chris Fouch is back. He was granted a sixth year of eligibility after missing just about all of last season with a broken ankle. He is 20th, all-time, in scoring in Drexel history, with 1,194 points.
“If we can stay healthy and our attitudes can be like they’ve been in practice, we have an opportunity, I think, to do some good things,” Flint says. “We’re talented enough. We just have to put our minds to what we want to do and they’re picking us high again in the league and if we do the things we’re supposed to do, then I think we have a good chance of having a good season.”
There are some new faces on the Drexel roster and Flint says they will need freshmen to contribute.
“We’re going to need one of our big guys, either Rodney Williams, Mohamed Bah or Khris Lane to really step up and play for us,” Flint says. “They’re going to get some meaningful minutes. Major Canady will probably be the back-up point guard.”
We get our first look at the Dragons on Friday night when they open the season out in Los Angeles, against the UCLA Bruins.
“They’re ranked top-20 (#22 preseason AP),” Flint says. “Steve Alford, new coach out there. They re-did (UCLA’s home arena) Pauley (Pavilion), I think it’s their first game in the redone gym, so its going to be packed in there. So it’s a good test for us.”
Drexel and UCLA will tip-off at 9:00pm PT (midnight ET) on Friday night.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.