Back in Time for CAA Play

Listen, 6-7 is not that bad of a record for Drexel to have compiled in non-conference play. 

One of those wins did come against Arcadia, and one of the losses was at the hands of Loyola, but wins over La Salle and Houston, and a close game versus Temple should give Drexel fans confidence as we head into CAA Play.

It's tricky to make any kind of prediction as to how the Dragons will fare in conference play this year. At the beginning of the season, I did predict Drexel would finish one game over .500, so going by that, Drexel would have a winning record in conference play. 

This is still doable, but it will not be easy. 

You're reading a blog on a website with "Dragons" in the title, so unless you're a Game of Thrones nerd who stumbled across this site, you probably know Drexel has battled injuries all season. I won't elaborate, but it looks like Troy Harper will definitely be ready for CAA play, Miles Overton might be, and Sam Green most likely won't be. 

It is so crucial for Drexel to have these guys back and healthy for conference play for several reasons. 

Number one, Overton and Harper can be used to break up the two headed point guard of Tramaine Isabell and Kurk Lee the Dragons have been running this year out of necessity. 

The emergence and strong play of Alihan Demir has enabled Coach Spiker to use a big lineup where he plays Mojica at the two, and Demir with Stretch and Doles/Kararinas/Myles.

Harper will be able to get a bucket when Drexel needs one. and Overton should be able to make an impact on defense, but above all, they will be able to break up some minutes. 

Lee, Isabell and Mojica have all been playing way too many minutes and it has effected their production late in games. Just look at Quinnipiac. Lee knocked down the game winning three pointer. He only played 30 minutes that game as opposed to his usual 40. Would he have had the legs and concentration to make that shot with 10 additional minutes of play?

Isabell, who played all 40 minutes in that game made a costly turnover very late as he tried to dribble between two pressing defenders. Tramaine usually has the ball on a damn string and can make that look easy, but if you're tired, nothing is easy no matter how skilled you are. 

There is no doubt in my mind Lee and Isabell will both be more productive if they can get a blow every once in a while, and especially if neither is forced to be without the ball. 

They are ball dominant guards and neither is good at moving without it. 

I am curious to see Isabell and Harper playing together. Both have the ability to drive and score, and both are phenomenal athletes. I think Isabell will make it easy for Harper to get clean looks all over the court, and it wouldn't shock me if he averages double figures in scoring this year.

The concern one might have would be how do you fit these new pieces into the puzzle. The good news is Drexel really has not developed an identity yet. 

At their best, they have guards who can score, Mojica hitting three's, Demir putting up numbers and Stretch dunking the ball and blocking shots. Those games are few and far between. At their worst, you have Lee and Isabell passing the ball back and forth to one another and everyone else standing still. 

For the most part, the Dragons have been somewhere in between that. Lee, unsurprisingly has put up his best numbers when Isabell hasn't played. Different players have stepped up on the scoring front in different games. They have never been healthy enough to become a well oiled offense. 

When Harper and Overton get acclimated, which shouldn't take very long, Drexel can be a very dangerous team. Spiker knows what he is doing, and when the players get enough reps in his system it will show. 

The bottom line is getting players healthy will result in a better team. I know, I know, I'm a regular John Wooden. 

Drexel can be a top four CAA team just as easily as they can finish in the bottom four. I anticipate they'll lose a few games early and win a few surprising ones later on. What I am certain of is if they stay healthy, we will see this team develop an identity which is key for any good program.