It was a very weird season.
Was it always pretty? Nope. Was it so insanely bizzare that looking back I still can't really wrap my head around it? Yup.
The regular season didn't end exactly how the Drexel Dragons had envisioned it, in fact, it was probably exactly how they didn't want to end the season, but that's all water under the bridge. This team needs to look forward to the CAA Tournament where, if they have shown anything this year, they can beat any team in that conference.
While they focus on the real season, I'm going to take a look back at the regular season's most memorable moments.
Number 10 - Alihan vs. Charleston
The home game at Charleston was such an odd game. Tramaine Isabell didn't have his best night, and coach Spikers motto of "Sometimes me, sometimes you, always us" rang true, and a fellow transfer had himself a game.
All season long, Alihan Demir has impressed me. He seems to have plenty of offensive skill, and often slows the game down when the opposition is going on a run. He will need to get faster to improve his defense and increase his rebounding numbers next year, but so far so good for Alihan.
When Charleston came to the DAC, the Dragons were coming off of back to back ass kickings, and while not fully realized at that point, Charleston clearly had some of the most talent in the CAA. Someone needed to step up, and Demir did. Kurk Lee came alive scoring 5 of his 22 points on the night in overtime, but it was Demir's toughness and 20 points in his coming out party that gave Drexel the edge.
Number 9 - Coletrane Washington
The recruiting trail has been more painful for Drexel than the Oregon Trail was for me in 3rd grade computer class, and while no one died of dysentery, it hasn't been a smooth ride. The Dragons missed out on some targets, but it looks like they have hit on a 6'5 guard with an awesome name.
Coletrane Washington from Quaker Valley is the lone commitment Zach Spiker received this season, and he may be a steal. Washington was debating attending a 5th year prep school following high school, but opted to sign with the Dragons.
Washington is 6'5, but can handle the ball thanks to playing point guard before he hit a growth spurt. As evidenced in his 10 three-pointer performance this season, he can really shoot the basketball. He has a smooth, fluid stroke, and can rise over the outstretched arm of a defender to get a shot off, but his release will need to be quicker to do the kind of scoring he's capable of.
Drexel is small at the guard spot, and Washington can use his length to create problems for opponents on the defensive side of the ball.
No, recruiting hasn't been stellar, but after Dragons fans see some highlights, like the ones below, they'll at least be happy with Coletrane Washington.
Number 8 - Lee's Three
It was another one of those nights at the DAC, well, pretty much like every night at the DAC where Drexel was in a tight game. What happened way too frequently this season, though, was the Dragons were often playing down to their competition, and this is what happened against a struggling Quinnipiac team.
The Dragons led by one at the half, and Tramaine Isabell dropped 23 points, but Drexel could never pull away. In a surprising turn, Quinnipiac had a lead with 13 seconds remaining after a Rich Kelly free throw.
There have been debates all season long about who should take the last shot in these situations. Down two with the ball at the end of regulation. Isabell? Lee? Mojica if he can get open? Run a play for an Austin Williams dunk? It usually ends up with whoever has the ball and this time it was Lee.
And he delivered. It hasn't always been easy for Kurk Lee this season, but in this moment he was the man.
Number 7 - Beating Houston
It really comes down to not quitting. Houston is an immensely talented team that can score the ball in basically every way, so for the Dragons to weather their mini runs and Rob Gray's 37 points, and never give up was hugely promising to see early in the season.
The Dragons won 84-80 thanks to some timely stops and scores, and Tramaine Isabell's 16 rebounds.
It would've been a different story if Drexel used this win to go on a tear this season, but they didn't, so the real story is Isabell. He didn't play in the opener, and the only action he had came against D-387455 Arcadia, so Drexel fans still didn't know what we had exactly.
His 16 rebounds may have been considered a fluke at the time, but his nose for the ball and his scoring ability has continued since the Houston game, which really is the biggest takeaway from the upset.
That and every time Houston is discussed for tournament seeding, Drexel always falls under their "Bad Losses" category. Thanks for the ultimate backhanded compliment, Lunardi.
Number 6 - This Tweet
Look, the problem with attendance starts at the top. The University needs to make massive improvements to the in-game experience and work to establish a strong student and alum fan base for both the women's and men's programs. If that doesn't happen, I look forward to more Fake Zillmer Tweets.
Number 5 - Stretch with a game-winning...block?
The guy is a rim protector of the highest order, and while every block impacts the game in some way, winning a game on a blocked shot is really amazing.
First off, it takes a huge defensive lapse to allow a player to go the length of the court in six seconds for a layup in a two-point game, but that might just show you the confidence the Dragons have in Stretch to protect the hoop at all costs.
Second, it takes some serious stones to contest that shot given the situation because a foul would be horrible in that case.
Third, the skill and control it takes to block a shot in situation is not something everyone has. Stretch makes it look easy, but it certainly is not.
The big guy has 82 blocked shots on the season, but that one may be the best of his career.
Number 4 - Beating La Salle short-handed
Driving from the 'burbs to North Philly at rush hour on a weeknight can be difficult.
What made my trip to Tom Gola Arena to see Drexel take on La Salle that night even more trecherous was the message on the Slack I received saying Tramaine Isabell wouldn't be playing due to an injury.
At the time La Salle was playing very well, so the prospects didn't seem promising with Isabell. Without, the task became seemingly insurmountable.
The Dragons got off to a great start shooting the lights out, and that never really stopped as Drexel shot 52.9 percent from the field and 61.5 percent from three.
Kurk Lee and Sammy Mojica combined for 42 of Drexel's 72 points, and Tyshawn Myles gave some great high energy minutes defending and getting key stops on La Salle's B.J. Johnson.
Always nice to get a City 6 win especially when you weren't expecting it.
Number 3 - Sammy gets 1,000
Congrats to Sammy Mojica for recording his 1,000th point as a Drexel Dragon. This is an awesome honor for a player who has meant so much to the program. He has gone through coaching changes and tough times, but always plays hard and keeps his head up, so it's great to see him rewarded.
Number 2 - #TheTramaineEvent
In the final week of the regular season, Tramaine Isabell averaged 29.5 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists per game. As if anyone didn't know he is the Player of the Year in the CAA, he wanted to make sure. The jury is still out, and haters will say he doesn't deserve it because Drexel isn't a dominant team in the conference, but if he doesn't win he will be robbed.
He also made me his Twitter profile pic, but I swear, I'm not biased because of that.
I cannot tell you how many times I sat at the DAC this season and just shook my head when he made a ridiculous play. The most off balanced, body contorting shots he made look effortless.
Drexel has had some really, really good players in the past, but Isabell's basketball talent is right up there with the greats. He is currently averaging over 21 points per game, and has a legitimate shot to break Michael Andersons record of 19.2 points per game if he keeps it up next season. The man can flat out score the basketball.
He is strong and quick, and one of the first things I ever wrote about him after watching a few YouTube clips was that he reminds me of Kyrie Irving finishing around the rim, and he hasn't disappointed.
When we went into this season, all Dragons fans had to hang their hats on were those YouTube clips, some news stories and the comments made by former Drexel players who saw him play in practice that were made on this sites podcast.
What they ended up getting was a prolific scorer with a driven personality and one of the best players to ever put on the blue and gold. Certainly you can tell me it's only been one season, but from a basketball talent standpoint he is right up there.
I cannot wait to continue watching this beast play.
Number 1 - The Comeback
It was an incredible come-from-behind win, so a group of fans decided to celebrate. What I didn't realize until I was on my second beer, was that it was the biggest comeback in the history of NCAA Men's Division I hoops.
My girlfriend got a text from her basketball-junkie brother that said it was the biggest comeback ever. He followed it up with a picture of a Tweet from someone I had never heard of. I told one of the hosts of Dragonscast, Leon, what had been relayed to me, and he seemed as surprised as I was.
Soon, more and more media outlets had picked it up. When the big dawgs started Tweeting it, we knew it was real.
I didn't even realize the lead had been as high as 34. I just watched in awe as Delaware drained open three after open three and Drexel turned the ball over on seemingly every other possession. By halftime I was emotionally exhausted, but it was dollar dog night, so I got in line with plenty of other people who decided the game was over.
Then the second half began and Drexel hit a few shots, then a few more and the deficit was 20. Then a few more stops and the lead was 10, then some magical plays and Drexel had won the game.
An insane comeback yes, but the biggest of all time? I was surprised to hear that.
What followed was a national media whirlwind with Zach Spiker taking advantage of the historic event to promote Drexel basketball. He was interviewed on ESPN and the comeback was the number 1 play on the Sportscenter Top 10 plays of the day. In particular they showed the play above. For the record, that's the best play of the year.
I was up basically all night when I got home from the game, consuming every piece of media I possibly could from the game. It was such an insane moment in Drexel basketball,and I'm still trying to take it all in.
This will put the 2017-2018 Drexel Dragons in the record books, and it's obviously the best moment of the year.
The Shirt: If you're reading this, you probably saw a picture of me wearing a shirt at the game versus UNCW that said "The Comeback" with the score 53-19 written on the front in blue ink, and the score 85-83 written across the top of the back.
I was vocal in the Slack and on Twitter about how following a historic event, The Philadelphia Inquirer didn't devote anymore ink to it then they would've a normal game recap. I wanted something substantial on at least the sports page. Since the newspaper of record in Philadelphia took the approach of working against the Dragons, I took matters into my own hands.
As the Tweet from Josh Verlin of CoBL stated, I got the shirt at the King of Prussia mall and it took about 20 minutes to make all told.
The store I went to was called Custom Creations, and they will basically screen-print anything on to anything. They only had white or grey shirts, so I decided to go simple, blue ink on a white shirt.
This could very well be a record that Drexel holds onto for a long time. It should be commemorated as such, and if my t-shirt and some Tweets helps do it then I'm happy.
Josh approached me at a media timeout, asked me if he could grab a picture of the shirt. A few people at the game commented on it, a Drexel cheerleader stopped me in the hallway and asked for a picture, of course, she kept my face out of it, and I went home and tossed it in a pile of laundry.
The next day, Tramaine Isabell made it his profile picture.
I have no idea if any of the players saw it during the game, but Isabell, I think, saw it on Josh's page and ran with it. Tramaine seems to be a friendly guy, with a sense of humor. We've conversed on Twitter a few times, and gave each other shit when his Seahawks played my Eagles, but we haven't met in person.
So, it's obviously a surprise and an honor and well worth the trip to the mall. I hope the shirt becomes a reminder to never ever quit, and Tramaine is epitome of that mentality,
At the time I just wanted to have some fun and have something to commemorate the event, but now I really hope everyone in the Drexel basketball community see's it and remembers that the Dragons may be down, but never out.
I especially hope that rings true as Drexel enters the CAA Tournament needing to win four straight games to be crowned champion and head to the big dance.
It seems almost impossible, but stranger things have happened.