10 Preseason Things I Think I Think

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We don’t steal the writing crutches of other writers often, but when we do, it’s because we’re thinking basketball.  Without further ado…

I think defense wins Championships.  And not just because my man ()and basketball guru) Calvin Hicks told me so.  Defense is about effort and having each others back, awareness, and physicality.  It’s an area where Spiker teams have struggled, but with so many of the changes we list below, this year will be an opportunity to take a large step forward, and that opportunity can not go wasted.  Each brick in the picture above represented three consecutive defensive stops the team made last year… This year they need to build that wall.

I think I’m excited to have a veteran point guard.  Don’t let Kurk Lee go unappreciated this year.  The most important thing for a young team is to have a floor general they can rely on to stay under control, to not overreact and to lead.  And as Lee has matured we’ve seen more and more of this.  With apologies to Troy Harper, it’s Kurk’s team this year, and I’m looking forward to watching his continued development and competition for All-CAA honors.

I think that fans need to have patience until the new year.  This year’s Dragons are much younger, they’re physically smaller, they haven’t worked together as much as years past, and right now, they are banged up too.  Tim Perry Jr and Zach Walton are anticipated to be key pieces, but they sat out the exhibition and with out of conference being more pre-season then essential wins this year, expect them to be brought back into the rotation slowly.  All this with a November schedule that features four challenging road games, and a December that ends with these four consecutive games:  @UConn, v Temple (Palestra), @Northeastern, @Hofstra.  Growing pains, indeed.  The story of this season will be about how they react to the early season punishment, and to learn that the fans will need to hang in there and see what happens when the calendar turns to January.

I think that I need to have patience until December. Attendance is an issue.  A big issue.  There’s no point in spending the amount of cash the University does with this program if no one is around to see it.  And, as previously noted, that atmosphere helps the team win and creates further demand.  But for the first half of the out of conference season that discussion gets tabled.  While it’s great having six out of conference home games, the first is against a D-II squad, the second is the afternoon of the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, The “students on campus” D-I opener is a revenge game against NJIT on Wednesday November 28th. That kicks off a four game, Wednesday/Saturday, Wednesday/Saturday homestand against beatable teams.  Circle those games.  Be there.  And please Drexel, promote em.

I think about this Ken Pomeroy blog post all the time these days.  In life, in finance, in thought… How do weblock out the bad data (and yes, wins and losses is bad data) and find the gooddata that helps us concentrate on what really matters?  It’s a massive concept and we as humans are terrible at it.

As a matter of fact, I have been thinking about it so much lately that I even barked back to Pomeroy about it.  And while it’s a humblebrag, he wrote back for the world to see (below).  It’s also worth mentioning that he’s been a genuine asset over the years, he continues to allow us to post his work on the site, and he’s never failed to respond to an e-mail.  If his website isn’t your first stop when you talk about college basketball, you’re doing it wrong.  (And if you love it as much as I do, it’s worth shelling out the $20 for an annual subscription.)

 

I think the CAA this year is Northeastern, Charleston and then everybody else.  The always sound Bill Coen Huskies are running a squad almost entirely of upperclassman.  The Cougars return Grant Riller and Jarrell Brantley, both likely All-CAA First Teamers and have home court in March.  Earl Grant stayed put and has proved himself a capable coach.  Those two teams will give some really good teams hard times this year.  The rest of the CAA is in a race to catch up.  If you’re Drexel, in a “growth” year, putting yourself towards the top of the rest isn’t a bad goal for this season, and sets up next year very nicely.

I think you shouldn’t read much into this weeks games.  As mentioned in the Pomeroy post, wins and losses can be misleading.  My personal belief is that if you throw out three games:  The first game of the season, the home opener, and senior night, you’ll have a much better idea of the actual talent and ability of the team.  Those three games seem to be the most likely to mislead and have fluky performances.  All charged up, emotional nights, it makes some sense.  Throw em out, and you’ll have a better idea of what you’re looking at.

I think fans will enjoy the Trevor John experience.  The Cal Poly Grad Transfer didn’t play a ton of minutes for the Mustangs last year.  In fairness, that team played seven other upperclassmen all but one of which shot at least 33% from deep.  They were missing a lot, but a gritty sharpshooter may not have been it.  This DU team on the other hand, needs sharpshooters, needs fighters and needs upperclassman presence.  John can provide all of that, even in limited minutes.  He showed vocal leadership in the exhibition – and scored nine points in just twenty-two minutes.

I think fans will enjoy this team.  It may have taken Zach Spiker and staff a bit longer to change the culture then originally expected – and some of that may have been self-inflicted.  But if there was one message coming from the DAC when I was in two weeks ago it was this – there’s a lot of fun being had these days.  The Australia trip couldn’t have come at a better time to help this band of brothers come together.  All of this should lead to guys picking each other up off the floor, cheering each other on and perhaps most importantly – fighting for each other.

I think college basketball returns this morning.  So I don’t need to wait until the 22nd to be Thankful.  Thanks to you all for reading along, to Scott and Adam for writing along, and all the best to you and yours for a happy and healthy journey to March.

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