2017-18 Preview: From Red to Gold, The Class of 2019

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In the third installment of this four-part season, we take a look at the Class of 2019 and what they bring to the court for the Dragons.

Throughout last season, there were two consistent fixtures on the Drexel bench.  They weren’t managers, and they weren’t injured.  They were just biding their time until the NCAA gave them the green light.  They were our two red shirt guards: Troy Harper and Tramaine Isabell.  In today’s article we will take a look at both of them, and try and analyze their potential impact on the team in the upcoming season.

Once again, Major Canaday offered us his opinion on both players.

Troy Harper 6-1 175 LBS

What AAD says – Troy Harper checks in a 6-1 and has a background deep rooted in Philadelphia.  He is a product of Philadelphia’s own Neumann-Goeretti Catholic High School, a program well known in the national high school basketball scene.  He played his first two years at Campbell University of the Big South where, coincidentally, short lived Drexel assistant coach Chris Clark was a coach during the 2014-15 season.

In his sophomore year, Harper was Campbell’s second leading scorer averaging 13.5 per game.  He was listed as a starter in Campbell’s three guard backcourt in 21 of his 30 games.  He eclipsed 20 points on 4 different occasions, and put up a season-high 26 against Charleston Southern in late February.

The Always a Dragon team had a chance to attend a Drexel practice late last year and got to see Harper in action on the court.  The general consensus was that he’s a quick guard with good court vision.  He should add another option for Zach Spiker and his team in an ever-deepening Dragon backcourt that now features 5 players listed at 6-3 or less.

What Major says – Troy was my favorite newcomer this past year. Troy is a slasher and will also bring an unique style Drexel has not seen in a while. He has a burning passion for the game and loves to compete. Troy’s attitude and love for the game will help turn things around. On top of being a good player, Troy is an even better person. I would have loved to share the court with him.

Tramaine Isabell 6-1 185 LBS

Tramaine Isabell is a definite wild card for this season.  During his senior year of high school, Gonzaga reportedly showed interest in the 6-1 guard out of Seattle, Washington.  Isabell eventually signed a letter of intent with Washington State University, but was later granted a release from his commitment to WSU, opting to attend Missouri instead, signing with the Tigers and their new head coach, former NBA player Kim Anderson.  This would be Anderson’s first season with Mizzou after taking over for Frank Haith who had left for Tulsa following the 2013-14 season.  Mizzou was coming off three successful seasons that saw them ranked as high as 2nd in the AP poll just two years prior.

Isabell’s time with Mizzou was not a pleasant one.  In his two years under Anderson, the team put up a 19-44 record, finishing in last place in the SEC in both seasons.  From media reports, there appeared to be a lot of friction in the Tigers locker room resulting in numerous player suspensions including Isabell’s.  This all culminated in the transfers of Isabell and fellow sophomore Namon Wright who left for Colorado.

On the court, Isabell averaged 5.2 PPG in his two seasons with the Tigers.  In order to get some insight on him, the Always a Dragon team reached out to Sam Snelling who writes for Rock M. Nation at SB Nation.  Here is what he had to say about Drexel’s red shirt guard:

“Tramaine is an interesting character. He struggled to stay on the court and in good graces with Kim Anderson and his staff, and they privately griped about his attitude. I don’t know if it’s so much on Tramaine or the inexperienced staff that didn’t know what to do with him. As a player he can be a starter and very important player at Drexel, I thought he had the speed and playmaking ability to be a solid player for Missouri but it didn’t pan out.

What I like about his game was the edge he played with, the swagger. Tramaine is a confident kid and isn’t afraid of a challenge. I don’t know that he played with a lot of intelligence at times and was pretty good about missing rotations on defense and forcing careless turnovers on offense. But again I think a good basketball coach he respects could get a lot more out of him than Kim Anderson did.”

In Rock M. Nation’s 2015-16 analysis of Isabell, he is represented as a spotty 3-point shooter who is strong on the drive and from the left side of the court.  In this article, Chris Bohkay says about Isabell, “If you needed someone to drive to the paint and try to make something happen when the rest of the team kind of hung around the perimeter, he was the guy.  If you wanted someone to whip a slick pass to a streaking big at the basket, again, that was TI’s game.”  That seems to be a perfect fit for Spiker’s scheme.  Hopefully, Spiker’s more gentle coaching style works as well.  I don’t think he would do that well with a guy like Bruiser Flint at the helm if he was still at Drexel.

What Major says – Tramaine is maybe, not maybe, he is definitely the most interesting piece to the puzzle this season. Tramaine is one of the best individuals I’ve seen play here at Drexel University. He has potential to impact the program in ways no one has. I am very excited to see what he does this season. If things go well, Drexel will be in for a treat.

Kevin Doi 5-9 165 LBS

What AAD Says – The third and final edition to the Drexel junior class is 5-9 walk-on Kevin Doi.  According to the Drexel website, Doi is a Dean’s list student, and a four year basketball player at the Chadwick School in California.

With a desire to play a more up-tempo, transition game, both Harper and Isabell appear to be perfect fits for Zach Spiker’s scheme.  The addition of these two guards and mobile big men like freshmen Tim Perry, Jr. and Jarvis Doles and forward Alihan Demir will do nothing but aid the program in fully transitioning to Spiker’s style of play.

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