Four years ago, the Drexel Dragons, then led by head coach James “Bruiser” Flint welcomed two big men through the front doors of the DAC. Being a big man at Drexel has never been easy. Over the years it has meant that a player must be a hard-nosed player responsible for some of the lest glamorous tasks that need to be done on the court, and Tyshawn Myles and Austin Williams did that and more for the Dragons. In today’s article, we take a closer look at their contributions over their careers at Drexel University.
F Tyshawn Myles, The Bronx, NY
Tyshawn Myles came to Drexel from the Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School in Manhattan. He was a classic Flint big man: someone who would clog the lane, pull down some rebounds, and set on the ball picks to free up the guards.
Myles never was able to find his way into the starting lineup on a regular basis but he ended up being a terrific role player for the Dragons when he was called off the bench. His most memorable performance came at the Bob Carpenter Center against the University of Delaware during his freshman year. Myles played a career high 26 minutes that day, scoring in double figures (11 points) for the only time in his four years, and matching that number with 11 rebounds. He was a key piece that helped the Dragons earn a victory in a game where Drexel did not have the services of then sophomore Rodney Williams.
Like many others on Drexel’s roster this season, Tyshawn Myles was forced to battle the injury bug, missing a total of 11 games. When healthy though, he fought as hard as he always has. Through the last five games of this season, a finally healthy Myles averaged 3 rebounds and 2.2 points per game while converting 60% of his field goals for points. While that might not seem that remarkable, the eye test showed the fans that Myles had the ability to score some athletic baskets, and the timing of some of his plays were key in earning victories.
Tyshawn Myles was never destined to make any of the Drexel record books, but that should not diminish his importance to this program. Basketball is, after all, a team sport. He adapted and played through a coaching change, something that is not easy at any level of sports, especially the college level. Despite what, at times, was a very turbulent four years, Myles gave his all night in and night out.
F Austin Williams, Richmond, VA
Joining Tyshawn Myles in the Drexel front court four years ago was Austin Williams. Williams, who was of no relation to Rodney Williams, regardless of what visiting announcers might have said, took a little more time to find his identity at Drexel. Due to injuries and necessity, he found his way into the starting lineup for 13 of his 38 appearances during his freshman and sophomore years but his playing time, and as a result, his contributions were diminished.
The arrival of Zach Spiker and assistant coach Paul Fortier was the best thing that could have happened to Williams. Stretch, as he is known to his teammates, coaches and fans, was a 37% shooter during his freshman year, and he saw little improvement during his second season as a Dragon. That average jumped to 60% for the final two years of his Drexel career. Williams’ 133 blocks currently ranks him 7th, just ahead of would-be older brother Rodney Williams and four blocks behind Frank Elegar. 119 of those blocks came in his final two years at Drexel.
Since the CAA started giving out the Defensive Player of the Year honor in 1999, three Dragons have won the award: Robert Battle twice, Bashir Mason once and Chaz Crawford once. As Dan pointed out earlier this month, Austin Williams has undoubtedly been the most important player at the defensive end of the floor for the Dragons this season. His 82 blocks ranks him 9th in the nation. His 44 blocks in conference play is 14 more than the next highest player’s total and his 7.8 rebounds per game in conference play ranks him 5th overall.
Over the past two seasons, no player stepped up their play more than Austin Williams did. When he was not able to go, Tyshawn Miles was able to step in and add some size and strength to that #5 role. Their contributions in the paint will surely be missed next season. Tim Perry Jr, James Butler and Tadas Kararinas have some pretty big shoes to fill.
We wish Tyshawn Miles and Austin Williams the best as they start the next chapter in their lives.