On this 20 degree Thanksgiving, it’s become passé for Dragon fans to say “Wynter is Coming”. Cam Wynter is most certainly here, and let the Boston University Terriers know it loudly. Wynter began his defense of his Rookie of the Week crown with a just short of triple double effort – 22 points, 9 assists and 8 rebounds – while filling in for Kurk Lee (Out – Shoulder).
Deploying a short seven man rotation in Lee’s absence, Zach Spiker’s team was aggressive (at times, dangerously so, leading to 16 turnovers) and pushed the ball in transition, which plays right to Wynter’s strengths. And it was profitable – the Dragons had 17 fastbreak points in a game that they won by 19. That transition based effort and Wynter’s distribution (a number of assists were on sharp, exterior to interior passes leading to layups) helped all five starters end the game in double figures, and the starters were joined by Troy Harper who scored 9 as the teams sixth man.
Those starters seem to be finding their roles within this offense. Zach Walton, returning from injury, is beginning to look comfortable and more in rhythm then he was when the season opened, picking his spots and ending the game 5/7 from the field for 13 points. Alihan Demir showed his skill in taking what the defense gave him once again, and Trevor John was doing his thing bombing from deep, shooting an impressive 4/6 on his new home court.
The final starter, oft criticized James Butler showed the workmanlike effort that the staff has spoken of. Fighting amongst veteran bigs Max Mahoney (20 points on 9/10 shooting) and Tyler Scanlon (14 points) Butler had his best game of the season, scoring 17 with 8 rebounds, 2 steals and only one turnover. While the staff continues to roll defensive help to the interior, Butler and Demir seem to be getting more familiar with each other as well. It’s great progress to see after the Rutgers onslaught – but if you ask the coaching staff, it might not be progress at all.
“I don’t know if it’s better or if it’s just we anticipated” said Coach Spiker after the win, regarding his team’s interior defense. And that wasn’t the only time that he said a similar sentiment. When asked if the 66 points scored by his first year players was a sign of a team coming together, Spiker said “I don’t know if that’s a sign of anything other than guys are sharing the basketball.” Together, these statements seem to show a glimpse into a coaching staff that – quietly – may have had higher expectations than their fanbase did this year. After back to back dominant outings over teams that are not national doormats, fans are being told that this isn’t a sign of growth –this is who this team is. This is the floor and there’s room to move up, especially when Kurk Lee returns. Add this to the news of Mate Okros and TJ Bickerstaff signing LOI’s this week, and on this day of Thanksgiving, a fanbase with low expectations and not much good news over the last half decade, may have something to talk about at the dinner table today.
The Dragons will need to go out and keep proving it to get the Drexel fanbase that “is not normal” back to its fully vocal self. Their next chance to do it will be at Bowling Green on Sunday, before kicking off a four game homsetand against NJIT on Wednesday November 18th.