Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Drexel Hoops - A View From the Seats

On behalf of the blog, I sent a survey out to three DU stakeholders.  All three were kind enough to respond to the questions below.  Between the three of them, their Drexel fanhood spans from the year after Malik left to today.  They come from three different "fan backgrounds" as one of them was pre-Dac Pack, one was an avid fan in the pep band, and another was a Dac Pack Vice President and one of the Founders of the Blue and Gold Club, and all of them are still avid fans today.  I want to personally thank all of them for helping me out with this, and I'd like to invite anyone else who wants to chime in to feel free to either write into the blog, comment in the section below, or speak to me offline.  Without further ado, their work:

What made you such a big Drexel fan?

The passion and intensity of the fans I saw at each game I attended as an undergrad.

I couldn't fathom not being one. From my senior year of high school watching Drexel play Duke on ESPN at Madison Square Garden, I knew I'd be a fan.

I was recently accepted to Drexel and saw that they had made the NCAA tournament and although I admittedly knew very little about the team - I was shocked to see that if both Drexel and Syracuse won their 1st round games, they would meet up in the 2nd round. Sure enough - Drexel knocked off Memphis and Syracuse (and my favorite player at the time - John Wallace) took care of Montana State.
I remember being torn on who to root for. I had been a Syracuse fan since I was 6 - but I was going to be attending Drexel in the fall. That Malik Rose led Drexel team played with so much heart on that day that it made my decision easy. I was hooked. 

Today, what do you think is the biggest strength of the program?

The program carries so much potential for growth. The program is run with integrity, and our student athletes really do try to be both. I'd hate to have wound up at a school where the team is all one-and-dones and not winning a tournament game every year is failure.

There's a core group of people that are really pushing for big things. That core is continuing to grow even with most of them never seeing a Drexel NCAA tournament team. When the time comes that the guys do make the tourney, and if they make a run, that support will explode. The school needs to be ready and willing to capitalize on that.

As it stands right now, i am not sure that we really have a strength. We have lost our home court advantage. Our defense has been poor. Our offense has been pretty good but not great. We have been extremely unlucky with the number and severity of injuries that have hit us the past couple of seasons. And we get very little respect from local and national media - as proven by our 2 NCAA snubs. 

Today, what do you think is the biggest weakness of the program?

Men's Basketball needs more $upport from the administration, and more fan support. 
We fans have too much competition from other college and pro teams, so there there needs to be more focus on putting a quality product on the floor every night.  

Current positioning. We're in an FCS football conference (thank Yeager) and whatever additional teams are added will likely be to appease that side of the conference. In Philly, the Big5 knows that it's in their interest to keep us off their schedule.

Apathy and a lack of vision. I feel like we need leadership that sets out higher goals for the program. It seems to me that winning championships and doing what needs to be done in order to build this program to elite mid-major status is not important to our current leadership. I also think that there is a disconnect between the Athletic Department and some of our biggest fans where the line has been blurred between who is actually in charge. Instead of them having to answer to us - it is my opinion that they feel like we should have to answer to them. I would like to see more accountability from our athletic department.

If you were Bruiser, what would you do differently?

I'd like him to be able to hire some more assistant coaching talent. A brainiac who will break down film and stats.

I'm no coach, but I'd like to see a HAVOC-style trap game. There will be points the rest of the way this year where throwing it on in the middle of a game can take us from a close game to a large lead. I think it's one way we could beat Towson (Nova destroyed them with it) or Delaware in a CAA tournament game.

I would start a lineup that consisted of our 5 best defensive players.  I would put Fouch on the bench to start games from here on out. Our biggest problem is defense this year. And that is not to say that Fouch shouldn't be getting "starters minutes"… but I would like to see us start out games with hard nosed defense. Get back to what Drexel basketball is. Then bring in Fouch to open things up a bit after we set the pace to our liking. 

What is your definition of long term success for the basketball program?

A tournament appearance during each and every 5 year student's tenure.

With regards to winning: Make the NCAA tournament  35-50% the time, beat the Big5 more than half the time, and be in contention for at-larges maybe once every 4 years if we don't win a championship. With regards to the non-W's: Grow the fan base to the point that there's demand for a larger arena, not just an expanded DAC. That goes somewhat hand in hand with winning though.

I think that competing for a championship every year - and winning one every few years - is an attainable goal. 

Your prediction, what happens the rest of this season and where does this team play its final game?

I hope the team catches a second wind and makes some noise down the stretch, but that would run counter to our history with Bruiser.  I expect to be waving farewell to our seniors in Baltimore.

This team still has the talent to go dancing even after losing two starters.  Well I don't make serious predictions anyway:  FINAL FOUR!!!!

I would have to be insane to predict anything other than our usual Drexel finish to the season. A disappointing 1st round loss in the CAA tournament - but i still have a bit of faith in this team so maybe I am insane. Frantz & Fouch are all time Drexel greats. Something tells me that once we get in to a scenario where one loss means their Drexel careers are over - they won't let it end against some crappy middling CAA team. Against my better judgement, my prediction is that we play Towson in the CAA finals.

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