Mostly agree with your rankings; with the optimism bias from being a cardinals fan personally, I'd argue you could make a 1 star increase at each position, but their current rankings are also fair. I very much disagree with the 1 star ranking at special teams however, as we have a pro bowl gunner in Justin Bethel being joined by some high upside athletes in the kick coverage team and kick return game. Probably the best coverage unit in the game, which coupled with a punter who is below average (don't think he's as bad as stats show- his hangtime is rediculous, and it seems the staff went with him for this reason. I'd choose a distance leg with our coverage team, butI digress). In short, I'd say 3 stars is fair. A perfectly average special teams unit, whose only limitation really seems to be Drew Butler's distance and the uncertainty of a new long snapper (but both seem pretty reliable this far)
The Drexel Dragons lose just one player from last year's team that picked up 29 victories and won the CAA regular season title. Drexel missed out on the NCAA Tournament though and is hoping to right that wrong this time around.
Leading the way for the Dragons this season will be their talented backcourt, which features four players who averaged at least eight points per game last season. Point guard Frantz Massenat sets the table, coming off a sophomore campaign in which he led the team in scoring and was First-Team All-CAA selection. While Massenat can dish the rock, he also shot 45% from distance in 2011.
Massenat will be flanked by Damion Lee, who was the CAA's Rookie of the Year last season, and fellow returning starter, Derrick Thomas. Playing a huge role off the bench again will be sharpshooter, and one of the league's top Sixth Men, Chris Fouch. All four of those guys shot at least 35% from downtown a year ago, giving head coach James Flint the luxury of four experienced guards capable of filling it up. Aquil Younger and redshirt freshman Tavon Allen add depth in the backcourt.
The play of the guards will be relied upon to do most of the scoring with forward Sammie Givens graduating. 6-9, 280-pound center Daryl McCoy does return, but he is known more for his physicality on the boards than low-post scoring ability. Dartaye Ruffin, who was the main post reserve last season, likely steps into the starting lineup to replace Givens with a trio of inexperienced forwards competing for minutes off the bench.
Drexel will thereforelikely use a four guard look frequently throughout the season with Lee playing the four. It might hurt the Dragons' effectiveness on the glass, but gives them a very dangerous scoring lineup.
VCU's exit opens the door for Drexel to become the team to beat in the CAA. Per usual, George Mason and Old Dominion will also be in the picture, but the conference is Drexel's for the taking. Now if the Dragons can only take care of business in the postseason tournament and earn an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
Player to Watch: Damion Lee, G/F
The former Towson commit rose to the occasion in some clutch games for Drexel last season and was a pleasant surprise considering he was not highly recruited coming out of high school. His future is extremely bright and having a year under his belt should allow him to take his game to an even higher level as a sophomore.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/9 at Kent State
11/15 vs. Illinois State
11/22 vs. St. Mary's (Anaheim Classic)
11/23 vs. Xavier/Pacific (Anaheim Classic)
11/25 vs. Cal/Drake/Georgia Tech/Rice (Anaheim Classic)