Dragons open Gulf Coast showcase against UT Arlington
Monday, November 21, 2022 – 5:00 p.m.
Hertz Arena – Estero, Florida
ESTERO, Florida. –The Drexel men’s basketball team begins the Gulf Coast Showcase Monday night against UT Arlington at 5 p.m. The three-day tournament at Hertz Arena features eight middle schools. The 2022-23 men’s basketball season is presented by International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Chapter 98.
The Dragons started the year by winning two of their first three games at Daskalakis Athletic Center. Drexel beat Arcadia on Friday 85-45. Lamar Oden, Jr. and Garfield Turner each had double-doubles as the Dragons were lucky to get minutes from all their new faces. Monday will be the first of three games in three days at the Gulf Coast Showcase. The winner of the Drexel-UT Arlington game will face either Northern Kentucky or the Gulf Coast of Florida.
About Arlington University
The Mavericks are 2-2 after falling to Nevada on Friday. UTA has won wins over two non-Division I schools and lost to two perennial NCAA teams in Nevada and Oklahoma State. They rank in the national top 10 in rebounds per game and free throw attempts. The Mavericks have seven players who are averaging between 7.5 points and 11 points per game. Taj Anderson leads the way with 10.5 points per contest.
Against the gulf coast field
The Dragons only faced three teams on the field. They have never faced UT Arlington, their first-round opponent. Drexel is 2-0 against the Florida Gulf Coast and against ECU. The Dragons are 2-1 against East Carolina. Head Coach Drexel Zack Spiker did not face any of the teams on the pitch as the Dragons head coach.
CAA preseason pollsters picked the Dragons for seventh place in 2022-23. Towson was the overwhelming favorite, receiving 12 of 13 first-place votes. The Dragons were picked just behind Northeastern. Junior Drexel Amari Williams was a preseason All-CAA Second Team pick. He had a stellar second year, averaging 9.5 points and 7.3 rebounds. Williams also led the league in blocked shots with 57.
The captains for this season are Lamar Oden, Jr., Mate Okros and Coletrane Washington. Oden is one of the team’s emotional leaders who is expected to play a bigger role this season. Okros is among Drexel’s all-time leaders in career 3-point percentage, though he’s been hampered by injuries for the past two years. Washington, a fifth-year student-athlete, is another deep-sea sniper. He led CAA as a freshman in 3-point percentage.
Head Coach Drexel Zack SpikerTeams are known for their 3-point shooting. Last season, Drexel shot .346 from long range and led the league in shooting .374 from deep in conference play. This season, DU opened the year by making seven of their 22 shots from long range. However, the Dragons are just 22 for 79 in their first three games (.279). The Dragons return three regulars who shot better than 35% a year ago. Lamar Oden shot .435 from deep and sank 27 treys. Mate Okros was a 39% long-range shooter and is fifth on Drexel’s career 3-point percentage list. Coletrane Washington had a team-best 42 3-point shots last season and led CAA in 3-point shooting as a rookie.
Drexel have been a tough team to play against at DAC over the past few years. Last season, Drexel was 8-4 at home. The Dragons are 22-12 the past three seasons at home. They had a DAC winning record in five consecutive seasons. Overall, Spiker is 46-32 at DAC in his seventh season at the school.
The road is not so bad
Drexel had its best season on the road in some time in 2021-22. Spiker’s team won five CAA road games, which was the most for a Drexel team since the 2011-12 team won five road games. Drexel’s six road victories were the most since the 2014-15 team won six games. The Dragons beat Saint Joseph’s on the road, ending a nine-game losing streak at Hawk Hill. It was the first time Drexel had won on the Saint Joseph campus since the 1977-78 season.
Players in the pros
Since 2000-01, the Dragons have seen more than 30 players sign professional contracts. Former players still active include Damion Lee of the Phoenix Suns. Other players still active include Austin Williams, Tramaine Isabell, Samme Givens, Melik Martin. Frantz Massenat, Dartaye Ruffin, Chaz Crawford, Kazembe Abif, Frank Elegar and Trevor John.
All in the family
Drexel has had a number of players whose families have been involved in college and professional sports. Junior Lamar Oden, Jr. is the second cousin of Greg Oden, a second-team All-American at Ohio State and the first overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. The two freshmen At Terrence Butler’s the sisters played college basketball, one at JMU and one at Syracuse. Jamie Bergens father played professionally in the Netherlands. by Shane Blakeney grandfather and uncle both played Cheyney. His uncle, Charles Kirkland, was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks. by Justin Moore father, Malik Moore, played at the Temple.
Trane is back
Drexel’s Coletrane Washington is back for its fifth year. The Western Pennsylvania guard played well last season and will complete his eligibility this season. Washington shot 41% from downtown in CAA games last season and 36% overall. He is a career 37% shooter from behind the arc and led the league as a rookie. This year, Washington will be counted on not just to make shots, but to emerge as the leader of a young Drexel team. He started the season with 15 points against Old Dominion.
big man in the middle
Amari Williams quietly became one of CAA’s best big men last season. Williams played sparingly in freshman year but emerged as a dominant force in the paint. The 6-foot-10 forward led the CAA in blocked shots and was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year. He averaged 9.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and six double-doubles. Williams shot .521 from the floor. He notched his seventh career double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds against Old Dominion and followed that up with 20 points against Penn.
Lots of new faces
Fans should check out the game schedule early this year to get to know all of the new student-athletes on this year’s team. There will be 10 new faces making their first appearance in the Blue and Gold. Jamie Bergens, Yame butler and Garfield Turner are freshman transfers for Coach Spiker. The Dragons will have four scholarship freshmen on the roster this year. Shane Blakeney, Cole Hargrove, Kobe MaGee and justin-moore will all have the opportunity to contribute this season. Drexel has also added three walk-ons in Hubert Bayigamba, Max Davis and Maxim Fuentes.
Mate Okros and Amari Williams were teammates before coming to Drexel. Okros, now a senior, and Williams, a junior, attended Myerscough College in England. Okros was a major factor in Drexel’s run for the CAA Championship. He finished the year in the CAA top 10 with 3-point percentage. Okros is entering his fourth year as one of the top snipers in Drexel history. He’s tied for fifth all-time in career 3-point percentage. Williams is one of CAA’s most improved players. He was a second-team All-CAA pick this preseason after being named CAA Defensive Player of the Year in 2022.
in the community
Drexel has been active for the past few years in the West Philadelphia community. The team organized a coat drive that has become an annual event. Team members participated in Vidas Field Day held on Halloween day at Vidas Field. The event brought together over 100 children from a nearby local elementary school for a field day that included games and lunch with members of SAAC and various Drexel teams. The head coach Zack Spiker has been involved since arriving on campus. He was named the 2021 winner of the Lindy Center for Civic Engagement Award. He received the Staff Award for Campus and Community Involvement by the Lindy Center and became the only Drexel coach to win the award. It is awarded annually to a staff member who demonstrates the principles of good academic or community partnership in their endeavors, regardless of their academic role. Spiker was a strong supporter and helped raise funds for the establishment of the Center for Black Culture.
* Has 104 career 3-pointers and is 10 away from entering the top 20 all-time career treys at DU
* Requires 31 blocked shots to tie with Samme Givens for 10th on Drexel’s career list
* Has 106 career 3-pointers and is eight steps away from entering the top 20 career treys of all time at DU
* Is two assists shy of 100 in his career
success in class
Drexel student-athletes also performed well in class. The Dragons had a 3.26 GPA last semester. It was the ninth straight semester that the men’s basketball team had achieved at least a 3.0 GPA.
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98 is the presenting sponsor of Drexel’s 2022-23 men’s basketball season. FIBE Local 98 is proud to support Drexel Athletics and Drexel University for the third consecutive season.