Fouch happy for final chance with Drexel

Posted: November 08, 2013

Both player and coach remember the February conversation well.

"I told him that whatever you do, make the decision by what is best for you," Drexel coach Bruiser Flint said to then fifth-year senior Chris Fouch.

"I hated the fact that my college career was going to end like this, out of my control," Fouch said. "I didn't know what was going to happen, so I just stayed positive."

Months had passed since Fouch suffered a season-ending broken ankle against Penn three games into the 2012-13 season. At the time of the injury, Fouch, who took a redshirt as a freshman in 2008 resulting from ACL surgery, was leading the Dragons in scoring (16.7 points per game), having made 12 of 25 three-pointers.

The discussion was regarding whether Fouch, just granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA, would return to play for the Dragons. Flint, probably with his fingers crossed, wanted to know if Fouch's heart was really in it.

Turns out it was.

"I thought we had a chance to do something special," Fouch said. "You never know when your career is coming to an end. I was just very happy that mine wasn't - not yet."

Even if Fouch decided that he was finished with college basketball, Drexel, coming off a disappointing 13-18 season, would still be expected to be an upper-echelon team in the Colonial Athletic Conference.

But with Fouch's returning to play alongside 2012-13 all-CAA picks Damion Lee and guard Frantz Massenat, the Dragons are primed to battle Towson for the top spot in the conference.

Lee is a talented 6-6 junior guard who last season improved on his ability to drive, shoot, and rebound. He finished third in the CAA in scoring (17.1 points per game), and he is just 105 points shy of 1,000 for his career.

He is a career 36.8 three-point shooter who has made 125 threes in his first two seasons, good enough to be tied for 12th on Drexel's all-time list.

Massenat, a 6-4 senior, is a crafty playmaker with the ability to knife into the lane and score, draw fouls or feed cutting teammates. Massenat finished second on the team in scoring (14.7) and led in assists, averaging 4.2 per game.

He ranks sixth all-time at Drexel with 406 assists, is 24th in scoring (1,122), and is tied for 16th with 110 career three-pointers.

"Frantz and Damion were both all-conference performers last year, but are capable of being even better and more consistent this season," Flint said. "I'm really happy we were able to get Chris back for a sixth year, not just for the team but for him personally."

"He's an outstanding player when healthy and an even better person," Flint continued about Fouch, who has scored 1,194 points in his career. "With those three, we have a number of options who are proven scorers at the collegiate level."

Sophomore Tavon Allen averaged 6.6 points in a reserve role, and the 6-7 forward, who made 36 percent of his threes, will be expected to contribute more. Rail-thin at 185 pounds last season, Allen will be more of a factor if he has gotten stronger in the offseason.

Another player expected to make a contribution on the perimeter is Seton Hall transfer Freddie Wilson. Wilson played a lot of point guard before transferring at the midyear break. He will be eligible to play by late December.

Replacing 6-9, 280-pound center Daryl McCoy's 8.6 rebounds and his physicality around the rim will be Drexel's biggest challenge. Dartaye Ruffin, 6-8, 250, averaged 6.9 points and 6.8 rebounds. He and junior Kazembe Abif, finally healthy after losing 30 pounds to illness as a freshman, will provide energy and, Flint hopes, bigger numbers than the 4.4 points and 3.4 rebounds he averaged in 20 minutes last season.

Flint has a good collection of freshman big men that includes Mohamed Bah, Khris Lane, and Rodney Williams. All could contribute this season.


Drexel at a Glance

Last year: 13-18, 9-9 in Colonial Athletic Association, 7th place.

Coach: Bruiser Flint (212-159 in 12 years; 298-231 overall).

ROSTER

No.   Name   Pos.   Ht.   Wt.   Year   

1.   Freddie Wilson   G   6-3   204   Jr   

3.   Chris Fouch   G   6-2   185   Sr.   

4.   Frantz Massenat   G   6-4   190   Sr.   

5.   Stevan Manojlovic   G   6-5   197   Sr   

11.   Tavon Allen   F   6-7   170   So.   

13.   Goran Pantovic   F   6-10   225   Sr.   

14.   Damion Lee   G   6-6   200   Jr   

15.   Mohamed Bah   F   6-9   225   Fr.   

21.   Khris Lane   F   6-6   215   Fr.   

22.   Jake Lerner   G   6-2   190   Sr.   

24.   Rodney Williams   F   6-7   220   Fr.   

25.   Major Canady   G   6-4   200   Fr.   

32.   Kazembe Abif   F   6-7   210   Jr.   

35.   Dartaye Ruffin   F   6-8   250   Sr.   

SCHEDULE

November

9 at UCLA . . . 12 a.m.

12 at Illinois State . . . 8 p.m.

18 Elon (NIT TIPOFF) . . . 5 p.m.

19 Rutgers or Canisius . . . 5 p.m

December

4 Cleveland State . . . 7 p.m.

7 Tennessee State . . . 4 p.m.

15 at Davidson . . . 2 p.m.

18 at St. Joseph's . . . 7 p.m.

22 St. Francis . . . 2 p.m.

29 Buffalo . . . 2 p.m.

January

3 at S. Mississippi . . . 2 p.m.

8 at William and Mary . . . 7 p.m.

11 Northeastern . . . 2 p.m.

14 Towson . . . 7 p.m.

18 at UNC Wilmington . . . TBA

20 Delaware . . . 7 p.m.

25 William and Mary . . . 4 p.m.

29 at Hofstra . . . 7 p.m.

February

1 at Towson . . . 4:30 p.m.

3 UNC Wilmington . . . 7 p.m.

8 James Madison . . . 2 p.m.

13 at Charleston . . . 7 p.m.

16 Hofstra . . . 8 p.m.

19 at James Madison . . . 7 p.m.

23 at Delaware . . . 3 p.m.

26 Charleston . . . 7 p.m.

March

1 at Northeastern . . . 1 p.m.

7-10 CAA Tournament in Baltimore.


jmitchell@philly.com

@JmitchInquirer

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