Every year, billions of people commit themselves to New Year’s Resolutions. With the new year came a new slate for Drexel’s Basketball teams, and I took the responsibility upon myself to make some of the Dragons’ lives easier by coming up with their resolutions for them.
Mate Okros: Make some history
When I sat down to interview Coach Zack Spiker right before the basketball season began, he told me that Mate Okros would be in the opening night starting five. This took me by surprise because Okros, while a talented player, has had multiple chances at being a starter without much success in that role. Spiker explained this decision with a bold proclamation: that Okros would enter Drexel Men’s Basketball top 10 in career 3-point baskets made. Entering the season, Okros needed 47 made 3’s to crack the top 10. For the first ten games of the season, Okros only made six three-pointers on just 18 attempts. In the last eight games, however, Okros has made 18 threes on 37 attempts. Unsurprisingly, in those past eight games, the Dragons have seven wins. If Okros keeps shooting the ball, he can help lead the Dragons to postseason success while collecting individual accomplishments.
Yame Butler: Get back in a groove
It would not be hyperbolic to say the Yame Butler single handedly saved the 2022-2023 Drexel Basketball season. Butler dazzled the DAC with his tight handles and knack for getting to the rim and finishing through anyone in his way. Part of his skillset was also his shooting. Last season, Butler shot 45% from three-point range, and 87% from the free throw line. This season, however, Butler is shooting just 22% from deep and 68% from the charity stripe. Butler is one of a select few Dragons who can create his own shot through his dribbling ability and athleticism, and there’s no stopping this offense if Butler can return to the form he has proven capable of.
Amari Williams: Play 30 minutes
Amari Williams is the best player on the Dragons roster and can be the best player in the CAA if he wants to be. If you were to look at Amari’s statistics, however, you might think he is underperforming. As a wildly athletic, nearly seven-foot center, Williams probably should be averaging more than 12 points and 8 rebounds per game. However, when you consider the fact that Williams’ season high in minutes is 32, and he averages just 21 minutes, those statistics jump off the page a whole lot more. Williams’ health has to be preserved, and there is no sense in subjecting your star center to needless abuse in games that are not close. However, with important postseason games on the horizon, it is entirely likely that the Dragons will need Williams to stay on the court for over 30 minutes.
Chloe Hodges: Get a double-double
After averaging five points-per-game last season, Hodges has cemented herself as a crucial player for the Dragons. The Senior forward has had some explosive offensive performances, most notably her 21 point showing against Northeastern earlier in January. However, as one of the few players above 6 feet tall on Drexel Women’s Basketball team, Hodges also has an important role as a rebounder. She is the team’s leader in collected boards, and she has amassed seven rebounds on five separate occasions. While Amaris Baker recently collected the team’s first double-double of the season, it is Hodges who most frequently flirts with that impressive statline.
Grace O’Neill: Level up
In her freshman season, O’Neill turned heads as a jack-of-all-trades point guard who chipped in on every single column of the stat sheet. While this is still true in her sophomore year, O’Neill is averaging less points, steals and rebounds, all while shooting at a significantly less efficient clip. The Dragons are a formidable team and O’Neill is a big part of that, but if they hope to make some noise in 2024, she will have to not only regain her previous level, but raise it.
Amy Mallon: Find some more points
While Mallon has put in a terrific effort to get her roster playing as well as she has, one area that can improve is the offense. While the Dragons have still scored more points than they’ve let up, their offense is far from lethal. As a team, the Dragons have shot just over 40% from the field and 30% from deep. In the CAA, Drexel is 11th out of the 14 schools in average points per game. One change could lie in freshman Laine McGurk who is 8th in minutes played yet 4th in points-per-game.