Has the Loss of Chris Fouch Sunk Drexel For the Season?

FOUCH!!!!! - Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

The loss of senior Chris Fouch is a major blow to the Drexel Dragons. A deadly shooter on the wing, he had skills that the Dragons will find hard to replicate as the season continues.

Scene opens on a gothic mansion in the middle of a massive rain storm. Camera zooms through an upper floor window to reveal a man laying in his bed, weeping uncontrollably.

As the camera draws closer, the man is revealed to be Drexel head coach Bruiser Flint.

Flint: Fouch....

The camera begins to zoom out as the man continues his weeping and moans.

Flint: (louder) Fouch....

The camera is now back to its original zoom on the mansion. A bolt of lightning comes down close to the house. A booming clap of thunder follows.

Flint (off-camera, wailing): Fouch ...

Fade to black.

--

It isn't exactly Citizen Kane, but you get the picture. Drexel announced Monday that senior Chris Fouch had been lost of the season with an ankle injury. This adds to the injury woes for the Dragons, who are without point guard Damion Lee for an unknown period.

The backcourt is starting to look a little thin.

There is no way to express how big of a loss this is for Drexel, even if Lee comes back in the next game. Last year, the Dragons struggled through the opening of the season without the sharpshooter. Drexel was 2-2 without him.

Even when he came back, it took two games before he had his legs fully under him and was playing like Chris Fouch.

Drexel was 2-4, and 0-1 in the conference. There was no indication that this team would go on a tear that included winning all but one game from there to the end of the year. This was a team that was sunk, and a lot of that had to do with the lack of Fouch to begin the season.

Based on HOOPWAR, Fouch was the fourth most important player on the Dragons last season. Based on watching the games, you could make the case we was probably the second most important player in almost every contest. The aggregate of that might put him at No. 4 as Frantz Massenat, Samme Givens and Lee all competed for that top spot. But the bottom line is that Fouch was a 2-win player for the Dragons, and one that was going to be counted on to do big things this season.

The Dragons are still going to be competitive inside without him; his game was more a factor on the wings. But the outside shooting definitely takes a step back in his absence.

This is not to take away from what Tavon Allen did in his first minutes for the Dragons. The freshman proved he is a competent scorer. But Allen can't take the place of two players (Lee and Fouch) and he can't replicate the shooting from 3-point range that the senior provided (12-for-25 before the injury), even though he has started 2-for-3.

Perhaps the difference can be made up on the defensive end for the Dragons. Allen has shown so far that he is a tad bit better defensively than Fouch, but that is in limited minutes. It is a stretch though to believe a few defensive stops can duplicate the effects of Fouch standing at the wing and repeatedly knocking down big shots when they are needed.

The bigger issue is going to be depth in the backcourt and that is something that can't be replicated. When Lee comes back -- assuming that Massenat has figured out his own shooting problems at that point -- Allen can be the first guy off the bench to try and provide some of that shooting prowess. But until then, Derrick Thomas is the best option, and that has been no option for the Dragons so far.

Given the start to the year (1-2, with the win less than convincing), the hopes for an at-large bid might have gone the way of the dodo. There are still chances for decent wins (the first coming Thursday against St. Mary's), but they are hard to imagine without Fouch.

The team will have to reorganize to figure out how to compete against Delaware in the conference season, a task that now seems much more difficult now than two weeks ago.

Drexel is likely just treading water until Lee returns from his injury, and the longer that goes on, the harder it will be for this team to compete in January once the Colonial season begins.

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