Damion Lee knew he was being overlooked at the start of the season, but he understood why.
Praise doesn’t come with losing, and Drexel was doing a whole lot of losing. The Dragons were 2-11 through the first 13 games of the season, one of the losses coming against the Division II University of Sciences.
Flash forward to now, and Drexel is back in the mix, only three games out of first place in the CAA, and Lee is showing the world why he was selected to be on the preseason All-Conference First Team.
The reigning CAA Player of the Week has scored a combined 86 points in the Dragons’ (7-14, 5-5) current three-game winning streak, which has included wins over Northeastern and UNC-Wilmington.
“When you’re losing, I know people don’t talk about you,” says Lee. “They say you’re shooting too many shots in a game, and I’m just trying to do everything that I can for us to win.
“The accolades come and go. Of course it would be nice to win a couple of awards, but I know that comes with winning.”
After red-shirting last season with a knee injury, Lee came back to a Drexel team featuring five new faces: four freshman and a UCLA transfer.
Things didn’t get better when Drexel guard Major Canady sustained a season-ending injury before the season, forcing Lee, a traditional scorer, to suddenly act as a floor general.
Lee said he’s shifted his mindset back to the aggressive one that won him CAA Rookie of the Year honors three years ago.
“Knowing that I’m a good player and being confident about that, whenever it’s time to make a basket or make a play [I] take advantage of it,” says Lee.
And he’s seen the hungry mentality transfer to his young teammates.
“People now are starting to pick up confidence and gain their confidence from practice and getting in the gym,” says Lee.
The Baltimore native specifically singled out Massachusetts-native Sammy Mojica, who has scored in double figures in each of Drexel’s last three games.
“He’s a great energy player, does the hustle plays, dives on the floor, loose balls, rebounds, everything,” says Lee. “I think that’s something we missed in the beginning of the season, someone to do those hustle plays.”
When the hustle plays, the scoring and the wins weren’t there, Lee said he knew opponents were counting him, and Drexel, out.
But it seems the Dragons haven’t lost their fire.
“Some teams try to think that just cause we have four or five wins that they can just walk in and win,” says Lee. “We’re just like any other team. We got to put our shoes on the same way, we both got a jump ball and then whoever has the most points is going to win the game.”