A little less than two months after Drexel announced Zach Spiker as its new head basketball coach, Kurk Lee Jr., decided to commit and become a Dragon. Lee was Spiker’s first commitment as coach of the Dragons and a much needed one.
After 15 seasons, Drexel head coach Bruiser Flint was fired last March, while freshman standout Terrell Allen and Philly native Rashann London decided to transfer and leave with him. On top of that, senior Tavon Allen graduated and sophomore Ahmad Fields stepped away from basketball due to injuries. Now, there is a huge hole left to fill for Spiker and his staff in Drexel’s backcourt.
Te. Allen, Ta. Allen, and London combined to account for 942 points, 251 rebounds, and 243 assists, in addition to shooting 37% from the field and 32% from three for the Dragons last season.
Although Lee will not be solely relied on to replicate the production of last year’s backcourt, he will be asked to contribute early on. That shouldn’t concern any Drexel basketball fans as Lee had a stellar high school basketball career and played against elite competition.
Lee starred at St. Frances Academy in Baltimore, MD and led them to a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) A Conference championship, where he led all scorers with 27 points and 7 assists.
He also participated in the 2014 DMV Baltimore Holiday Tip Off Classic, which included teams such as Elev8 Institute (FL) and St Stephens & St Agnes (VA).
Lee averaged 16.4 points, 5.8 assists, and 3.6 rebounds last season for St. Frances and was a First Team All-Metro selection. Furthermore, the three year starter left high school with 1,372 points and more than 600 assists. Part of this may be from his family bloodline. Lee’s father, Kurk Lee Sr. played for Towson University, where he is sixth on the school’s career scoring list and went on to play in the NBA.
Besides Lee, Drexel’s backcourt for the 2016-2017 season will consist of redshirt junior Major Canady, junior Miles Overton, junior Sammy Mojica, and freshman Kari Jonsson.
Canady has missed a lot of time due to injuries over the past two seasons and will look to stay healthy for an entire season, while Overton, who sat out last season due to transfer rules, will look to makeup for the year off. Mojica is the only returning guard who played in a game for the Dragons last season. Jonsson, on the other hand, spent last year playing in Iceland’s top league, where he was named the best young player, and should compete at the guard spot.
On top of that, the Dragons struggled significantly to shoot the three consistently in the 2015-16 season. Mojica is the only returner from last year’s team that shot better than 32% from three. Lee is a reliable three point shooter and will help them improve in that area, especially with the losses of Ta. Allen (37% from three) and Te. Allen (averaged almost 2 three point attempts a game).
Not only does Lee shoot the three well, the left handed guard likes to use his speed to attack the basket and finish in the open court. Opposing defenders play off of him due to his quick first step, which gives him space to shoot. When opponents decide to play tight defense on Lee, he blows past them and finishes at the rim with a floater or passes it to an open teammate. But his best aspect may be his dribbling ability.
“[Lee is] one of the best ball handlers on the East Coast,” Ron Bailey of HoyaReport.com said. “Lee NEVER picks up his dribble, a feat for any player, let alone one his size.”
He is one of the few true point guards left. Lee is a good ball handler and passer, who is willing to make the extra pass when necessary, during a time where we see so many point guards who like to shoot first.
“A true floor general who is a throwback to the days where pass first point guards ran basketball,” Cardell Dudley of Finest Magazine said. “Lee displays a on court savvy that is rare for this era of score first point guards.”
His ability to get teammates involved, especially in transition, makes him a real floor general. The same can be said on the defensive end.
Though Lee is only 5-foot-10 and 150 pounds, he is a fearless defender, who can disrupt a team’s primary ball handler with constant pressure.
However, if Lee wants to continue his style of play in college he must get stronger, which will help his overall game. To add, Lee must continue to learn to move without the basketball. At times on offense he can be stagnant when the ball is not in his hands.
With that said, Lee will fit right into the Dragon's backcourt. Lee gives Drexel depth in the backcourt and offers a different look at point guard. The Maryland native is a speedster, who can beat his man off the dribble and make plays for his teammates. His speed will create scoring opportunities in transition and increase the team’s tempo. Unlike past Dragon guards, Lee has a combination of being a true point guard and amazing speed. Drexel basketball followers will be blown away by Coach Spiker’s first commitment.
Photo: Matthew Cole- The Capital / Baltimore Sun Media Group
-Drexel loses to Charleston in the quarterfinal of the CAA tournament