Camren Wynter had confidence entering Drexel, but the freshman wasn’t quite sure his season would turn out this way.
Friday’s announcement of the Colonial Athletic Association’s postseason awards showed how things have gone extremely well for the 6-1 point guard. He was named the CAA rookie of the year. (Teammates Troy Harper and Alihan Demir earned third-team all-CAA honors.)
“I am blessed to receive this award," Wynter said in comments relayed through a Drexel spokesperson. "It means a lot to me because I worked really hard this season. I couldn’t have won this award without the help of my teammates.”
Wynter is averaging 11.2 points, which is 24th in the CAA. He is second in assists, with 5.4, to fellow freshman Kai Toews of North Carolina Wilmington (7.9), fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.3), and sixth in steals (1.3 per game).
To show his true value, Wynter is averaging a team-high 33.9 minutes per game.
“It has definitely been a blessing this whole season to be able to adapt to everything quickly,” Wynter said in a midweek interview as the Dragons prepared for the CAA tournament. “I didn’t think it would turn out this well, but I can’t say I am surprised.”
Wynter and sixth-seeded Drexel (13-18, 7-11 CAA) are preparing for a quarterfinal game against third-seeded and defending champion Charleston (23-8, 12-6) at the North Charleston Coliseum in Charleston, S.C., at 8:30 p.m. Sunday The Dragons received a first-round bye.
Wynter was expected to see playing time, but his minutes increased because junior point guard Kurk Lee suffered a shoulder injury that limited him to six games.
A graduate of Holy Trinity High in Hicksville, N.Y.,, Wynter spent a postgraduate season at DME Academy in Daytona Beach, Fla.
During his last three games, Wynter averaged 39 minutes.
“If you look at his body of work, Cam has improved in terms of understanding exactly what we like him to do,” Drexel coach Zach Spiker said during the CAA’s conference call Tuesday. “He has natural skills and we try to put him in situations to take advantage of his ability as a decision-maker, a passer, along with his improved ability to score and his leadership.”
Wynter will have to play a major role if Drexel wants to advance in the CAA tournament. The Dragons earned a first-round bye but now have to basically play a road game.
Even though Charleston doesn’t play in the venue hosting the tournament, the arena is only about 25 minutes from the campus.
Wynter has made an impression on Charleston coach Earl Grant.
“He is a good player and there are a lot of good guards in this league,” Grant said during the conference call “.. He is young and has a great opportunity and has been playing a lot of minutes.”
On Jan. 10, Drexel won at Charleston, which was arguably the best victory of the season for the Dragons. Drexel’s 79-77 victory snapped Charleston’s 22-game home winning streak.
“That game really helped our confidence, knowing we can beat them in their place,” Wynter said. “This will basically be a home game for them.”