Leading off the basketball court is just as important as leading on it for Drexel guards Camren Wynter and Melik Martin.
“In different situations when things aren’t going your way, sometimes the younger guys look for someone to calm a situation, and that’s something I’ve tried to do this year,” Wynter said. “I’ve learned how to be a leader.
“Since I’m the point guard and one of the older guys here, I’ve been looked at to just lead by example using my voice.”
Wynter is averaging a team-best 15.3 points and is No. 4 in scoring in the Colonial Athletic Association, third in free-throw percentage (.863), and second in assists (4.7). Martin is averaging 11.1 points for Drexel (14-12, 9-7) with two games left in the regular season. The Dragons have won their last two games, and five of their last seven.
Together they hope to push Drexel, winners of five of their last seven games, to another CAA championship and an NCAA Tournament berth.
Martin’s development as a leader was quite different from Wynter’s growth over four years with Drexel. Martin, a graduate student, is in his first season at Drexel after transferring from Monmouth College.
Coming to a team with established relationships led to a transitional period as he tried to find his role.
“Everyone has different styles and you need to gain trust, but there was very open communication between me and coach [Zach Spiker],” Martin said. “So if I have a question, all I have to do is ask.
“I try to be a solid leader and try to make big plays when needed. I learned to be very vocal and communicative so we can all be on the same page.”
Martin credits Drexel with helping him continue to grow as a leader.
“I noticed I needed to make sure I’m saying the right things,” Martin said. “So sometimes it’s taking a step back and listening first. There are things I’m used to that aren’t the same here, so learning a different program has had a major impact on me.”
Their communication and trust is apparent on the court.
“Most of us are really close off the court, and that translates on the court,” Wynter said. “We’ve all been together for a while, and the trust on the court shows we want to win. That’s all any of us care about.”
Wynter, who ranks fifth in assists all time at Drexel, was named the Most Outstanding Player of the CAA Tournament last season and soon will get another shot at a title and NCAA berth. The CAA Tournament is March 5-8 in Washington.
“The games are higher intensity because there’s a lot more at stake,” he said. “But I think if you look into it too much, that’s when you can become tight as a player and overthink things, and obviously in games like that you don’t want either. I would say no added pressure but definitely more energy is needed in those.”
Martin wasn’t with Drexel to experience last season’s NCAA Tournament berth, but he’s excited to get a chance this year.
“I want us to be able to cut down that net,” Martin said. “That’s something I’ve never done before. That’s my goal, and it’s also to make more noise in March.”
Drexel hosts North Carolina-Wilmington at 7 p.m. Thursday before closing out the regular season at 4 p.m. Saturday at home against College of Charleston.