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Season Preview: William & Mary Tribe

October 13, 2011

Quinn McDowell

2010-11 Record: 10-22 (4-14, 11th in CAA)

What happened last season: The Tribe couldn’t recover from the loss of three key seniors, and its young lineup hung in games but couldn’t win many. The team had a 12-win drop-off but upset James Madison in the first round of the CAA Tournament when Quinn McDowell couldn’t miss.

What’s Changed: All those young guns matured a year, and W&M lost just one starter – average center Marcus Kitts.

Key Team Stat: (63.0) Percent of the Tribe’s baskets that were assisted last year – ninth nationally and tops in the CAA. Ninth-year coach Tony Shaver always has his unit playing turnover-free, team basketball.  W&M annually cuts and passes as well as any other team in the league.

Key Player Stat: (15.5) Points per game last year by McDowell, the league’s top returning scorer. In fact, he’s the only player in the  CAA’s top 10 to come back. A sharp-minded sharpshooter, the 6-foot-6 forward scored 20-plus points eight times (also most among returners).

Who’s Vince: McDowell has what his coach calls an “Opie” look, but he’s a killer on the court. Just ask JMU. McDowell single-handedly ousted the confident Dukes from the CAA Tournament last year with a historic 35-point performance in which he made 10-12 field goals, 5-6 3-pointers and 10-11 free throws. McDowell averaged 18.6 points in wins and 14.1 in losses.

Who’s E: At least one group of league coaches voted for Brandon Britt as a second-team All-CAA player on their preseason ballot. The 6-1 guard was an All-Rookie last season after averaging 10.9 points and 2.2. assists per game. Quick and polished for a young player, Britt had a nine-game stretch in the middle of last season in which he averaged 15.4 points per game and never dipped below double-digits.

Entourage: Julian Boatner was a filthy outside shooter as a freshman (he made 40 percent of his treys and 49 percent from Jan. 19 forward), which makes him all the more scary as a sophomore. He and Britt have an undeniable on-and-off court chemistry and will be a dangerous duo for years. Speedy but uneven guard Kendrix Brown is the fourth returning starter. Forward Tim Rusthoven averaged 5.5 points per game as a freshman and displayed remarkable toughness for a player so skinny (the 6-9 210-pounder now weighs 230 according to W&M). Wings Kyle Gaillard and Matt Rum seem to make teams pay when people forget about them. JohnMark Ludwick returns for one more year of absurd shooting ratios: He attempted 10 2-pointers and 92 3-pointers (made 38 percent) last year. And oh, he’s 6-foot-8.

Realistic Goal: Go from almost-worst to almostfirst behind consistently hot shooting and mistake-free play.

Tournament Chances: If it can play defense, the Tribe will contend for a CAA title, and maybe make it back to the NIT, where it lost to North Carolina in 2010.

DN-R Prediction: 5th in the CAA*

 *(A previous preview of Old Dominion also had a prediction of 5th. The Monarchs were actually predicted to finish 6th in the DN-R’s ballot.)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. mrjoolius permalink
    October 13, 2011 4:24 pm

    Though guard deep, no mention of scoring SG Marcus Thornton. He is widely regarded as odds on all- freshman team and is sure to contribute.

  2. Mark Selig permalink*
    October 13, 2011 6:04 pm

    I try not to speculate much on freshmen, because I’ve never seen most of them play. And I’ve seen kids receive heaps of praise in the summer and then never be used in the winter.

    Thornton could be very good. We’ll see.

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