Men’s basketball preview

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November 4, 2011

3:17 AM

2010 record: 10-22, 4-14 CAA

William and Mary heads into the 2011-12 season after undergoing a rebuilding period last season. The College, wracked with inexperience, struggled through the duration of its schedule on its way to a 10-22 regular season with a dismal 4-14 mark in the conference. Despite its struggles, the College saw flashes of brilliance from its relatively young roster and heads into the 2011-12 campaign with fresh hopes of a CAA title and the program’s first ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

The College will return many of its core players from last year, and head coach Tony Shaver and his staff hope that they will continue to grow. The Tribe will be led by its trio of senior captains, forward Quinn McDowell, forward JohnMark Ludwick and guard Kendrix Brown.

McDowell, the Dean Ehlers Leadership Award recipient from 2010, will be called upon for his leadership and scoring abilities once again this season. McDowell, who led the Tribe with an average of 15.5 points per game, was the lone constant in an otherwise shaky offensive attack. He was integral to the development of many of the College’s younger talent, and Shaver hopes McDowell will reprise that role this season.

In addition to McDowell, the College seeks to benefit from the return of its group of talented young guards. Sophomores Brandon Britt and Julian Boatner broke into the starting lineup halfway through last season and quickly became prominent contributors to the Princeton offense. Boatner, a sharpshooter, established a new College rookie record by sinking 58 three-pointers last season, while Britt, an athletic, slashing guard, was named to the CAA All-Rookie team last season.

The greatest remaining question for the College comes in the front court. Marcus Kitts ’11 provided an inconsistent showing at center last season, but the Tribe lacks an experienced big man on its roster. Sophomores Tim Rusthoven and Fred Heldring were both highly touted coming out of high school in 2010, and both will see increased playing time this season.

Head Coach Tony Shaver

Head coach Tony Shaver enters his eighth season in Williamsburg at the helm of the Tribe program. Over the course of his tenure, Shaver has steadily rebuilt the program, starting with his breakout year in 2008 — in which the Tribe had a surprise CAA tournament run, and then again in 2010, when the College reached the postseason for the second time in school history. Last season was a rebuilding year, but Shaver’s talented class of recruits began to shine in the latter part of the season, and he hopes that last year’s struggles will pay off this season.

Guards

The Tribe enters the new campaign with an enviable situation at guard, with three viable starters returning. Senior defensive specialist Kendrix Brown will lead a relatively young and talented group. Sophomores Brandon Britt and Julian Boatner will look to continue to impress.

Forwards/Centers

The College’s corps of forwards and centers begins and ends with Preseason All-CAA senior forward Quinn McDowell, who has been stellar in his three seasons with the Tribe. In addition, the Tribe will feature senior sharpshooter JohnMark Ludwick and hopes to see continued growth in sophomore big men Fred Heldring and Tim Rusthoven.

Freshmen

Entering the Tribe program is a pair of talented freshmen in guard Marcus Thorton and forward Tom Shalk. Thorton, one of the highest touted recruits in recent memory, was the Maryland Gatorade Player of the Year last season. Shalk was a top player in Minnesota, and will look to bring his shooting ability to the College.

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