Basketball: College tips off – head coach Tony Shaver, junior guard Marcus Thornton, senior forward Kyle Gaillard

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November 12, 2013

3:59 AM

Junior guard Marcus Thornton

On practice

I really pride myself on putting in the extra work, making sacrifices, putting in the hours. It’s a big part of my game, and a big part of what I do on the basketball court.

Hard work, it brings other people in. You see someone working hard, you also want to jump in and do something. This preseason we had a lot of that, a lot of guys who came in and worked on their game.

On preseason trip

That was a great trip for us, a great trip overall. I always talk about how close knit of a group we are, but stuff like that – you can never be too close. It brought us together a lot. It was great for our freshman to have that, the preseason practices, and basically get a jump start this year in college basketball. We had a fun time, on and off the court, and won some games out there.

On loss of Matt Rum ’13

Matt [Rum] was a great leader, very vocal, great defensive mind. [Rum] didn’t shot the ball that well last year, but was already our rock for us defensively. We’ll definitely miss that, but we have some guys who can step up.

On senior forward Kyle Gaillard

Kyle [Gaillard] can be as good as he wants to be, he can be awesome. He had a great preseason, I think he had the best preseason out of all of us, and so far has been the most consistent. He’s been a great leader for us, and I look forward to him carrying that into the season.

On senior center Tim Rusthoven

We gotta get the ball to [Rusthoven] more, that’s for sure. He’s been more vocal than in past years.

On head coach Tony Shaver

I think we have a pretty good chemistry. We talk a lot, whether it be meetings or through texts or whatever. It’s been good – I think our relationship makes us be a better team altogether.

On head coach Tony Shaver’s mustache

It’s definitely one of the best in college basketball, I’ll tell you that.

Head coach Tony Shaver

On loss of Matt Rum ’13

Matt [Rum] was one of those glue guys. He’s one of those good leaders who did everything well for us. He was probably our best perimeter defender. It’s a loss certainly.

I don’t necessarily look for a replacement for [Rum] as mush as a guy to bring his own quality traits to the team, to the starting lineup. After one game, Terry Tarpey has been that guy. [Tarpey] can be a good defender, a very good rebounder, good feel for the game – maybe not quite the shooter [Rum] was from the perimeter. We think a lot of Terry, and think he’s going to have a very good future for us.

On defense

Just getting better at it. Making teams uncomfortable to play against us. We just want to be more aggressive on the defensive end, take more pride on the defensive end, because ultimately that’s what’s going to win us ball games.

On preseason trip

It was a great trip. We had a great trip – the basketball was good. One of the neat parts of the trip was the ten days of practice beforehand. We got to work the four freshmen in a bit, and played four games over there and had some success in those games too. And we had some fun too – took the team snorkeling.

On expectations for freshman guard Omar Prewitt

They’re high. Omar Prewitt has obviously proven he can play. He’s a versatile 6’6’’, 6;7’’ wing player that can play a number of positions – great feel for the game. We expect great things out of him.

On expectations for freshman guard Michael Schlotman

Mike Schlotman, freshman out of Indiana we have expectations for. In fact, we expect he’ll get quality minutes. He’s a tough kid who really makes our team better because he does all the dirty things really well.

On expectations for freshman guard Daniel Dixon

Daniel Dixon is a young guy we think will be good. We think he has a very bright future.

On expectations for freshman forward Jack Whitman

Jack Whitman, our 6’9’’ post player from Kentucky, has had a rough stretch. (injury)Promising player, but has had a rough stretch of it.

On junior forward Tom Shalk, and return from illness

Tom is 100 percent, and when he’s in there gives us toughness inside that can be a plus for us.

On senior center Tim Rusthoven

We need leadership out of Tim [Rusthoven], as much as his basketball play. Out of those upperclassmen, Kyle [Gaillard], Tim [Rusthoven], Brandon [Britt] and Marcus [Thornton], we need really high quality leadership. [Rusthoven] has been a highly consistent over the course of his career –a  really good offensive player inside, but needs to continue to concentrate on being a better defender, and staying on the floor. [Rusthoven] has really struggled with fouls throughout his career. We gotta keep him on the floor. I expect great things out of [Ruthoven] this year.

On junior guard Marcus Thornton

He’s a very talented young guy. The two things we’re asking Marcus [Thornton] to give this team: one is becoming a better defender and taking a lot of pride in defending. He can be a great defender, but it requires a high level of concentration. And two, and [Thornton] and I have talked a lot about this, but if you want to be known as a great guard in college basketball, you have to use your skills to make the team better. He can impact the game in a lot of ways, and we have to continue to push him to not just become a better scorer, but help the team in every phase of the game.

On immediate team goals

As much as anything, we hope by December to have this team back in one piece to hopefully make a push into conference. Again, I’m not giving up on these next eight or ten games, but I do want to get all our pieces on the floor.

On season goals

I’ve coached for 30 some years, and I’ve never set a goal of win a championship, or win 20 games. To me, the goal has to be to do the best we can with this team, make ourselves as good as we can possibly be. Now, I think every guy in that locker room will tell you they want to contend for the CAA championship. If we can do that, only time will tell. But it’s definitely in the back of everyone’s mind.

On home court advantage

We’re real excited, and we’ve been excited about this season for a long time. It makes a whole lot of a difference. To get the decisive home court advantage is really a neat thing in college basketball. We’d love to see everyone come out and support us.

Senior forward Kyle Gaillard

On team identity

It’s early in the season. We’re still trying to figure out our identity. We didn’t play to our potential [Friday], that’s for sure. To some extent, it’s finding our potential and playing to our potential. I really think that if we reach that potential, it’s a championship level.

On preseason trip

It was just a great experience. I’ve never done anything like that, and I think it was the first time for Coach Shaver. It was great. We got 10 days of practice beforehand, so that was really good to get some extra work in as a team. The trip itself was amazing. On and off the court, it was a great experience.

On personal goals

I don’t have a lot of personal goals; I want the team to do as well as possible. I want to do whatever I can to make the team successful. This is my last year in a Tribe uniform, so I’m just looking to make it the best year we can.

On last year of eligibility

It gives a lot of extra motivation. I’m trying to get in as much extra work as I can, to make sure I can contribute as much as I can on the court.

On home court advantage

It means a lot. Our fans are great – when we get that place filled up, it’s a great atmosphere and environment for us to play. It really motivates us to play hard. We love it.

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Chris Weber

Senior staff writer Chris Weber '15 is an English major from Spotsylvania, Va. He was previously Sports Editor.

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