William and Mary left Tuesday’s annual Colonial Athletic Association Basketball Media Day with a bevy of preseason accolades and historic predicted order of finish.
Head coach Tony Shaver and the men’s program rode last season’s 20-win ledger to a No. 2 ranking in the league’s predicted order of finish, the highest in program history. Northeastern claimed the No. 1 position.
Even with the loss of career 1,000-point scorers Brandon Britt ’14 and Tim Rusthoven ’14, expectations are high. A third trip to the league championship in seven years only adds to the preseason conversation.
“That was a disappointing moment for us in some ways, but also very inspiring,” Shaver said. “I was so impressed with the way our guys played over the course of three days.”
On the women’s side, head coach Ed Swanson enters his second year at the helm, having compiled an 8-21 overall record a season ago. Unlike the men’s side, though, Swanson does return key players, including senior captains Kyla Kerstetter (guard) and Jazmen Boone (forward).
“They had a terrific junior campaign last year, but more importantly had a terrific post-season, summer session and preseason,” Swanson said. “They are both leaders for us on the floor, off the floor, the classroom, the community — they’re everything we want our program to be known about.”
Sophomore guard Marlena Tremba is a highlight among the underclassmen and looks to continue a strong freshman campaign. Through 14 starts and 29 appearances, Tremba hit double figures 22 times, averaging a team-high 13.2 points per game.
Those numbers, alongside a freshmen record 67-made three-pointers, earned Tremba CAA Rookie of the Year honors.
“She’s going to have to adjust her game a little bit, and not just be that shooter and scorer,” Swanson said. “She’s going to have to become a better defender and rebounder for us.”
On the men’s team, Thornton was named the CAA Player of the Year following a season in which he averaged 18.7 points per game and led the league in three-point shots. Thornton becomes the second player in program history to be named Player of the Year, joining Adam Hess ’04, who accomplished the feat in 2003.
“Marcus is a great player. He is truly a great player. I think the thing that has impressed me the most with him over the course of four years is his work ethic,” Shaver said. “I’ve coached for 38 years, I believe it is now — and he’s the hardest worker I’ve ever been around.”
Prewitt returns from a freshman campaign that, like Tremba’s, earned the CAA Rookie of the Year nod. Prewitt’s 11.4 points per game helped bolster the College’s bench last season.
“I think what makes him special is his feel for the game. He is a good scorer, a good passer, great rebounder, blocks shots, does a lot to help our team,” Shaver said of Prewitt. “He is one of the guys that just has the right feel.”
The men travel to No. 7 Florida to open the season, while the women open against Loyola in a home match. The games start an hour apart, at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively, Nov. 14.