CAA Preview: William & Mary Tribe
Last Year: 6-26 Overall (4-14 CAA) 10th in the CAA, Lost to Northeastern in the first round.
What Happened: Let’s start with some positives. Out of the six wins that William & Mary got last season, four of them were conference games including a 25-point win against Northeastern, the team that eventually knocked them out of the CAA tournament. Despite losing their first two CAA games by a combined score of 46 points, the Tribe lost five out of their remaining 11 regular season conference games by five or less points. This includes a two-point loss to first place Drexel and a 1-point loss to the CAA champs, VCU. Despite this, the lackluster offense and inconsistent defense of William & Mary could not get it done. If not for Towson, the 60.3 points-a-game scored by the Tribe would be the worst in the CAA.
- Quinn McDowell (G/F): Good luck filling this gap. McDowell departs from William & Mary as its all-time leader in games and minutes played. His senior year didn’t lack in achievements as the two-time captain became the first two-time winner of the CAA Dean Ehlers Leadership Award and the CAA Scholar-Athlete of the year. The 12.5 points and 4.7 rebounds a game also earned him a spot on the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award All-America Second Team. McDowell also became the fourth player in William & Mary history to score 1,500 career points and pull down 500 rebounds.
- Kendrix Brown (G): While Marcus Thornton and McDowell produced most of William & Mary’s backcourt scoring, Brown got the job done as far as defense. The two-time captain received team awards for Defensive Award and the Mark Batzel Award, which is given to a player that displays leadership, determination, mental toughness, and heart. He is also just one of 13 players in program history to record 200 career assists and 100 career steals. During his senior campaign, Brown started 24 of 30 games, averaging 4 points and a career-high 4.3 rebounds a game.
- JohnMark Ludwick (F): Ludwick missed most of his senior season due to injury but did manage to play six of the final seven games. The shooter finished his career at W&M ranking fourth in career three-point field goal percentage (38.9 percent), 15th in three-pointers made per game (1.08), and 19th in total 3-pointers (77). Ludwick averaged 3.9 points and 1.5 rebounds over his career.
- Marcus Thornton (G): Remember that gap left by McDowell? If anyone’s going to fill it, it’s going to be Marcus Thornton. The guard is coming off an outstanding rookie campaign in which his 11.1 points a game (ranked 23rd in the CAA) was second on the Tribe only to McDowell. Thornton, one of the more athletic guards in the CAA, tallied a career high 28 points against VCU, scoring the most points for a W&M freshman since 2005.
- Tim Rusthoven (F): After missing the first six games of his sophomore year due to injury, the third best scorer on W&M started 24 of his final 26 appearances while scoring 10.3 points a game. He also pulled down 6.6 rebounds a game (11th in the CAA), 2.3 of which came on the offensive glass (12th in the CAA). The incoming junior showed he could be efficient with his offense, ranking third in the CAA in field goal percentage (54.5).
- Sean Sheldon (F): The incoming freshman should help out the Tribe in the frontcourt. The 6’9 freshman averaged 21 points and 11 rebounds in his senior campaign earning him the ESPN.com ranking of 116th best power forward in the country.
Outlook: The Tribe proved last year that they could hang with some of the CAA’s best last season and this was with some of their best players (with the exception of McDowell) lacking experience. Now that those players have at least a year under their belt, they should show improvement. However, W&M was the second worst scoring team in the CAA last season and unless they can produce an offense that’s not just “give the ball to Marcus” they are going to find themselves once again in the bottom of the standings.