William & Mary Tribe (10-22, 4-14)
Projected starting five:
So. G Brandon Britt
So. G Julian Boatner
Sr. G Kendrix Brown
Sr. F Quinn McDowell
So. F-C Tim Rusthoven
F Marcus Kitts (9.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg) is the only starter gone from last season’s team.
85.6 percent of scoring and 83.6 percent of rebounding
Fr. F Tom Schalk
Fr. G Marcus Thornton
The nonconference slate isn’t loaded with landmines by a long shot, although they open at rebuilding St. John’s and later host Richmond and travel to Missouri. They will play Liberty both at home and in Lynchburg, with the latter being the last of three games there as part of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer. In CAA play, they will close out January with a brutal stretch of five games in ten days: at VCU, UNC Wilmington, Drexel, at James Madison and at Old Dominion.
Projected finish and outlook:
Last season, the Tribe was not far away from being a significantly better team in wins and losses after losing a number of close games. Now the young guards have had a chance to grow up, and the team seemed to go as they went once the calendar turned to 2011. The Tribe will need them, especially early as injuries have ravaged the frontcourt in the preseason. McDowell, Rusthoven and Kyle Gaillard all missed significant preseason practice time, and the frontcourt was where the questions would be on a fully healthy team aside from McDowell, one of the top players in the conference.
This means the Tribe will need senior JohnMark Ludwick and sophomore Fred Heldring to make big leaps, and likely means they will play smaller for a while as well. Head coach Tony Shaver said this team is likely to go with a true three-guard lineup more often this season, especially since Thornton will be too good to limit his minutes, Brown has gamely battled injuries to be a valuable player and Matt Rum has good experience but can shoot better than he did last season. If the Tribe can get healthy and stay that way, they could be a sleeper team; but injuries have a way of derailing seasons for even the best teams, and the Tribe don’t enter this season with a great deal of room for error in the first place.