Thursday, February 26, 2015

This Week in Wrenball: The Greatest

The record came calmly and quietly, at the foul line, with an easy, fluid motion honed and perfected over thousands of hours of practice. That’s Marcus Thornton. 

What led to the record-breaking free throw was also Marcus Thornton. Movement, recognition, an open lane to the basket. An explosive, almost violent dunk attempt that would impose his will on the game, that would provide one more memorable moment in a career full of them.

In somewhat typically Gheorghian fashion, we wrote our farewell appreciation of Marcus Thornton back in December. So we won't rehash it in painstaking detail this morning, twelve hours after a first-half free throw against Towson gave him 2,053 career points and broke the nation's longest-standing career scoring record. If you're into the details, we commend to you Dave Fairbank's gamer (which includes the quote above), which will tell you that Thornton scored 23, but junior do-everything wing Terry Tarpey dropped 24, grabbed 13 boards, blocked 5 shots, and recorded 3 steals and as many assists in W&M's 65-50 win. (While you're at it, you should read Fairbank's feature on Chet Giermak, who held W&M's career scoring mark for 65 years.)

I really like listening to W&M coach Tony Shaver talk about Marcus, because his love and admiration for William & Mary's greatest-ever basketball player is evident. The words are one thing: “I’m just really proud for Marcus,” Shaver said. “I mean, this is not about him and I think our team really understands that. But I am happy for him. He’s helped take this program to a new level, and he deserves it. He works so hard. I’ve never coached a player who spends as much time in the gym as Marcus – ever.”

But watch Shaver's face, and listen to the tone of his voice. Makes you proud to have had the opportunity to watch Thornton wear green and gold for four years.



Those four years are nearly at end, that skinny hyper-kinetic kid replaced by a still-lean, coiled, explosive yet controlled veteran. Saturday marks the final home game of Thornton's decorated Tribe career. While he'll justifiably receive the loudest cheers from the Kaplan Arena crowd, the entire team still has work to do.

With a win against a depleted Drexel squad, missing its best player, CAA Player of the Year candidate Damion Lee, W&M will clinch its first-ever CAA championship. Sure, they'll likely share that honor with at least one other school (UNCW and Northeastern are good bets to finish with the same record), but the Wrens hold all the tiebreaker advantages. The win would give the Tribe the top seed in next weekend' CAA Tournament, and advance them to at least the NIT.

Miles to go before they sleep, then. And Marcus Thornton's great promise to keep.
Late update:

Here's a great video of the point that broke the record. Voiceover from Tribe radio play by play man Jay Colley, and a terrific shot of Thornton's parents. Check out the smile on Marcus' face after he was fouled on a dunk attempt that would've made SportsCenter.


18 comments:

Danimal said...

Suspected ISIS terrorist arrested in, wait for it now....Jacksonville!

Donna said...

Did any of you catch the end of the VCU-Richmond game last night...ESPN2 aired it, and Richmond led by 16 in second half, Rams stormed back, ridiculous NBA-style 3 by VCU at the buzzer to take it to OT, VCU seemingly had it locked-up when Richmond tied it at OT buzzer to go to OT2. Second OT back and forth, and Richmond ended up winning with defensive block to stifle VCU attempt for 3OT or win. Shaka wanted foul - maybe, but exciting, nonetheless!

Mark said...

I didn't watch. Nor did I watch FSU's game. But I did see Xavier Rathan-Mayes scored 30 pts in the game's final 4:38. Yes, you read that right.

Mark said...

Today is my wedding anniversary, thus marking the end of a brutally expensive 4 month stretch for me. Beginning in mid-November I have birthdays for all three other members of my household (as well as 3 nieces/nephew), Christmas, Valentine's Day and my anniversary. Ridiculous.

rob said...

that x r-m outburst is damn near inconceivable

TR said...

Kudos to Rob for breaking through my shield of cynicism/bitterness/apathy and making me care about this team. What's been even more amazing is that the Tribe has been on HD in my home multiple times this year. My kids now know the school exists and placate me by rooting for them when games are on.

TR said...

In job news, I still have one. News on the sale of my division has been punted until early next week. Essentially, there is a somewhat tight-knit group of 190 folks who want this to work out, but there are 6-9 suitors for our division, each of whom would keep a majority, but probably not keep all. Makes for some unproductive days.

Unrelated - Spoon's 2014 album (They Want My Soul) is really, really good. I didn't pimp it enough when it came out.

Mark said...

I'm not a big Spoon fan but TR's right. That's a good album.

rob said...

may you be the wind beneath the tribe's wings, tr. and if not, my apologies.

zman said...

Or at least the flatulence.

Mark said...

Today's Llama chase in Arizona set to Yakety Sax is easily my favorite thing on the Internet so far this year.

rob said...

mine is the bottom video in this post. but i've obviously got issues.

Dave said...

i love that spoon album too. maybe you can be a music critic if you lose your job.

horrible day at the kiddie dentist-- my kids have cavities, need extractions, and have spacing issues. i hope my insurance covers all this shit . . .

rob said...

zman, gift: http://www.wired.com/2015/02/aston-martins-2-3m-hypercar-bonkers-buyers-need-special-training/

rob said...

northeastern's loss to elon tonight means that the tribe is guaranteed no worse than the second seed in the caa tourney.

Squeaky said...

Hear, hear on Spoon. My son still requests a couple of songs when I'm driving in the car. He's now hooked on Ex Hex and Wild Flag. But he can't stand the new FJM which is unacceptable.

TR said...

Warriors not putting up the fight I'd like to see from a potential champion on the road.

Anderson Varejao is on the bench with that usual hairdo and a pink blazer. He looks like he stepped out of a Miami Vice episode.

Sammy P. said...

It's hard to overstate the importance of tonight's game for a number of reasons:

1. It would be the first CAA regular season title in Tribe history and the first title of any kind in 32 years.
2. It would guarantee a postseason spot in the NIT. Yes, it would be a disappointing consolation prize, but it's better than no postseason at all.
3. The #1 seed would guarantee that the Tribe could avoid Delaware in the 1st round, which is huge because the Blue Hens are the Tribe's Kryptonite.

Drexel is a much weaker team with the loss of their best player to a hand injury so the Tribe should be able to take care of business and head to Baltimore with nothing but the home whites. Now, all Shaver & Co. need is a healthy Dixon and all the stars might finally align. Ebirt Og!