|Man, I miss that dude|
I'm not that optimistic.
That's not to say there aren't things to like about Tony Shaver's 12th W&M team. The CAA coaches picked the Tribe to finish 4th in what promises to be a very competitive league. Senior All-CAA first-teamer and defending conference Defensive Player of the Year Terry Tarpey returns to stuff stat sheets. Omar Prewitt is now an upperclassman, and there's hope that he may grow out of his youthful inconsistency. (Consecutive games of 33 and 4 points in the semis and finals of the 2015 CAA Tournament say hello. That's twice in one post that all or part of sporting contests have assumed human form and spoken to us. Maybe an omen, that.) Jerry Beach's good pal Daniel Dixon shot 45.1% from deep as a sophomore, and averaged 11.1 points as the third or fourth option.
The Tribe is decidedly long on wingspan and flexibility, with no fewer than seven contributors listed between 6'4 and 6'7 (Oliver Tot, Michael Schlotmann, Connor Burchfield, and Greg Malinowski (46.8% 3FG) join Tarpey, Prewitt, and Dixon). Aside from Malinowski, though, the others are unproven at the collegiate level.
In the frontcourt, senior Sean Sheldon carries a heavy load, as the only real pivot. Sheldon averaged 6.2 points and 4.3 boards as a junior, shooting 64.6% from the field. 6'9" sophomore Jack Whitman will need to make a big leap, or freshman Hunter Seacat (Hunter Seacat!) will need to mature quickly if the Tribe will have any depth at all in the post.
It's more likely that Tribe fans will see lots of five-guard sets and a ton of motion and spacing this year, as word out of Williamsburg suggests that sophomore point guard David Cohn has been lighting it up in practice. The 6'2" Cohn sat out last season after transferring from Colorado State, but the W&M faithful tabbed him early on as a key addition.
It says here that W&M will be competitive in nearly every conference game, but will finish fifth in the league with a .500 mark overall. In addition to the season opener against the Wolfpack, W&M's noncon schedule includes #5 Virginia, Old Dominion, and Dayton, tough matchups all. The Tribe is experienced, deep, flexible, and well-coached. But they'll need a few bounces to go their way to earn a first-round league tournament bye, and a glimmer of a hope of a third consecutive CAA Final appearance.
Marcus Thornton ain't walking through that door.
But he ain't no Patrick Ewing, either.