Here’s an early scouting report of Florida’s season-opening opponent this Friday, William & Mary, courtesy of Blue Ribbon Magazine:
The Tribe return two starters from a team that finished 20-12. Blue Ribbon picked William & Mary to win the Colonial Athletic Conference this season and picked returning 6-4 senior guard Marcus Thornton as the league’s player of the year. William & Mary narrowly missed the NCAA Tournament last year on a missed shot at the buzzer against Delaware in the finals of the CAA Tournament. It was William & Mary’s third appearance in the CAA Finals in the last seven seasons.
“We’ve proven we can be really good,” William & Mary coach Tony Shaver told Blue Ribbon. “What we haven’t proven is we can do it on a consistent basis.”
Thornton averaged 18.7 points and 2.8 assists last season and is a long-range shooter who made 93 3-point attempts and shot 40.3 percent beyond the arc last season. Returning point guard Omar Prewitt (11.4 ppg, 4.6 apg) is 6-6 and can present a potential size mismatch against 6-1 Florida point guard Kasey Hill.
The Tribe don’t have as much size up front, with 6-5 forwards Terry Tarpey (5.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg) and Daniel Dixon. (3.5 ppg, 1.6 rpg). There is hope that redshirt freshman 6-9 center Jack Whitman can develop into a steady contributor. Shaver has been impressed with Whitman’s athleticism for his size.
To sum up William & Mary, Blue Ribbon writes: “The difference for Shaver this season is continuity in talent. For years the pattern repeated itself : a peak season would see talented seniors graduate and the next year’s freshmen would be thrown back into the breach, causing a dip back into the CAA valley. Not anymore.”