SCRATCHING THE SURFACE
Building on last season, this year's edition of the Tribe has the potential to be not only one of head coach Tony Shaver's best, but one of the top Green and Gold squads in recent history. In total, The Tribe returns four starters and eight players, all of which played significant minutes last season. The Green and Gold is built around a quartet of seniors, who have left a lasting impression on W&M and have only begun to "Scratch the Surface," of where Shaver believes the program is headed.
The senior foursome of Steven Hess, Sean McCurdy, David Schneider and Danny Sumner has the chance to become W&M's winningest senior class in over two decades. The group has developed the Green and Gold into a competitive program that can play with anyone in the CAA on a nightly basis.
The College graduated only three players from last season and returns over 80 percent of its scoring and nearly 75 percent of its rebounding from the 2008-09 season. The Green and Gold also returns 77 percent of its assists, 83 percent of its steals and over 90 percent from its 3-pointers made from a season ago. Added to the mix of returners in a dynamic group of four newcomers that will add a unique flavor to the Green and Gold rotation. Sophomore transfer JohnMark Ludwick headlines the group of incoming players and is joined by the freshman trio of Kyle Gaillard, Andrew Pavloff and Matt Rum. All four players fit nicely into the College's offensive system and have the ability to shoot the basketball at a high level.
David Schneider - Sr./Sr. - 6-3 190 - Phoenix, Ariz.
Kendrix Brown - So./So. - 6-3 - 205 - Norfolk, Va.
Sean McCurdy - 5th/Sr. - 6-1 - 184 - Westport, Conn.
Matt McFadden - Sr./Jr. - 6-2 - 185 - Medford, N.J.
Matt Rum - Fr./Fr. - 6-4 - 180 - Chapel Hill, N.C.
The most experienced position for the Tribe is at guard, where the College returns three players who started last season and another that saw significant minutes throughout his first year. Seniors David Schneider and Sean McCurdy lead the group. Schneider has started 84 of his 88 career games for W&M and is closing in on 1,000 points for his career, while McCurdy, who transferred to the Tribe after two years at Arkansas, started 10 games last season.
Schneider was a Third-Team All-CAA selection last season after ranking seventh in the league in scoring at 14.1 points per game. Last season, Schneider knocked down 73 3-point field goals, which ranks second in school history. His 248 attempts from long range were not only a W&M record, but the fifth-best total in CAA history. Schneider has averaged 60 3-pointers a season over his three seasons and at his current pace would better the school record of 218 held by Matt Verkey.
Last season, McCurdy battled injuries, but appeared in 23 contests, making 10 starts. After offseason surgery and another year to get more familiar with his surroundings at W&M, McCurdy could be poised for a breakout season, providing the Tribe with a dynamic point guard with speed and excellent court vision. Despite his limited time due to injuries, McCurdy led the Tribe in assists on 10 occasions, including a season and career-best eight against Haverford. He also dished out seven helpers at Penn State. During the offseason, McCurdy has worked on his shooting and will provide another offensive threat from beyond the arc.
As a freshman in 2008-09, Kendrix Brown showed maturity well beyond his years, appearing in 29 contests, while earning 22 starts. He started the final 15 games of the season and led the Tribe in assists over that stretch. Brown is a big guard who has flair and creativity with the ball in his hands, and also excelled last season as a defensive stopper. Brown provided an all-around game to the Tribe's starting lineup as a rookie, averaging 3.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists per contest. During the offseason, Brown was one of the Tribe players to really transform his body, adding strength and becoming a lean player. He also worked to refine his shot and will look to improve upon his impressive 37.5 percent shooting from 3-point range as a rookie.
Junior Matt McFadden returned to the fold for the Tribe after sitting out his first two seasons in Williamsburg. He provided the Tribe with a boost off the bench as he averaged 2.7 points per game in 27 contests. McFadden averaged 13 minutes per contest and shot over 40 percent from the floor in his first season.
Despite the plethora of guards in the Tribe rotation, freshman Matt Rum will push for minutes in his rookie season. One of the top players in the Baltimore area last season, Rum was a two-time First-Team All-Baltimore Catholic League, All-MIAA conference and All-Baltimore County selection at Loyola Blakefield. He scored over 1,000 points in his high school career and his known for his ability to shoot the ball from 3-point range. He displayed his 3-point excellence at the 9th annual Charm City Challenge, winning the event's 3-point shootout.
Danny Sumner - Sr./Sr. - 6-7 - 225 - Fairfax, Va.
Kyle Gaillard - Fr./Fr. - 6-7 - 210 - Huntersville, N.C.
Sumner returns as a two-year starter at the wing position and cemented himself as one of the top scorers in the CAA last season. The Tribe will welcome the arrival of highly regarded freshman Kyle Gaillard as well, providing the Tribe with a pair of impressive options at the 3 position.
Sumner was voted the Tribe's team Most Valuable Player last season as he averaged 13.4 points per game. His average ranked 12th in the CAA. Over the last two seasons, Sumner has appeared in every game for the College and started 46 contests. He is averaging nearly 12 points per game over that stretch and shooting 44.3 percent from the field and 34.3 percent from 3-point range.
A long, athletic player, Sumner has continued to work on his body during the offseason and added even more strength in the weight room. A gym rat by nature, Sumner has worked relentlessly to continually develop his game and jump shot. Like his fellow classmate and teammate Schneider, Sumner will have the opportunity to eclipse the 1,000-point mark, having scored 797 points over his three-year career.
Gaillard could be perhaps the best athlete on the Tribe roster with his long, springy frame. One of the top players in the state of North Carolina as a prep, the 6-7, 210-pounder drew recruiting interest from Davidson, Penn State and Michigan, before ultimately choosing the Tribe. Gaillard was rated the 96th-best small forward in the country by ESPN.com and was a two-time all-conference selection at one of the top programs in the state, North Mecklenburg. He averaged 18 points per game as a senior as was selected to the North Carolina Coaches Association East-West All-Star Game where he scored 13 points in leading his team to victory.
Quinn McDowell - So./So. - 6-6 - 212 - Mason, Ohio
Steven Hess - Sr./Sr. - 6-10 - 245 - Charlotte, N.C.
Marcus Kitts - Jr./Jr. - 6-9 - 230 - Holly Springs, N.C.
JohnMark Ludwick* - Jr./So. - 6-8 - 230 - San Antonio, Texas
Andrew Pavloff - Fr./Fr. - 6-9 - 220 - Akron, Ohio
* sat out the 2008-09 season as a transfer from Texas-San Antonio
The most significant loss to graduation from the Tribe came at the forward position, where all three graduating seniors played. Despite losing a three-year starter in Peter Stein to graduation, the College's outlook at forward is more rosy than meets the eye. The Tribe returns a starter at the 4 position in sophomore Quinn McDowell and a pair of players who have played significant minutes over their careers at the 5 spot in senior Steven Hess and junior Marcus Kitts. Add to the group a transfer in sophomore JohnMark Ludwick and a rookie in Andrew Pavloff, and W&M's forward position has some quality depth.
McDowell broke onto the scene with an impressive rookie season in which he was the Tribe's most consistent player on a nightly basis. In total, he finished the year averaging 9.3 points per game and topped the College in rebounds (4.4), field goal percentage (50 percent) and 3-point field goal percentage (38.2 percent). McDowell capped his rookie campaign by being named to the CAA All-Rookie team. He appeared in every game for the Tribe and started the final 15 for the club. Over the final 20 games of the 2008-09 season, McDowell averaged nearly 11 points per game and ranked second on the squad in scoring. Along with starting at forward, McDowell has the versatility to move to both the guard and wing position. He was another Tribe player who transformed his body in the offseason, adding nearly 20 pounds of muscle to his frame.
One of the most intriguing players to watch on the Tribe roster will be sophomore transfer JohnMark Ludwick. The 6-8, 230-pounder sat out last season after coming to W&M from Texas-San Antonio, where he averaged 6.2 points per game while shooting over 40 percent from 3-point range. Ludwick put in significant time in the weight room during his redshirt year and in the offseason, adding muscle. He is without question the top shooter on the Tribe roster even though he stands 6-8 and plays the 4 position. Ludwick is also a good passer for his size and will help the Tribe offensive scheme in stretching the defense with his ability to shoot the ball. Like McDowell, Ludwick also has the versatility to slide over and play the wing position.
Hess and Kitts provide the College with a pair of seasoned players who can both start and contribute at the 5 position. Over the final 10 games of last season, Kitts started eight contests and averaged over six points per game to go along with four rebounds while shooting over 70 percent from the floor. He broke out with his career-best scoring effort last season against South Carolina State, tallying 11 points in a Tribe victory at the Liberty Thanksgiving Classic. Kitts is the Tribe's best low post scorer, and has worked to get better on the defensive end of the floor. He has added more strength in the off season, while also working on his footwork.
Over his three-year career, Hess has been a solid contributor in a reserve roll. A hard-working player who knows how to put himself in the right position, he will have an opportunity to earn the starting nod as a senior. Hess is a strong defender and an excellent passer from the forward position that possesses a high basketball IQ. Those attributes make him a great fit for the Tribe's offensive scheme. Hess has played in 75 games over his career and shot better than 57 percent from the floor. He provides the Tribe with a big body who can defend and rebound. Last season, Hess enjoyed an impressive showing against a tough Drexel front line, tallying seven rebounds in 12 minutes of action.
Along with Ludwick, freshman Andrew Pavloff also joins the front line fold for the Green and Gold. At 6-9, Pavloff is a perfect fit for the Tribe's offensive system with his ability to shoot, handle and pass the basketball from the 5 position. He was a spring signee for the Tribe, giving the College another versatile option at the forward position. Last season, he averaged 14 points, eight rebounds, two assists and three blocks per game as a senior at Walsh Jesuit. He was named to the Division II NE Inland All-District team as a senior, while playing every position on the court for his high school team.