BALTIMORE, Md. - The William and Mary men’s basketball team brought in quite a haul at the Colonial Athletic Association’s annual awards banquet on Thursday evening. The Green and Gold won two major awards as freshman Omar Prewitt became the third W&M player to be named CAA Rookie of the Year, while senior Tim Rusthoven garnered the league’s prestigious Dean Ehlers Leadership Award, giving W&M its fourth honoree in the last five years. Junior guard Marcus Thornton became just the third player in Green and Gold history to be named to the All-CAA First Team, while Rusthoven was a second-team choice. W&M once again led the way with three of the league’s 10 All-Academic Team selections with Rusthoven and fellow seniors Brandon Britt and Kyle Gaillard garnering the accolades for the third straight season.
Rusthoven joined David Schneider (2010) and Quinn McDowell (2011 and 2012) in being named the winner of the Dean Ehlers Leadership Award winner. The distinction, which has been presented to the deserving men’s and women’s basketball player since 1995, is named after former James Madison athletic director Dean Ehlers, who was a founding member of the conference, served as its first President and was a recognized leader through his membership on numerous NCAA Committees. The award is given to the student-athlete who “embodies the highest standards of leadership, integrity and sportsmanship in conjunction with his academic athletic achievement.”
Rusthoven is heavily involved in the Williamsburg and W&M communities along with being a student leader on campus and in athletics. He is a team captain and member of the W&M SAAC along with his involvement in the Mason School of Business. Rusthoven has been the president of Tribe Fellowship, an on campus Christian fellowship group, and has also led a Bible study group of high school boys at the Williamsburg Community Chapel. Rusthoven was a nominee for the 2014 Allstate NABC Good Works Teams®, which recognizes a select group of college basketball student-athletes who have made significant contributions to the greater good of their communities through volunteerism and civic service.
Prewitt was named the league’s rookie of the year after leading CAA rookies in a number of categories, including scoring (11.8), 3-pointers made (47), assists (56), 3-point percentage (37.6), free throw percentage (77.2) and steals (28), while ranking second in rebounding (4.7 per game). On seven occasions during the season, the Mount Sterling, Ky., native was named the CAA Rookie of the Week. As the rookie of the year, Prewitt also headlined the CAA All-Rookie Team, becoming the ninth selection under head coach Tony Shaver and the second player to take home the top honor.
It marked the second straight season in which Thornton and Rusthoven were named All-CAA. It is just the fifth time that the Tribe had two All-CAA choices in the same season and the first time it pulled the trick in back-to-back seasons. The Green and Gold had two All-CAA picks in 1998, 2004, 2010 and 2013 to go along with this season. Thornton and Rusthoven mark the 12th and 13th time in head coach Tony Shaver’s tenure a Tribe player was named All-CAA. They are the first Tribe teammates to make the league’s top two teams in the same season since 1998.
Thornton, who was a preseason first-team pick after earning second-team honors last season, became just the third W&M player in the program’s 29-year history in the CAA to be named first-team all-league. He ranked among the CAA leaders in scoring at 18.6 points per game, while leading the league in 3-pointers made (85) and ranking fourth in 3-point percentage (39.9). On two occasions, Thornton was named the CAA Player of the Week. He scored 20 or more points on 12 occasions this season and his 540 points rank 12th on the Tribe’s single season list. He joined a group of Green and Gold players that includes Randy Bracey in 1998 and Adam Hess in 2003 and 2004 to be selected to the All-CAA First Team.
Rusthoven moved up to the All-CAA Second Team after receiving third-team accolades last season. He leads the CAA in field goal percentage at 57.7 percent, which also ranks third in Tribe history. The Winfield, Ill., native ranks 12th in the CAA at 12.2 points per game, while also ranking 11th in blocked shots and 17th in rebounding (4.9). Earlier this season, he became just the 17th player in Tribe history to register 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in his career.
The Tribe again led the CAA with three All-Academic team selections. Rusthoven, a business finance major, became just the second player in W&M history along with Schneider to be a three-time CAA All-Academic First Team choice. Gaillard, the CAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2013, was named to the top academic team for the second-straight season. On the court, he started 28 of 29 games for the Tribe, averaging 6.8 points and 3.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 44.7 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from 3-point range. Gaillard has already accepted a position after graduation at Well Fargo in Washington, D.C.
Britt is the seventh player in Tribe history to be a three-time CAA All-Academic team selection. After being named a second team honoree the last two seasons, the business marketing major moved up to the top team in his senior campaign. One of three 1,000-point scorers currently on the Tribe roster, Britt averages 10.4 points per game, while shooting 49 percent from 3-point range. In CAA games only, his scoring average is up to 11.4 points per game, which ranks 16th in the league. His league 3-point percentage of 54.8 percent leads the CAA.
The three CAA All-Academic selections this season bring W&M’s total to 36 under head coach Tony Shaver, which is the most in the CAA since 2004. It marks the fourth time in the last five years that the Tribe placed three of its five starters on the CAA All-Academic team.
For the second straight season, Towson’s Jerrelle Benimon was named the CAA’s Player of the Year. Along with Benimon and Thornton, Delaware placed two players on the All-CAA First Team in Davon Usher and Devon Saddler, while Drexel’s Franz Massenat also garnered the honor. Joining Rusthoven on the second team was Northeastern’s Scott Eatherton, Zeke Upshaw of Hofstra, College of Charleston’s Willis Hall and Chris Fouch of Drexel. Eatherton was named the CAA’s Defensive Player of the Year, while Delaware’s Monte Ross was the league’s coach of the year.
The Tribe is the No. 3 seed in the Colonial Athletic Association Championship after finishing the regular season at 18-11 overall and 10-6 in CAA play. W&M plays the No. 6 seed College of Charleston in the last quarterfinal on Saturday, March 8, at 8:30 p.m. from the Baltimore Arena. Tribe fans can listen to the broadcast over the Tribe Radio Network with Jay Colley, Bill McDonald and Charlie Woollum on the call. The Tide 92.3 FM and 107.9 Bach FM are the flagship stations of the Tribe Radio Network, and it can also be heard over the Web at TribeAthletics.com.
The W&M-CofC game will be broadcast on a number of television outlets with Al Koken and Ron Thompson on the call. In Norfolk, Williamsburg and the Hampton Roads area, the contest will be shown on WGNT- CW Over-The-Air Digital Channel 27.1, Cox Cable channel 7 or 1007 in HD. In Philadelphia, the game will be carried on WCAU-NBC Over-The-Air Digital Channel 10.2 (“COZI TV”, Comcast cable channel 248, Verizon channel 460). Comcast SportsNet Bay Area (CSN-BA) and Comcast Sports Southeast (CSS) will have the game live. Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic (CSN-MA) will broadcast the Tribe’s quarterfinal contest in a tape delay format at 11 p.m. on Saturday night, while SportsNet New York (SNY) will have it on tape delay at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 9. CAA.TV will simulcast all regional broadcasts for out of market views.