- Tribe freshman show promise
- Britt has team-high 15 points
- Rusthoven has eight rebounds
Judging by Thursday night's performance, the future is young, but bright.
Freshman guard Brandon Britt led the Tribe (4-5) with 15 points and freshman forward Tim Rusthoven had a team-high eight rebounds and 11 points as William and Mary cruised past Shenandoah 72-44.
"They're going to be really great players," said sophomore forward Kyle Gaillard, who had 11 points and five rebounds. "From the minute they got here, I've been excited about what they're going to be able to do for this program. Brandon, he's one of the quickest guys I've seen, and he's really an up-tempo guy. And Tim, with his long arms, he's always a big presence in the post. Right now, they're even contributing a lot, and I'm excited to see what they're going to do down the road."
A play from Britt, a 6-foot-1 guard from Atlantic Shores Christian in Chesapeake, late in the second half summed up the potential and the problems. Running the break with self-possession and speed, he drove the lane and drew a blocking foul - and then missed both free throws as part of his 5-of-10 performance at the foul line.
"I love to get contact and get to the free-throw line," said Britt, who was 4-of-10 from the floor and 2-of-6 from 3-point range. "Unfortunately I missed five three throws, so I've got to work on that, but my speed, I think, is a big thing, especially for this team. I'm definitely one of the fastest players on the team."
Britt is getting back to full speed after breaking his wrist a few weeks before the season started. The injury didn't require surgery, and he said he feels fine now.
Rusthoven, a 6-9 forward from Wheaton Academy in Winfield, Ill., showed tenacity on the offensive and defensive boards, tipping out rebounds to teammates if he couldn't corral them, but was also whistled for two illegal screens in the first half.
"Tim has been the most solid of that freshman class," Tribe coach Tony Shaver said. "Tim's very good at all phases of the game. He's one of our better defenders. Great feel for the game. He's got great touch and great feel. You play eight games with so many young players and so many new faces, you've got to figure out your rotations, and one thing we figured out is, Tim Rusthoven's gotta play.
'And Brandon's coming around. So many people forget he's a freshman and also forget that he missed three to four weeks with a broken wrist. He's a young guy that expects a lot out of himself. One of his worst traits is he gets down on himself too quickly, because he's used to being so successful. But he'll battle through these freshman situations, and he has an explosiveness that could be valuable to our team."
Youth showed in other ways, too. After making a 3-pointer in the final seconds of the first half, Britt took a seat further down the bench from the space cleared for him next to the coaches. With his mistake pointed out and a grin on his face, Britt moved down the pine to receive a few extra moments of instruction.
"I definitely think we can be a real good basketball team," Britt said. "Tonight, we didn't play great. We showed stretches of where, when we run our stuff, we can be really good. But I really think we can compete in our league. It's a tough league. We got young players, but we got good players."