Marcus Thornton named 2015 CAA Player of the Year

Marcus POY Pic


What a fitting finish to this year’s regular season that saw the Tribe finish as the top team in the CAA for the first time in program history. William & Mary is just two days away from the CAA tournament in Baltimore, MD and it sure is an exciting time to be a Tribe fan!

At the beginning of the season, Marcus was recognized as the Preseason CAA Player of the Year, joining Adam Hess (2004) as the only other Tribe player in program history to receive that honor. This season, Thornton has more than lived up to the hype and confirmed his preseason selection.

Marcus was consistently double-teamed all season, game planned for, and had constantly hands in his face for multiple shots per game. None of this mattered, as Thornton would thrive, even under the immense pressure–averaging nearly 20 points per game.

Impressively, NBA scouts followed Marcus wherever he went, in places such as Elon, Hofstra, Northeastern, Delaware, and even in Williamsburg. Billy Donovan, head coach of the Florida Gators, stated that Marcus might be the best guard they see all season. That is high praise coming from an SEC coach who just so happens to play against an (undefeated) Kentucky squad a couple times a year.

All this attention, in combination with the added pressure of W&M having never qualified for the NCAA tournament, is enough to throw anybody off their game. However, as Marcus always does, he was calm, cool, and collected all season long. He focused on his game, not the media–and he thrived.

Head Coach Tony Shaver said this season that Marcus is the hardest worker that he has ever coached, and it isn’t even close. We hear it every time the Tribe is on TV, that Marcus is always the first player on the court, hours before the game even begins. He truly is a gym rat who motivates those around him to be the best player possible; one can routinely find him shooting extra baskets for hours in Kaplan Arena during the school week. Don’t believe us? Just ask anyone who works for Tribe Athletics in Kaplan, and they will undoubtedly say the same.

All that extra practice has more than paid off, as Marcus ended the regular season averaging 19.4 points per game–which is the most he has ever averaged, and good for 21st in all of NCAA basketball. Thornton also carried a 46% shooting percentage, the best of his career. Again, this statistic is stunning considering all the double teams he accumulated this season.

Perhaps the highlight of his career came when Marcus passed Tribe great Chet Giermak (’50) to become William and Mary’s all time leading scorer. Giermak, now 87 years old, set the bar high when he walked on to the team and tallied 2,052 points during his illustrious career in Williamsburg. Giermak’s scoring record went untouched for an incredible 65 years–the longest active record in all of Division I basketball up to this point. Marcus broke the record in the game against Towson, and it culminated in one of the most memorable moments in Tribe hoops history.

Relive the moment here:

Marcus has this Tribe team in their best position ever to make the NCAA tournament (knock on wood), as the team has locked up the #1 seed in the CAA tournament. But at the very least, the Tribe has an automatic NIT bid. It would be just the third time in program history that the team has reached the NIT. But we know that the team has their sites set on a much bigger tournament.

In the end, Marcus Thornton has more than earned this great honor. He has led the Tribe to their first regular season CAA championship, and has broken Chet Giermak’s scoring record, the oldest standing record in Division I basketball history. It has been an absolute joy to watch Marcus progress from a Freshman averaging 11 points per game to the CAA Player of the Year, averaging 19 points per game.

Marcus is a baller and a scholar; he remains humble in the process. He is the epitome of a William and Mary student athlete, and we couldn’t be happier that he received this honor. Marcus will likely brush the reward aside because he has bigger things on his mind and because that is the type of person that he is–but we know it has to mean a lot to him. These next 4 days will be the biggest of his career, as the entire Tribe team attempts to break another streak and lead the Tribe to the coveted NCAA tournament for the first time in school history.

Other Tribe Players with CAA Honors

Marcus Thornton needed a strong supporting cast around him in order to bring the Tribe to the #1 spot in the CAA. Who are they?

2nd Team All-CAA & CAA Defense Player of the Year & CAA All-Defensive TeamTerry Tarpey (12 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 3.2 AST, 1.4 BLK) — Terry has been a stat stuffer all year, and one of the best all around players for the Tribe. This is more than deserved.

Tarpey Defensive POY pic3rd Team All-CAAOmar Prewitt (13.0 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 2.7 APG) — After a slightly cold start, Omar has come on fire this season. His scoring, along with Thornton and Dixon’s, give opposing team fits game in and game out.

Dean Ehler’s Leadership Award: Tom Schalk — Tom Schalk has been one of the very best stories so far this season. After recieving little to no playing time his first three years, the Senior has contributed significantly this season–especially on the offensive end of the court where he has great vision. The Dean Ehler’s Award is given to players who are leaders off the court, who also excel in the classroom. Very proud of Schalk.

CAA All-Academic TeamTom Schalk & Michael Schlotman

Vote below and let us know how you think the Tribe will fare in the CAA tournament below!


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