Coming off the Bench: 2016 Players Analysis

Bench Players Compilation
The Tribe’s bench looks strong and deep this season. It’s time to get to know who these players are. [team photos: tribeathletics.com]
We continue our two-part “Looking WAY Ahead” series with an analysis of the 2016 William & Mary Tribe basketball bench players. If you missed last week’s edition, analyzing the starters, you can check it out here. Now, typically when one refers to a player as a “bench player,” it seemingly belittles them as a player. Well, we’re here to tell you that couldn’t be further from the truth.

William & Mary’s depth was stellar last season, especially as its bench came alive during the CAA Tournament. And this coming season will be no different. The Green and Gold boasts players with a wide range of talents that will surely be utilized by Head Coach Tony Shaver in 2016. So who are these players, and what will they offer the Tribe next season? Let’s find out.

Off the Bench

#21 Oliver Tot, Junior, Guard (6’6”, 200): During his freshman campaign, we were wowed by Tot’s ball-handling ability and incredible court vision. However, Tot struggled last year after sustaining an early-season injury. We just weren’t seeing the player we came to know and love during his freshman year. Simply put, he looked out of place. However, Tot caught steam over the last couple weeks of the season, as his play vastly improved. In a sudden turn of events, Coach Tony Shaver, in the most important two-game stretch of the season, granted Tot 16 minutes vs. JMU and 11 minutes vs. Hofstra in the CAA Tournament; Tot did not disappoint. In the game vs. JMU, he contributed mightily off the bench with a 3 point shot, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. Tot’s strong finish likely solidifies him as the first one off the bench in 2016. At his peak, Tot’s an all-around, playmaking guard who can hit the occasional big shot. Much will be expected of the Tribe’s newest sixth man in 2016, and we believe he will thrive in the role.

#10 Connor Burchfield, Junior, Guard (6’4”, 175): One of the best stories of the 2016 season was undoubtedly Connor Burchfield. As a player who saw limited minutes his freshman year, Burchfield proved himself as the go-to three point shooter for the Tribe last season. He was consistently the second or third player subbed in last season, and for good reason. To note a few of his notable performances, he finished with 19 pts vs. Howard, 14 pts. vs Central Michigan, 20 pts. vs. Elon, 18 pts. vs. Delaware, and 11 pts. vs JMU in the CAA Tournament. The vast majority of these point totals came from beyond the arc, where he LED THE NATION in three point shooting percentage (56.3% on 71 attempts). Don’t believe us? You can check ESPN here to confirm. Even more will be expected from Burchfield next year–we would like to see him develop a dribble drive and an ability to drain 2-point jumpers. An extra 20 pounds or so wouldn’t hurt either, but one thing is for certain: Connor Burchfield will be a big part of the Tribe’s 2016 season.

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We’re expecing huge things out of these two junior guards next year: #10 Connor Burchfield and #21 Oliver Tot. [photo: tribeathletics.com]
#50 Hunter Seacat, Sophomore, Forward (6’9″, 235): Hunter Seacat had an up and down freshman campaign in the Tribe’s 2015 season, but undoubtedly showed potential. In what was Seacat’s best two-game stretch of the season vs. Hofstra and Towson, he showed flashes of what he can do for this Tribe team. Against Hofstra, he went 4-5 while tallying 8 pts. and 5 rebounds. The very next game vs. Towson, he went 2-2 for 5 pts. and 1 rebound. Seacat was very efficient in these games and proved that he can contribute on both ends of the floor. However, after these two games, his minutes slowly diminished, as he didn’t play at all over the last four games of the season, including in the CAA Tournament. In 2016, Seacat will likely serve as the primary backup to Jack Whitman, and will consistently be one of the first players subbed in each game. Our hopes for Seacat in 2016 will be for him to add muscle to his frame in the offseason, develop a consistent post game, and contribute significant minutes at the big man position coming off the bench.

#11 Michael Schlotman, Redshirt Junior, Guard (6’4”, 195): To say that 2016 was a disappointing experience for Schlotman might be an understatement. Coach Shaver started out the year providing Schlotman loads of minutes during out-of-conference play, topping out at 21 minutes vs. Liberty.  As one of the best ball-handlers on the team, Schlotman was able to consistently handle the ball, rack up some assists, and keep the offense flowing. However, as in his freshman season, he just couldn’t find a way to get the ball in the hoop himself. Through the first 10 games of the season, he averaged just 1 point per game. From the beginning of CAA play and onward, Schlotman saw his playing time drastically diminish, as he did not play in the last four games of the season. In 2016, there’s still plenty of room for Schlotman to make a name for himself as the #3 point guard behind David Cohn and Oliver Tot–a strong offseason would do wonders. Don’t be surprised to see Schlotman back in the mix next season.

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After a down 2015 season, Michael Schlotman will need a strong offseason to force himself back to the court. [photo: tribeathletics.com]
#22 Paul Rowley, Redshirt Sophomore, Forward (6’8″, 200): After sitting out a year to redshirt, Rowley saw his first minutes in collegiate basketball. While he didn’t play much (just 22 minutes the whole year), it’s interesting to note that when he did get in, he was jacking up threes. In the 22 total minutes that he played, he put up 8 threes–that’s almost equivalent to shooting a three point shot every two minutes he played! While this is obviously an incredibly small sample size, it is nonetheless interesting to see a 6’8″ Tribe player consistently putting up that many threes as a percentage of his overall playing time. In 2016, look for Rowley to develop his overall game and contribute off the bench.

#1 Jamison Glover, Junior, Guard (6’0”, 185): Still one of our favorite players on the team, the 6’0″ guard out of Haymarket, VA gave 200% each time he stepped on the court. What impresses us the most is that when he’s out there (just 19 minutes in the 2015 season), is that he truly isn’t afraid to put up shots. In just 4 minutes of cleanup time vs. Mary Washington, he notched 5 points. Similarly, in just 4 minutes vs. Washington Adventist, he notched 5 points. Beyond his play on the court, Jamison is a true team player. He’s always the first one to get up on the bench when a big shot is made to cheer his teammates on. He’s also the player that greets each player with a unique handshake when the starting five are announced. He’s truly a consummate professional that we love having on the team. Put him in!

knight pierce
To say we’re excited for these two Freshmen would be an understatement.

Incoming Freshmen

Nate Knight, Freshman, Forward (6’9″, 255): Nate Night is a 6’9″ 255 pound Power Forward from Syracuse, New York. On paper, he’s one of the most impressive Tribe recruits in quite some time (outside of Marcus Thornton). He began his high school career at Nottingham High in Syracuse before transferring to Kimball Union–a New England prep school where he went to improve his game and prepare academically for college. Knight reportedly held offers from over 20 schools, including several CAA teams, such as JMU and Drexel. He is a left-handed shooter who can shoot the outside jump shot. But he is still very raw at this stage in his career; you can check out one of his highlight reels below. Over the next four years, we’re hoping that Knight can develop his game and give the Tribe a big man presence it has lacked for years. It will be interesting to see how many minutes, if any, Knight steals from Hunter Seacat in 2016; time will tell how long it will take for him to develop, but we’re excited to watch him play when he does.

Justin Pierce, Freshman, Guard (6’6″, 205): Joining Knight as a freshman in 2016 will be Justin Pierce, an incoming shooting guard from Illinois. Pierce looks like a man among boys in his highlight reel, who not only shows his ability to get to the rim and slam it home, but also shows his ability to shoot from way outside. According to tribeathletics.com, Pierce is “Ranked ninth in Illinois in the class of 2016 by Prep Hoops Illinois and the No. 3 shooting guard in the state; he Chose W&M from a group of 14 offers, including Toledo, Belmont and Boston University,” and oh yeah, we forgot to mention, he “owns a 4.9 grade point average (out of 5.0 scale).” Sounds like he was born and bred to be a member of the Green and Gold. Pierce may find the floor his freshman year, but again, time will tell.

Conclusion: Overall, the Tribe is more than loaded for the 2016 season. Don’t be surprised if W&M garners a top three or at least a top four preseason CAA ranking. The team has the tools at all levels to get it done, from the starters and bench players all the way up to the head coach. Will this finally be the year? LET’S GO TRIBE!!!

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