Marcus Thornton Named CAA Player of the Year; Terry Tarpey Selected Defensive Player of the Year

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Courtesy TribeAthletics.com
Courtesy TribeAthletics.com

BALTIMORE, Md. — First Colonial Athletic Association regular season championship in 17 years. First No. 1 seed in the CAA Tournament in school history.

Add first CAA Player of the Year, first CAA Defensive Player of the Year and first time with three all-league players to the list as the William & Mary men’s basketball team dominated the CAA awards, including the major honors, released by the league on Thursday night.

Senior guard Marcus Thornton became the first W&M player be named the CAA Player of the Year, while junior wing Terry Tarpey was selected as the CAA Defensive Player of the Year.

Along with the player of the year awards, senior Tom Schalk took home the CAA’s most prestigious honor in the Dean Ehlers Leadership Award, marking the fifth time in the last six years that a Tribe player won the accolade.

The Tribe placed a league-high three players on the All-CAA teams. Thornton was named to the All-CAA First Team for the second straight season, becoming only the second Tribe player to earn top honors twice.

Tarpey garnered the first all-league nod of his career with a spot on the second team, while sophomore Omar Prewitt was named to the All-CAA Third Team after being the league’s rookie of the year a season ago.

W&M placed two players, Schalk and redshirt freshman Michael Schlotman, among the 15 on the CAA All-Academic Team. The Green and Gold was one of four teams in the league to have multiple players on the All-Academic team.

Thornton ranks second in the CAA and 22nd nationally at 19.4 points per game and has scored doubles figures in a league-best 35 straight games. He is just the third Green and Gold player to earned conference player of the year accolades, joining Jeff Cohen (1961) and Tom Jasper (1971), who were both named Southern Conference Player of the Year.

Thornton became W&M’s all-time leading scorer on Feb. 25, surpassing the oldest Division I scoring record in the country held by Chet Giermak since 1950. Thornton’s 2,081 points rank 11th in CAA history. He also set a W&M school record with 308 career 3-pointers, which is fifth in CAA annals. Thornton is among the national leaders for the third straight years in 3-pointers made per game (21st at 2.9) and 3-point percentage (35th at 40.9).

Earlier this season, he was named one of 16 finalists for the Jerry West Award, given to the top Division I shooting guard in the country. The Upper Marlboro, Md., native was also a member of the preseason and midseason watch lists for the Lou Henson Award, given to the Mid-Major Player of the Year by CollegeInsider.com.

Tarpey is the first W&M player to earned CAA Defensive Player of the Year honors and coupled with Thornton’s player of the year award, it marks the fifth time in CAA history that a team had both the player of the year and defensive player of the year in the same season. He leads the CAA in rebounding (8.4), defensive rebounding (7.3), blocked shots (1.4) and steals (1.8).

Tarpey is the only player in the country to lead his league in rebounding, blocked shots and steals. He is also the only player in the country averaging at least 10 points, eight rebounds, three assists, one blocked shot and one steal per game.

Along with being the first Defensive Player of the Year in program history, he became the first W&M player since Jimmy Moran in 2000 to be named to the CAA All-Defensive Team. Tarpey, who averaged 12 points per game this season, increased his averages to 14.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per game in CAA play on his way to earning second-team all-league distinction.

Prewitt earned all-league honors for the first time in his career as a member of the third team. He ranks second on the team and 12th in the CAA in scoring at 13 points per game. The Mount Sterling, Ky., native also ranks among the CAA leaders in assists (12th at 2.7), field goal percentage (seventh at 45.8), blocked shots (10th at 0.9) and steals (14th at 1.1).

He has been even better in CAA play, averaging 14.6 points and 4.4 rebounds per game, while shooting 47.9 percent from the field, 36.6 percent from 3-point range and 79.4 percent from the free throw line. Prewitt owns four 20-point games this season, including a career-high 30 points at Delaware on Jan. 21.

Schalk joined David Schneider ’10, Quinn McDowell ’12 and Tim Rusthoven ’14 as W&M student-athletes to take home the Dean Ehlers Leadership Award. 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.”

Schalk owns a stellar GPA of better than 3.5 while majoring in accounting and has already been accepted to graduate school in W&M’s Masters in Accounting program next fall. He was selected for an internship program with PricewaterhouseCoopers. A member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Schalk was chosen to represent the College in the 2014 Grant Thornton Program for emerging leaders.

Schalk is involved with the Williamsburg Community Chapel where he works with local teens leading bible study groups and mentoring. On the court, he has played a key role in the post for W&M this season, averaging nearly five points and three rebounds per game while also contributing 15 blocked shots. Earlier this season, Schalk scored a career-high 13 points in a victory at UNCW on Feb. 7, including the game-winning bucket off an offensive rebound.

Joining Schalk on the CAA All-Academic Team was Schlotman, who earned the honor for the first time in his first year of eligibility. Schlotman, who has appeared in 22 games with a start this season, is a business major and was a Provost Award winner as a freshman last season. Under head coach Tony Shaver, the Tribe has had 38 CAA All-Academic team honorees, the most in the CAA since 2004.

Northeastern’s Scott Eatheron, Juan’ya Green of Hofstra, Drexel’s Damion Lee and Addison Spruill of UNCW rounded out the All-CAA First Team long with Thornton.

Joining Tarpey on the second team were JMU’s Ron Curry, Freddie Jackson of UNCW, Hofstra’s Ameen Tanksley and David Walker of Northeastern. The third team included Kyle Anderson of Delaware, Elon’s Elijah Bryant, Yohanny Dalembert of JMU and Towson’s John Davis along with Prewitt. UNCW head coach Kevin Keatts was named the CAA Coach of the Year, while Bryant was selected as the league’s rookie of the year.

As the CAA regular season champions, the Tribe is the No. 1 seed in the CAA Tournament for the first time in school history. W&M will face the winner of No. 8 seed Elon and No. 9 seed Towson in the quarterfinals on Saturday. Tip-off is slated for noon from the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, Md.

Click here for the official Tribe CAA Championship Fan Guide with all the information needed for those traveling to Baltimore.

The game will be televised regionally on Comcast SportsNet and be simulcast on CAA.TV. The web broadcast is subject to blackout in restricted areas.

Fans can also listen in over the Tribe Radio Network with Jay Colley, Charlie Woollum and Bill McDonald on the call. The Tide 92.3 FM and 107.9 Bach FM are the flagship stations of the Tribe Radio Network and the broadcast will be available online at TribeAthletics.com.