Team preview: William & Mary

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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)

Musician Bruce Hornsby hails from Williamsburg, the home of the Tribe, but it only seems like so many of the piano maestro's most popular songs are odes written to his beloved basketball team.

The Tribe won four of its first five games last season and stood at 5-4 before getting into the meat of its schedule, dropping 16 of its final 19 games to finish 8-20. Though the ending of the regular season seemed to be "The Way It Is" for a program that annually finishes near the bottom of the CAA standings, William & Mary gave VCU all it could handle in the opening round of the CAA Tournament before falling, 62-59. The Tribe had two opportunities in the waning seconds to tie the game with a three, but neither shot fell.

Still it was a young team, and the Tribe always played hard for head coach Tony Shaver. There was reason to be optimistic it was turning a corner. A trio of young big men played solid basketball throughout the late stages of the season, and William & Mary could count on CAA level guards to keep it in games. However "The End of the Innocence" came when star freshman point-guard Calvin Baker (11.6 ppg, 3.6 apg), a CAA All-Rookie selection who led the Tribe in scoring and assists, announced in May he was transferring up Interstate 64 to Virginia to walk on in hopes of playing in the ACC.

But even with Baker's departure and the loss of three minutes-eating seniors, there's talent in Williamsburg. Shaver can count on a veteran post player and one of the Tribe's better recruiting classes to keep the team moving in the right direction. What's more, the Tribe will be more difficult to defend without Baker, whose 333 shot attempts were 131 more than anyone else on the squad. He hit just 32 percent of those shots.