WILLIAMSTOWN, MA — There's a lot to love about the 2012-13 Williams College men's basketball team.
But if coach Mike Maker's squad is going to get back to the postseason, the Ephs will need to continue to work hard, learn, and stay healthy.
"Chemistry, intelligence, and skill are our biggest strengths," Maker said. "I love our players and feel they have a lot of promise. Our goal is simply to put the team first, play to the best of our ability, and enjoy the journey. Hopefully by focusing on the process, we will be highly competitive in our league, regionally, and nationally."
Maker, who is back for his fifth season (93-22, .809), has four of his five top scorers returning from a squad which finished 17-8 in 2011-12. Senior co-captains Nate Robertson and James Klemm will be a formidable duo in the backcourt, while juniors Michael Mayer and Taylor Epley look to build on dynamic seasons from a year ago.
Robertson, the "straw that stirs the drink," returns for his final season for the Ephs. Over the past three years , Robertson's sound decision making and defensive prowess has helped lead Williams to back-to-back Final Fours ('10, '11). At the other guard spot, the sharpshooting Klemm provides veteran leadership and the ability to stretch the defense.
"I can't imagine a better combination in the backcourt than senior co-captains Nate Robertson and James Klemm," Maker said. "They complement one another very well and both are tremendous leaders. We're at our best when Nate has the ball in his hands and is making plays. He is very cerebral, has exceptional vision, and is ultra competitive. I think he's very special and one of the best players ever to play here. James is a prolific shooter who can also score the basketball. This makes him very difficult to guard. That combination should serve us well."
Junior center Mike Mayer will be a focal point for the Ephs after leading the team in scoring, rebounding, and offensive field goal percentage last season. "Michael is very skilled, has a high basketball IQ and exceptional footwork for a player his size." Maker said. "He plays like a guard, but he's 6-9. He has an array of moves around the goal and the ability to play on the perimeter. He will be a handful for opponents."
Versatile wing-forward Taylor Epley will provide the Ephs with another dangerous weapon after averaging double digits in scoring last year. The 6'5" southpaw looks to build upon a successful sophomore season as a feature in Maker's hybrid offense. "Taylor's best attributes are his toughness and versatility," adds Maker.
Athletic upperclassmen Parker McClelland and John Weinheimer join savvy sophomores Daniel Wohl and Ryan Kilcullen at the other wing-forward position. All four will vie for a starting spot and look to contribute meaningful minutes to this year's team. "Our staff has a lot of confidence in this foursome. We look forward to how they blend with our returning core. "
Down low, the athleticism and leaping ability of senior Sean Hoffman, along with talented sophmore Edward Flynn, will provide valuable depth at center. Similarily, at the guard spot, crafty junior Matt McCreary and first-years Luke Thoreson and Adam Harrell will compete for minutes off the bench in the backcourt.
Junior Greg Payton, a Williamstown native coming off the football field, will add depth on the wing for Maker.
"Our 1-2-3 have all played in big games and on the biggest stage and have had a lot of success doing it. I feel we have three marquee perimeter players and a premier post," Maker said. "That being said, we have a lot of work to do to make everyone at Williams proud of our effort, on and off the court."
Williams opens its own Tip-Off Tournament Friday with an 8 p.m. game against Southern Vermont College. The tournament concludes Saturday with games at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
April 2, 2013 Mike Maker finalist for D3's Glenn Robinson Award
March 29, 2013 Mike Mayer Named to D3Hoops.Com All-America Third Team
March 19, 2013 A Team, A Town, A Tradition and A Night for the Community
March 19, 2013 Ephs head to Salem to take on No. 1 St. Thomas in Elite 8
March 18, 2013 Mike Mayer named NABC First Team All-District
March 18, 2013 National Quarterfinal Men’s Basketball Tickets in Salem, VA
March 9, 2013 Ephs defeat Catholic 89-78 in NCAA Second Round
March 8, 2013 Ephs prepared for NCAA 2nd Round match-up with Catholic
March 5, 2013 Ephs' Michael Mayer One of 10 Jostens Trophy Finalists
February 27, 2013 Ephs' Michael Mayer and Taylor Epley earn All-NESCAC honors
February 24, 2013 Amherst tops Ephs 74-73 in NESCAC championship
February 23, 2013 Ephs advance to NESCAC championship with overtime win
February 10, 2013 Rival Amherst hands Ephs first NESCAC loss, 65-48
February 4, 2013 TONIGHT (2/4) Mike Maker on Hoopsville at 7:30 PM
February 2, 2013 Ephs defeat Bowdoin in overtime, 76-64
February 1, 2013 Ephs survive Colby 64-61
January 29, 2013 Ephs defeat Southern Vermont 93-45
January 26, 2013 Wohl finishes late as Ephs hand Middlebury first loss, 64-63
January 23, 2013 Amherst upsets Ephs 83-67
January 20, 2013 Ephs rally for 67-59 road win at Hamilton
January 16, 2013 Men’s Hoops Jumps 8 Spots to #10 in D3hoops.com Poll
January 15, 2013 Ephs defeat Lyndon State 90-59
January 12, 2013 Epley's 27 points lift Ephs over Connecticut 96-63
January 11, 2013 Ephs defeat Wesleyan 74-65 behind 22-0 run to end first half
January 5, 2013 Ephs survive late rally to defeat Bates 80-69
January 4, 2013 Ephs score first NESCAC win over Tufts, 83-68
December 31, 2012 Taylor Epley Named NESCAC Men's Basketball Player of the Week
December 30, 2012 Ephs topple Luther College in OT, 78-72
December 8, 2012 Ephs down Springfield 84-69
December 5, 2012 Maker earns 100th win as Ephs defeat Castleton 96-52
December 4, 2012 Mayer's double double lifts Ephs over Curry 97-93
December 1, 2012 Stevens hands Ephs first loss of year with 75-69 comeback win
November 27, 2012 Ephs top RPI 105-60
November 25, 2012 Strong Second Half Sends Ephs past MCLA, 102-78
November 20, 2012 Mike Mayer Named NESCAC Men's Basketball Player of the Week
November 20, 2012 Ephs score Little 3 win over Wesleyan, 56-48
November 17, 2012 Ephs win Tip-Off Tournament 91-61 over Salem State
November 16, 2012 Ephs win opener 81-51
November 15, 2012 Men's Basketball Season Outlook, 2012-13
November 13, 2012 James Wang ’12 Playing Professionally in Taiwan This Season