Men's Basketball Season Outlook, 2012-13

Nate Robertson '13
Nate Robertson '13

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.

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