Shaver returns home to face HPU

Nov. 17, 2012 @ 12:16 AM

HIGH POINT – William & Mary basketball coach Tony Shaver grew up only a couple of blocks from what was then High Point College.
He remembers as a youth going onto the HPC campus and watching the Panthers play back in the days of Gene Littles. He remembers as a student at High Point Central, walking a path from his house to watch the Bison play at then Albion-Millis Stadium, now Vert Stadium where High Point University plays soccer.
Shaver, who graduated from Central in 1972 and went on to play at North Carolina, comes back to the old neighborhood for a homecoming like no other when his 2-0 Tribe faces 2-0 HPU at 7 p.m. in the Millis Center. It will be the first time coaching against HPU for Shaver, who was on the bench at Hampden-Sydney before moving on to William & Mary in 2003.
He admits he wouldn’t mind a little less conspicuous return.
“I have an assistant who handles our scheduling and don’t know exactly how the contact with HPU was made,” Shaver said. “I have some reservations playing this game because High Point remains a special place for me. I have family there and I still keep in touch with some of my high school buddies and you always want to do well in front of them. In some ways. I just wish I would be coming home to go to my mother’s house for Thanksgiving or Christmas.”
The game is part of a home-and-home series that will have HPU going to William & Mary during the 2013-14 season.
“I’m excited to be playing this game but I’m also uptight about it, especially the way that High Point has been playing this year,” Shaver said.
The Tribe will most likely try to control tempo in an effort to slow the Panthers, who used their speed, athleticism and defense to build a 30-point lead while running Appalachian State out of its arena on Tuesday night.
“I’m sure High Point will want to play at a fast pace,: Shaver said. “So, we’re going to try to play at our pace.”
Shaver’s squad defeated Hampton and Liberty. The Tribe went just 6-26 last season as two starters were sidelined by injury for the whole campaign and another missed a third of the season.
Shaver expected his team to have a balanced attack. Marcus Thornton, a 6-4 sophomore guard who started 14 games last season, averaged 11 points last season as the leading returning scorer. Returning starters include 6-9 center Tim Rusthoven (10 points, 6.6 rebounds per game last season), junior guard Brandon Britt (9 points per game last year) and senior guard Matt Rum (6.3 points).
Britt (19 ppg), Thornton (17.5 ppg) and Rusthoven (16.5 ppg) are the top three scorers this season so far.