William and Mary basketball coach Tony Shaver knew he was losing starters Daniel Dixon and Omar Prewitt from last season’s team.
However, he didn’t expect Jack Whitman to join them.
Whitman, a 6-foot-9 center who had another season of eligibility remaining, told Shaver last month he plans to transfer. Whitman is scheduled to graduate in May, which would make him immediately eligible to play elsewhere.
Whitman averaged 10.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game last season — second and third, respectively, on the team. He shot 66 percent from the floor and was second on the team with 34 blocked shots.
“It threw us a little curveball, that’s for sure,” Shaver said. “One thing we do a great job of is keeping our guys on track to graduate. They value the education here, and Jack decided he wanted to graduate with his class. He was very close to those guys he came in with. And he wanted to have a new experience.”
Whitman was in the same recruiting class as Dixon and Prewitt, but redshirted his first year at W&M. He came off the bench in his first two seasons and became a starter in 2016-17.
Shaver didn’t have any specific reasons for Whitman’s decision, but hinted that the emergence of 6-10 Nathan Knight, who averaged 8.2 points a game and blocked 41 shots as a freshman, might have been a factor.
“Probably part of it was a very talented young player behind him,” Shaver said. “I can’t speak for that, but we have a young talented player who will fill in very well for us.”
Though Knight is returning, W&M has no depth in the post. Hunter Seacat, a 6-9 sophomore, transferred after being suspended prior to last season.
Both recruits who signed with the Tribe in the fall were guards. Shaver would like to add another post player in the spring signing period, but realizes the odds.
“We’re working on it,” Shaver said. “It’s obviously late in the game to be playing catch-up, but we’re looking at high school seniors and transfer situations as well.”
Johnson can be reached by phone at 757-247-4649.