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Will Landry - Wheaton

















Last Season, Wheaton College(IL) went 16-9, and finished 4th in the CCIW.  6'5" forward Will Landry, out of Poughkeepsie, NY played a big part in the teams success.  He averaged 10 points and 6 board a game, while starting all 25 of the team's games.

1)    Will, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions.  Before we begin, some of our readers may not know about Wheaton College.  Could you tell us a little bit about the school, and both its academic and athletic reputation?
   Wheaton College, located in Chicago's western suburbs, is a liberal arts college focused on its commitment, as the College Mission states, "to do all things 'For Christ and His Kingdom'." Academically, it has a national reputation, and many of the athletic programs do too.

  2)    You're from Poughkeepsie, NY.  How did you end up playing ball in Illinois?  What other colleges did you consider going to out of high school?
   It had been my childhood dream to attend Princeton or Harvard, but when my senior year of high school arrived, I decided to focus my search to strictly Christian schools. With that decision made, Wheaton was the frontrunner since it is widely considered the most academically rigorous Christian college, and it has a very good basketball program at the D3 level. In the end, my decision came down to choosing either Wheaton or Messiah College (Pa.), but Wheaton simply seemed a better fit.

  3)    Could you tell us a little bit about your hoops career before college?
   I played four years of varsity ball at Arlington High School, the last three as a starter and an All-Section selection. Personally, my biggest accomplishments there were amassing just over 1200 rebounds, and winning     the Dutchess County academic player of the year award.
   Outside of high school ball, I was twice a member of the Hudson Valley scholastic team for New York's Empire State Games. As for AAU, I first played for St. Pats out of Monroe, NY, and finished top 20 at nationals. The summer before my senior year, I was involved with the Nike-sponsored Albany City Rocks, which was an awesome experience. Who wouldn't want to travel the country and play against future NBA players? I'll always be able to tell my kids that I blocked an NBA player's dunk, though I might conveniently forget to mention I got called for a foul!

  4)    The CCIW(College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin) is an extremely competitive league, with top teams like Carthage and Illinois Wesleyan, and also some of the best fan support in the country.  Do you get pumped up playing before big crowds? Also, do you guys have one rival team that everyone gets especially ready for?
   It's always better to play for big crowds. In fact, it's a lot easier; there's probably nothing harder than trying to mentally pump myself up to play in front of just a handful of people. What makes it more difficult is the tendency for a team's ability and crowd attendance to be directly proportional. Though it's not true in every case, the better teams naturally have a lot of fans, so it's easier to get pumped up. However, teams that aren't doing so well usually don't draw as well, and that's when it becomes hard to focus.

   Fortunately, Wheaton home games are usually played in front of a good crowd - I think that in the last dozen years, Wheaton has been in the top ten for D3 attendance ten times, and was eleventh another time.
   As for our biggest rival, there's absolutely no doubt about that one: Illinois Wesleyan. For much of the 90s, it was one of us at the CCIW's top, so the modern rivalry is rooted in some very good competition. In fact, a couple of years ago, the two teams were #1 and #2 in the country when they faced off.
  5)    Do you think returning almost all of the team's leading players, except former captain John Helm, will be able to put the Thunder at the top of the CCIW this season?
   Unfortunately, I wish I could say we only lost John Helm. John Carl Williams, our starting center for a majority of the season, also graduated, and Kevin Blomstrom, our leading scorer and rebounder, transferred to Westmont College. That doesn't hamper my hopes for this season though, because we still have a strong nucleus, a quality incoming class, and the possibility of a high-impact player making a comeback. If things go well and this year's group of guys gel, both on and off the court, like last year, I think we might surprise some people once again.

  6)    Is there any one game that sticks out in your mind as being your best performance of last season?  Could you tell us what made it so special.
   Our game against Wittenberg was the game that sticks out in my mind. I had 13 of my 19 points in the second half, and hit two free throws with nineteen seconds left to clinch the victory. It was the championship game of our very own Lee Pfund Classic - a two-game, season-opening tournament. Coach Pfund (most wins for a Wheaton basketball coach, and coach of our national championship team in 1957) was there, and no one on our team had won the tournament; the last time Wheaton won was the year before Helm's class came. To see the smile on Coach Pfund's face as he handed Helm the team trophy, knowing the senior class won the tournament once, and making the all-tournament team was a great feeling.

  7)    What about this years incoming class?  Do you know anything about the new players?  Got a chance to play with them?
   From what I've heard and seen, our incomers could contribute straight from the start. Three true freshmen guards and one transfer forward are coming. Though I can't accurately predict how much of a varsity contribution each one will make this season, I've played with the three guards, and they should make an impact in the next few years.
  8)    Wheaton is considered one of the top Liberal Arts Colleges in the country, how hard is it to balance your time in a challenging academic environment?
   I've always been a person to take on a lot - in high school, I used to run track as well as play travel soccer and AAU basketball during the spring - so balancing my time has never been excessively difficult. The transition from high school to college was a smooth one, and I thank my high school teachers for that. Though the balancing act was something I didn't need to develop once I got to college, it certainly has been a continued practice in personal discipline. Even though basketball takes up a lot of time, I honestly allocate my time more wisely when I have less to allocate.

  9)  Is there anything special you'd like to tell Wheaton fans, or hoops fans in general?
   To any Wheaties who may read this: Be sure to check us out early and often this year! And Specifically to the football team: you guys rocked the stands last year. I can't wait to see and hear what you come up with this year!
   To the posters in the CCIW section of the forums: If any of you read this, thanks for adding an alternate scene to the league. You're conversation certainly keeps things interesting all year round. I hope I haven't said anything here that might cause a heated discussion!
   CollegeHoopsNet: Thanks for not neglecting the small colleges! My best wishes to your website and staff. 
   Everyone else: Don't forget to support your small-ball teams. There's a lot of quality basketball being played throughout the country, and it's not necessarily restricted to the professional or D1 level. We may not be playing for scholarship, but there are many of us who could have, and the love of the game is deep within us all. Take the time to check out Wheaton at some time and tune in to one of our games over the internet if you get the chance!







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