Junior Will Hanley has become the face of Bowdoin basketball. After leading the men's team to an 11-2 record over the first 13 games of the year, he continues to lead the team statistically and recently helped the Polar Bears secure a spot in the NESCAC tournament.
After four straight losses, Hanley propelled the team to a 72-71 win over Wesleyan last Saturday that secured the Polar Bears the final NESCAC spot. He had a team-leading 22 points and 13 rebounds, and became the 21st basketball player in Bowdoin history to reach the 1,000-point plateau.
"Scoring my 1,000th point is a great individual achievement," he said. "I came up just short of 1,000 in high school, so it's good to get it in college."
Hanley is also now one of only 10 Polar Bears to have accumulated 1,000 points and 500 rebounds over his career, and he still has another year to play.
With 465 points this season, he is four away from cracking the top 10 for a single-season total in school history, and he is currently seventh all-time in rebounds in a single season, with 252—a list on which his 225 boards from last year rank ninth.
Through last weekend, Hanley was 34th in D-III in scoring at 20.2 points per game and 19th in the division with 11 rebounds per game. With those numbers, Hanley is leading the NESCAC in points and is second in rebounds. He is also fourth in the conference with 1.70 blocks per game, and is seventh among qualifying players with a .532 field goal percentage. He is third for Bowdoin with 3.1 assists per game, has led the team in points in 17 of its 23 games, and has had the most rebounds in 20 of those.
Earlier in the season, Hanley was honored with NESCAC Player of the Week honors.
After averaging 13.8 points and 9.0 rebounds per game last year, Hanley has stepped up his game significantly this year. While he feels as though he has not changed much over the season, both his scoring and rebounding rates have increased steadily.
The toughest, however, is still to come. After losing to Williams at home 85-66 earlier this month, Bowdoin is traveling to Wiliamstown for a first-round NESCAC playoff game.
"Winning this weekend at Williams would be huge," he said. "We have had a rough spell through our second semester games, but if we win this weekend, that would be a huge boost for our season."
Williams is the number one seed in the tournament and has not lost a NESCAC game in two years, so if they want to win, the eighth-seeded Polar Bears have their work cut out for them.
In order to make it to the D-III tournament Bowdoin would likely need to win the NESCAC, going through a tough road to the finals.
"But," Hanley said, "it is something that has been a goal from the beginning so it definitely is something we feel we can accomplish."