33 Kitwana Rhymer
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Senior center and tri-captain Kitwana Rhymer returns for his fifth season in the program, and third as UMass’ starting center...a third-team All-Atlantic 10 selection and the league’s Defensive Player of the Year as a junior, Rhymer will challenge for first team all-league honors in his final season...UMass’ top returning scorer (9.9 ppg) and rebounder (7.3 rpg) will be a cornerstone of Steve Lappas’ first Massachusetts team...enters his final season 374 points shy of becoming the school’s 35th career 1,000-point scorer and needs just 242 rebounds to crack the UMass top 10 in that category...one of only seven players in school history to record 100 career blocks, Rhymer’s 137 snuffs rank fifth on the all-time UMass list, and while first-place Marcus Camby’s total of 336 rejections is well out of reach, he needs just 89 blocks to move into second place...had off-season ankle surgery, but was fully recovered for UMass’ trip to Greece...on UMass’ four-game exhibition tour, Rhymer averaged 6.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, and recorded one double-figure scoring game...successfully met NCAA requirements to earn back his fourth season of eligibility...“Kit works very hard,” Lappas said. “He’s a tough kid, a great defender, and he’s going to be one of our main guys.”
As a Junior in 2000-2001
The Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year, Rhymer shared the league’s Most Improved Player award with teammate Micah Brand, earned third team all-league honors and was selected to the conference’s all-defensive team, too...the only Minuteman to start all 30 games, he was Massachusetts’ top rebounder (7.3 rpg) and shot-blocker (63), and second-best scorer (9.9 ppg)...ranked third on the team in minutes played (732), field goal (.505) and free throw (.687) percentage, and was fifth in assists (22)...averaged 10.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per outing against A-10 foes, while hitting 70.0 percent at the free throw line...selected to the 2001 Verizon Atlantic 10 Tournament all-championship team after averaging 13.7 points and 10.7 rebounds in UMass’ title game run...registered a career-high 30-point effort against Rhode Island in Amherst, the highest scoring game by a Minuteman in 2000-2001, and one of 14 double-figure games he produced...had team-best eight double-doubles (13 over his three-year career), nine double-figure rebounding efforts (20 over career) and grabbed five or more rebounds 21 times...top rebound effort was a 16-board performance in homecourt victory over George Washington...ranked second in the A-10 in blocks (2.10 bpg) and sixth (7.3 rpg) in rebounding for all games...tallied 63 blocks, a mark which equalled the ninth-best single-season effort in school history...had at least one block in 25 of 30 games, including 17 multiple-block games, and a high of five three times...grabbed 500th career rebound in UMass’ win at George Washington...earned A-10 Player of the Week and WHMP/UMass Athlete of the Week honors (Jan. 14-20) after averaging 17.0 points and 12.5 rebounds in UMass’ wins over Dayton and Duquesne...also earned the WHMP/UMass honor for the week of Jan. 1-7...played 30 or more minutes in 10 appearances...led team in blocks 20 times and rebounding on 15 occasions...recognized at UMass’ season-ending banquet as the team’s top defender and most productive player.
As a Sophomore in 1999-2000
Appeared in 33 games and drew 32 starts…led UMass in field goal percentage (.535) and blocked shots (53), while ranking third in free throw percentage (.676) and fourth in scoring (7.8 ppg)…ranked fifth in the A-10 in both rebounding and blocked shots…averaged 8.4 points and 7.6 rebounds against Atlantic 10 foes, and hit 51.8 percent from the field and 74.3 percent from the foul line, the later a mark which ranked 14th in the league…in the A-10 Tournament, he averaged 10 points and eight rebounds over three games, while connecting on 68.8 percent of his field goals…played career-high 39 minutes against Temple in the A-10 Tournament semifinals, and netted 12 points and pulled down four boards…played 30 or more minutes 13 times…had team-leading six double-doubles, including 16-point, 12-rebound effort against Siena in NIT first round...grabbed 10 or more rebounds 10 times, including a career-high 17 caroms at Connecticut…nine of his 17 boards vs. UConn came off the offensive glass as he recorded the highest rebound total for a UMass player since the 1997-1998 campaign…grabbed five or more rebounds 22 times…led team in blocked shots 19 times and rebounding 16 times…his then-career-high 19-point performance at Fordham was aided by a seven-of-eight shooting game from the floor…recorded 12 double-figure scoring games…had at least one block in 22 games, two or more rejections in 14 appearances, including a career-high six against Marshall.
As a Freshman in 1998-1999
The only newcomer to crack the UMass rotation on a regular basis over the season, Rhymer appeared in 29 games, after sitting out the 1997-1998 season due to academics…averaged 2.5 points and 2.7 rebounds per game, in only 9.4 minutes of action...connected on 54.8 percent of his field goal attempts...ranked third on the team in blocked shots with 21…had then-career highs of 10 rebounds and seven points, while also blocking two shots, against Boston College…pulled down seven rebounds at George Washington in a then-career-high 22 minutes of work…grabbed five or more rebounds five times and had three multiple-block games.
Played three years for Gary DeCesare at St. Raymond’s in the Bronx, N.Y., the same school that produced former UMass guard Charlton Clarke and forward Dana Dingle…averaged 10.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game as a senior…1997 All-Catholic High Athletic Association pick…helped St. Raymond’s to a 15-13 mark as a senior…member of the 1995 New York City championship team...signed with UMass in the fall of 1996 after considering St. John’s, Xavier, Cincinnati and Iona.
Born May 22, 1978, in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, Kitwana is the son of Joyelin Hendricks...played for the Virgin Islands national team two of the last four summers...Sociology major.