By MICHAEL LETENDRE
Landin Rutledge was a three-year starter for the Bristol Central boys basketball team and after graduating in 2015, the 6-foot-6 forward/center had some choices to make.
In terms of athletics, Rutledge found himself a home at Pine Manor College, a NCAA Division III program in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts and very quickly, Rutledge found himself in the starting line-up and has been a pleasant surprise for the Gators.
To date, the former Bristol standout has played in all six of the squad’s game – making four starts over a busy campaign.
Pine Manor went 4-2 to open the season and Rutledge made contributions in each contest.
Five Connecticut players make-up the Gators’ roster and Rutledge averages 1.7 points and 2.5 rebounds in 11.5 minutes-per-game.
On Saturday, Nov. 14, Pine Manor opened its season at Johnson State and Rutledge was in the starting line-up.
The freshman played 11 minutes and chipped in six points and two rebounds as the Gators picked up a 86-73 victory on the road.
And then three days later, old teammates battled each other as Rutledge took on Joey DeFillippi (the duo shared the court at Bristol Central in the starting line-up during 2013-14) and Mount Ida College.
Pine Manor scored the victory in that one, 90-79, as Rutledge dropped in two points and three rebounds in 13 minutes of action.
DeFillippi won the battle with 10 points and nine rebounds but the Gators picked up the victory to move to 2-0.
At the Rivier Tipoff on Nov. 20, Rutledge manned the floor for 23 minutes in the Gators’ 77-70 win.
He had one rebound and recorded a blocked shot but one day later against Southern Maine, Pine Manor lost for the first time, 101-75.
Rutledge zipped up two points and snatched four rebounds in 11 minutes of play.
Over the next two games, Rutledge came off the pine for the Gators – posting 11 total minutes combined and snared five rebounds over that stint.
Rutledge isn’t a traditional post player in terms of offense, even as a 6-foot-6 big man – and does a nice job with a soft perimeter jumper which he makes with consistency.
He started games as a sophomore in the front-court for the Rams and never left head coach Tim Barrette’s line-up from then on.
By MICHAEL LETENDRE