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From Hoya to Tiger

25 November 2012 By Jesse Jones, Assistant Sports Editor 22 Comments
Benimon shines in his first season at Towson
Photo by Matthew Hazlett, Illustration by Devin Smith/ The Towerlight

Photo by Matthew Hazlett, Illustration by Devin Smith/ The Towerlight

Before the 2012-13 season started, Men’s Basketball Head Coach Pat Skerry emphasized that this season will be a lot different from last, partially because of a new roster.

“I’ve got more of my own guys,” he said.

One of those players, Jerrelle Benimon, has already made a name for himself on the team.

The junior forward from Warrenton, Va. was named the Colonial Athletic Association Co-Player of the Week following the team’s impressive run in the 2012 Comfort Suites Invitational Nov. 16-19.

Benimon averaged 16.3 points and 12.3 rebounds during the first three games of the tournament and helped carry the Tigers to a 3-1-tournament record and a 3-2 overall season record.

On the season, Benimon is averaging 16.2 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. He has two “double-doubles” through five games.

“He brings talent and toughness,” Skerry said. “He’s versatile. He can score inside and out. What I’ve been really proud of is how well he’s defended. He’s a big, strong, physical, tough kid.”

Basketball was not always Benimon’s primary sport. In fact, he did not become immensely involved in basketball until he was a teenager.

“I didn’t really get too serious about basketball until I was a freshman in high school,” he said. “I mostly played football but then decided to stop. I began to put all my time and efforts in being good at basketball and it worked out.”

Before coming to Towson, Benimon began his collegiate career at Georgetown.

From his freshman to his sophomore year, Benimon saw his minutes decrease and teammates leave. He decided then that it was time for a change.

“I just wasn’t having fun anymore. I think it was me not liking the offense a lot,” he said. “Another reason is the two players in my class and my best friends also weren’t too happy and talked about leaving which also inspired me to leave.

Nothing toward Georgetown and the coaches, but I was just ready to leave and do something else.”

When news broke that Benimon was leaving Georgetown, Skerry knew that he had to pursue him.

“We jumped on him right away and recruited him very aggressively,” Skerry said.

At the same time that Towson was recruiting Benimon, CAA-rival Old Dominion was also courting him.

It was the second time they tried to bring in the local prospect.

Despite a familiarity with the ODU coaching staff, Benimon decided to become a Tiger, he said in part because of the relationship he built with Skerry and the rest of the coaching staff.

Since joining Towson, he said he has fit right in.

“I enjoy it here a lot, it is more of my style than Georgetown, because Georgetown is a much smaller school compared to Towson,” he said. “You have the opportunity to see different people everyday.”

Benimon’s personality off the court is something that Skerry  said he believes has helped him get accustomed to Towson so quickly.

“Jerrelle’s a pretty carefree and easygoing guy,” Skerry said.

For many players, offense is key to winning games. But Benimon said he knows otherwise, in large part due to his experience playing in the Big East.

“The Big East is an extremely physical league,” Benimon said. “Most teams pride themselves on defending and rebounding the basketball. I have learned defense is the key to winning college basketball games. It isn’t only scoring.”

Skerry also recognizes the influence that the Big East has had on Benimon.

“His experience playing on some of the biggest stages has helped him and he was also playing against good players at a great program like Georgetown,” Skerry said.

Benimon said his versatility is what makes him valuable to this team.

“I believe my role on the team changes game to game,” Benimon said. “Some games I may have to defend the other teams’ best player. Other games I may have to be a playmaker and get my teammates involved in the game. Other games I may

have to do an abundance of scoring, but I will always rebound the ball.”

Although the team has had early-season success, Benimon believes the team is still getting to know each other and getting comfortable on the court together.

Once that happens, he sees a bright future.

“Once everything comes together for us we will be a great team and hopefully make some noise in the CAA,” he said.


22 Comments »

  • Terry 91 said:

    Mike Waddell will figure out a way to screw this up also. Waddell is a cancer to Towson who is making the entire university ill. Fire Waddell and things at Towson will get better. We may even be able to play in the post season one day (after the Waddell sanctions are over).

  • Lost Tiger said:

    I like Pat Skerry and his coaching staff but the rest of the organization is pretty sketchy. When you have an athletic director with his hands in all of the team it creates problems. Mike Waddell needs to let the coaches coach and the players play and stay out of the way. When i saw him telling Skerry how to run his team, i knew the problems were starting. The Athletic director should not decide who gets cut and who plans. It’s just not right.

  • Mooney said:

    The Postseason ban is a leftover from the Pat Kennedy era and has nothing to do with anyone on campus now.

  • Terry 91 said:

    Mooney – Or should we call you Mike? The post season ban has everything to do with Mike Waddell and how he and his staff handled the outgoing basketball coach. They have led everyone to believe that Pat Kennedy is to blame, but clearly that is not the case. Kennedy worked under Waddell for a season and Waddell and staff were the ones who failed to file the proper documentation in order to square things up with the NCAA. After all the lies about Title IX, people should start to see that Waddell and company are pretty dirty. Lets bring in an AD with integrity, something Mike Waddell really lacks!

  • Corso said:

    The ban was not a matter of paperwork, but of a four-year academic performance. Each of the schools fell below the mandated cutline of 900 on their four-year scores. The APR measures the classroom performance of every Division I team. This year’s data calculates rates from 2007-08 through 2010-11.

    Joining the Huskies on the sideline next March will be Arkansas-Pine Bluff, California-Riverside, Cal State Bakersfield, Jacksonville State, Mississippi Valley State, North Carolina-Wilmington, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Toledo and Towson.

    All the banned teams, including Connecticut, face additional sanctions of losing a minimum of four hours of practice time per week, which must be replaced by academic activities. The penalties could create an unusual scenario for the seven affected conferences.

    http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/8077431/connecticut-huskies-9-others-sit-postseason-apr

  • TU Alum 2006 said:

    I stubbed my toe, this is all Mike Waddell’s fault!!

  • Raj86 said:

    Mike Waddell is a lying scum bag but i don’t think we can blame him for the APR issue.

  • Tiger Pride said:

    I too heard that Mike Waddell missed the deadline to file an appeal. TU was eligible because the University President, Athletic Director, and Basketball Coach all left.

  • Once A Tiger said:

    If Mike Waddell sticks around, Towson will not only be excluded from post season play, they will get the death penalty. Mike Waddell continues to escalate his bad behavior in order to draw attention to himself. It is just a matter of time until he gets caught doing the wrong thing. Oh, its too late he already got caught lying (title 9) and cheating (martial).

  • Vic said:

    These comments are a great example of how things are currently at Towson athletics. This story has nothing to do with Mike Waddell, but people are commenting about Waddell instead of the real story. Things are so out of control in the athletic department that everything goes back to the Waddell hating and nonsense. Lets either get passed all this or fire Waddell, but this is not helping the university at all.

  • 1992-Lester said:

    I agree with Vic 100%.. The athletic department is completely falling apart both internally and externally. I have liked Mike Waddell and all the marketing improvements he has made to help sell tickets and promote towson. Unfortunately, he is a lightning rod for all things bad. In order to save our beloved TU, we must shed Mike Waddell. Our next AD should be overly honest and caring to his/her staff and towson community. The next AD also needs to be respected by his/her peers. Thanks for all you have done Mike Waddell, but please leave Towson while we have an ounce or two of respect left.

  • Towson Athlete said:

    You guys are all the biggest bunch of dopes… this article is about the accomplishments of a Towson athlete and now look at your comments!! Not one of them praises him in his accomplishments or is even related to the article itself. Those of you who make everythng about Mike Waddel are selfish human beings, and as a student athlete, I don’t even want your support or your donations. During this time, which is a very tough time for US – THE STUDENT ATHLETES, it is you people who are driving this athletic department and program farther apart. This is a time where regardless of what happens, we need to come closer together. You all make me sick, and when I graduate, I will never become like you. I can bet that most of you were never even athletes; and if you were, I can guarantee that you weren’t leaders. Our athletic department does not have internal cancer that is as openly visible as the external disease that all of you show and prove every single day through your ignorant comments.

  • Nick Diadomoe said:

    Hey Dumb Kid (Towson Athlete who made the comment above), you don’t want my money or my support? I would watch you mouth, i bet the guys in the Ivory Tower, I mean the Auburn House want my money and my support on game day. Without my support and season tickets (football and basketball), things would be a lot different for you. Take a step back and look a the big picture. Don’t come out guns blazing, listen to what people are saying. You may like somebody and they may be very good to you, but if everyone else hates them and is speaking bad about them, you may not be getting the whole picture. As stated above, Mike Waddell may be a good guy, but once you get caught lying, you will always be known as one who lies. If Mike Waddell leaves so will all the problems. Towson Athlete, I appreciate your young spirit, but you are backing the wrong dog in this fight.

  • Towson Athlete said:

    Nick, I don’t want the support of ignorant people like you. This article is about a basketball player at this University who is making a name for himself. It has nothing to do with Mike Waddel; ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. You, and your buddies up there who commented on this, are making EVERYTHING about Waddel. You aren’t a student athlete at this school, and you have no idea how frustrating it is listening to ignorant people like you who are so concerned with ‘backing a horse’. I have no interest in backing ANYBODY on either side. Even to just play devil’s advocate, at least a couple of our major programs have been competetive since Mike Waddel got here. I, unlike you, don’t think it would be excellent to be content with being the joke school of the CAA, even though continuing on that course would mean that you and your buddies on here would be quiet. I am not saying that being a liar is a good thing, and I have nothing to say about my support of either side in this, BUT I will say that you do not have a clue what it is like being an actual athlete through all of this. Furthermore I will also say that I DO NOT want, or need your support. Go buy season tickets to University of Maryland or Mount St. Marys. OH WAIT, those schools cut sports too, what a bunch of evil liars their ADs must be. Along with Hofstra, George Mason, and so many other schools in the country. Without your support, my life is no different. Most supporters are not like you at all and we do not need people like you around here.

  • Nick Diadomoe said:

    Towson Athlete – One day you will wake up and get it. Until then….Have fun in college.

  • Chester86 said:

    Nicky – Don’t get on here taking about being a fan. I did not see you at a single football game this year.

    Why is everyone blaming Waddell for all the troubles. Shouldn’t we blame all the clowns that are running the department. I kind of feel bad that the blame is not spread evenly among the deputies.

  • FormerGU said:

    If Benny had the patience to learn the “offense” his talents would’ve bee maximized. He just didn’t want to work. It’s an offense that teaches you how to beat defenses (and read defenses). It’s actually an ideal offense. Of course the three most me-first astrology signs (leo, aires, and sagittarius) are the 3 that wanted to leave because they couldn’t get their points. hahaha funny thing is, with patience and learning, their games would’ve gone to next level. but glad they are all happy now! not every school is for everyone.

  • TU Alum 2006 said:

    Nick,

    You are a buffoon. A season ticket pass for football costs $50. A season ticket pass for basketball is $125. That’s chump change. That might cover the cost of toilette paper for the third floor of Linthicum Hall on a weekend.

    Things wouldn’t be “a lot different” for Towson Athlete without your $175. You could multiply that number by 20 and things wouldn’t be a lot different.

    Also, don’t speak like you represent the Towson University community as a whole. I couldn’t care less about Towson baseball and soccer. Neither do my friends. Football and basketball are the sports that will put Towson on the map and also bring in the most money for the school. This is indisputable. Mike Waddell clearly understands this.

    Also, lets make another thing very clear. The baseball and soccer athletes still have their scholarships but Towson University has no obligation to make sure they play soccer or baseball.

    If this were a case where Mike Waddell lied to people, telling them that money was being raised for soccer when that wasn’t true, then there almost certainly would have been legal ramifications don’t you think?

    This isn’t a conspiracy. Towson didn’t miss the playoffs because everyone hates Waddell.

    Finding a reason to blame Waddell for everything is pretty obnoxious. I am sure you have better things to do with your time.

    Time to grow up.

  • TU Alum 2006 said:

    Also, its hilarious how people keep mentioning the money that was raised by soccer and baseball alumni to save the programs.

    The cost to run these two programs is over $800,000 per year and they bring in no money for the school whatsoever.

    Is anyone foolish enough to believe that these guys raised even close to enough money to keep the program around for even a year? That’s going to be a no every time.

    If they gave money with the intention that it went to soccer/baseball then I am all for that being refunded to them if they STFU.

    University athletics are a business. This isn’t pee wee. Everyone doesn’t get a participation trophy. All the talk about the spirit of the game and what the University should be doing and how Mike Waddell is a lying evil scum bag just makes you look stupid.

  • MikeD said:

    I think everybody can agree with TU Alum 2006. His last sentence (above) reads “Mike Waddell is a lying evil scum bag.” I think we all agree with you TU Alum 2006. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • TUBLACKANDGOLD said:

    You all need to relax. Why do you feel the need to blame MW for every little thing? He is a douche and more than likely a liar, but god damn. Get off your high horses. TUMBB had issues well before Waddell ever stepped foot on our campus. Dangerfield did not get suspended because of Waddell. We did not miss the FCS Playoffs because of Waddell. Shut the fuck up.

  • Bored said:

    I am not a sports fan but have been watching how the same people keep posting the same comments in every sports story on this site. It’s amazing how much free time people have to post on a student newspaper web site.

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