Skerry, Benimon receive CAA honors
Head Coach Pat Skerry, junior forward Jerrelle Benimon and other members of the men’s basketball team received awards from the Colonial Athletic Association Friday night at the conference’s pre-tournament awards banquet in Richmond, Va.
Skerry was named the CAA Coach of the Year and Benimon was named the CAA Player of the Year. Benimon was also named to the First Team All-CAA and CAA All-Defensive Team.
Freshman point guard Jerome Hairston was named to the CAA All-Rookie Team, sophomore guard Kris Walden was named to the CAA All-Academic Second Team and graduate guard Bryan Blackstone was named as a CAA All-Academic Honorable Mention.
“We don’t talk a lot about individual stuff,” Skerry said. “We’ve had numerous guys who were rookie of the week, player of the week. The team’s success means the most and anytime individuals get awards it means you have a pretty good team and you’re doing a lot of good things as a group.”
In just his second year coaching the team, Skerry led Towson to the largest season turnaround in NCAA Division I history with a 17-game improvement over last season’s 1-31 team.
Towson’s 18 win total was the most since the 1993-94 season. The Tigers’ 12 road wins were the most since the 1976-77 season. Their 13-5 conference record, which earned them a second-place finish in league play, was the best in school history.
“It’s a testament to the team,” Skerry said. “We’ve got good players and we thought we had good players coming in. It took a little time to get it right. Our formula is to defend and rebound and to do that you have to play really hard.”
Benimon is the first player in Towson history to earn CAA Player of the Year honors. Benimon led the nation with 20 “double-doubles” and led the CAA in rebounds with 11.2 per game, which ranks him third overall in the nation.
Benimon grabbed 346 rebounds this season, a Towson single-season record and ranks sixth all-time in CAA history.
He also ranked fourth in the NCAA in scoring with 17.1 per game, was third in the CAA with 1.9 blocks per game, and fourth in field goal percentage (53.3 percent). Benimon recorded a team-high 79 assists for the Tigers as well.
“He’s a terrific talent physically and mentally,” Skerry said. “He plays both sides of the floor. He’s a dominant presence. Hopefully if he does what I believe he’ll do this offseason, then the sky is the limit for him. He’s meant everything.”