Tag Archive | "College Basketball"

Benimon

Tags: , , , , , , ,

What A Difference Two Years And An Arena Can Make

Posted on 19 February 2014 by Robert Canady

Two years ago during the 2011-12 season, I covered many of Towson’s basketball games, meaning I witnessed  a loss almost every night.   I had a courtside view along with one other faithful reporter Mat Schlissel of TowsonTigers.com.  Many nights it was just the two of us who watched  from press row at a cold and lifeless Towson Center, as a team with only four scholarship players finished 1-31.  Also some nights we weren’t outnumbered by too many fans in the stands either.  A fact that isn’t lost on Head Coach Pat Skerry,  saying, “Two years ago we weren’t giving away seats, we were giving away sections.”

The Tigers are a commanding 13-1 in their new home SECU Arena

Fast forward two years, to this past Monday night.  Mat and I  still had seats next to each other.  However, this time those seats were in the beautiful new SECU Arena.  And, we had been bumped from our courtside seats in favor of the national television crew from NBCSports Network.   Also this time we were only two of 29 media members covering the game.

Still more differences, this time a crowd of over 4000 packed the new home of the Tigers with an energy that I have not witnessed in three seasons covering the team.  Most importantly among those 4,000 fans were the Towson students.   In those games at the Towson Center many nights, there was hardly what you could call a student section.   For most of this year, the students have been out in force, filling both sections under each basket, along with the energy generating Towson pep band.   Season ticket holders, alumni and just plain fans often take their cue from the student section.  If the students are into it, they naturally join along.

The excitement was in large part due to the opponent.  The University of Delaware came in with an unblemished 11-0 record in Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) play.  The Blue Hens occupied the first place spot that Towson had been picked for in the preseason poll.  In the first matchup of the season in Newark last month, Delaware had a similar type crowd on hand and beat the Tigers 83-76 taking control of the 1st place in the league.

To see where the Towson program has come In less than two years is remarkable.  It began with the arrival of  Skerry in the spring of 2011.  He found himself with a shorthanded team during his first season, yet it didn’t affect his approach to each game.   The Tigers played hard, they just didn’t have the talent.  Well they had talent, but it was sitting on the bench in the form of transfers Jerrelle Benimon and Mike Burwell.

When Benimon and Burwell along with JUCO transfer Rafriel Guthrie became eligible to play last year, the Tigers turned in the well documented record breaking season in which they set an NCAA record for biggest turnaround by finishing 18-13.  However, the joy of that success was tempered a bit as the Tigers knew going into the season they would not be eligible for any post-season play, due to APR issues prior to Skerry’s arrival.

This year came with many expectations, Benimon was voted the pre-season Player of the Year in the conference, and as mentioned the Tigers were voted the pre-season favorite to win the league.  They had gone from being the hunter to the hunted, and as Skerry has referenced a few times this year, they wouldn’t be able to sneak up on anyone this season.

So after 11 conference games the scene was set for Monday night, a win by Delaware would have clinched the CAA title for them and assured them not only of the No. 1 seed when the tournament starts in Baltimore in just over two weeks, but also assured them of a NIT bid should they fail to win the conference tournament.

With the win the Tigers still have an outside shot at winning the regular season title, should Delaware lose at  least two of its remaining four games.   While the regular season title may still be a long shot for Towson, the win did a couple of things that should bring even more excitement to the tournament.

Most importantly it can be argued, the Tigers regained some of their swagger in the league.  Two losses to the Blue Hens might have taken some of the anticipation out of the tournament.  The Tigers didn’t just win, they dominated Delaware in all phases of the game, and showed the form that garnered them the pre-season ranking.

Should the Tigers and Blue Hens meet in the tournament, it will most likely come in the final, as it stands now they will go in as the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds.    So there would be the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament on the line.  With the game being played in Baltimore at First Mariner Arena, Towson should be able to have the largest fan support of the nine teams.   However, the Delaware fan base travels very well, and will no doubt have several bus loads of students and fans make the just over one hour drive from Newark.

Player Of The Year Candidate Benimon outplayed UD Candidate Saddler on Monday night.-Photo Credit Towson Athletics

Both teams have valid player of the year candidates, Towson with Benimon and  Delaware with its all time leading scorer Devon Saddler.  The two schools are a natural rival.   In addition to being the closest in proximity of any CAA schools, the two have very successful football programs and have had some classic matchups on the football field.

Both teams have some work to do the final ten days of the regular season to avoid any slip-ups and both coaches will tell you the next game is the only one they are worried about.   The next game for Towson is Thursday night in Boston as they face Northeastern.   Skerry showed he is not looking past this game, “I told the team (in the locker room after the Delaware game) I like to leave them with little pleasantries.  But nobody in this room has beaten Northeastern, so we’ve got a major game there Thursday.”

Towson stays on the road after the Northeastern game to play at Hofstra on Saturday.  They return home only long enough to do laundry attend a class or two and head to James Madison for the penultimate game on Wednesday the 25th.

The regular season will close out against William and Mary on Saturday March 1st at SECU, and I know this, Mat and I will be sitting side by side, again in the upper concourse to make room for another TV crew, a fact that neither of us mind as we think back to those cold nights in an empty Towson Center, and realize how far this program and team has come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments (0)

Parker Rivera Kansas

Tags: , , , ,

Tigers Looking to Finish Strong As CAA Tourney Nears

Posted on 14 February 2014 by Robert Canady

The Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) consists of nine teams from Charleston, SC to Boston, MA.     Each one of those cities has been pounded by winter storm PAX this week, throwing  travel plans into chaos, postponing games and having everyone think about warmer times ahead.

Hopefully those warmer times will begin the first weekend in March as all nine teams travel to Baltimore for the CAA conference tournament, but more on that later, we still have half of February left…sigh!!

This morning during the Towson Basketball Report on WNST.NET, I was asked by morning host Drew Forrester what Towson (16-9, 7-3 CAA) needs to do in its last six games to be ready for the tournament.  He prefaced this by saying this year’s tournament is what Towson has been building toward for two years, given they were ineligible last year, are stacked with seniors and were picked as the Preseason No. 1 team by the CAA Media, SIDS and Coaches.

Pat Skerry Has Tigers Playing Solid Defense-courtsey of Towson Athletics

I avoided the simple answer of saying, win its last 6 games and take their chances that a 13-3 league record would be good enough for the No. 1 seed. However, even that might be a stretch as the University of Delaware currently sits atop the CAA with an unblemished 11-0 record in league play, and posses the league’s most potent offensive attack.

Instead, what I said is simply Towson needs to avoid the trap it sometimes finds itself falling into.  And that’s forgetting to run the offense and settling for quick outside shots, many times hoisting up three-point attempts soon after crossing half court.  In its three league losses,  Towson has shot an unimpressive 35% from the field.  In two of those losses, (Northeastern 26% and Delaware 24% from the field) the damage was done in the first half.  In both those games the Tigers had double digit deficits at halftime.   As a matter of fact Towson has trailed by an average of 13 points at the half in the three losses.   Conversely in the seven wins, the Tigers have led by an average of 5 points at intermission.

Head Coach Pat Skerry has said since he arrived at Towson three years ago, that they need to do two primary things to win, that is play good defense and rebound.   Towson sits atop the CAA Statistical rankings  in both those areas.   For the season teams are only shooting .39% against them currently good enough for 22nd in the county, and Towson has not allowed any team to shoot better than 43% in any game since North Dakota State, a span of 13 games.   The Tigers have been just as impressive controlling the boards with a league best +6.1 rebounds per game margin.

So where the Tigers have struggled is in games where they have an off night shooting the ball.  I say off nights, due to the fact that Towson actually is second in the league in field goal shooting percentage at 44.8%.  However, in its most recent loss to UNC-Wilmington—a game that had been postponed from an earlier date due to an ice storm, this time  the game was played before the storms rolled in—Towson shot only 34.5% overall and 15% from three-point range.

Senior Benimon has 16 double/doubles this year tied for 1st in the country-Courtsey of Towson Athletics

In the losses to Delaware and Northeastern, the starting backcourt of Mike Burwell and Four McGlynn struggled to a combined 2-12 shooting effort.  However, they both bounced back the next two games going a combined 11-18 from the field.   In both those game outsides shots came as a result of first penetrating inside with the ball and then kicking it back out for a better look.

In speaking about the patient offense shown in those games,  Skerry said afterward that it was due to the seniors knowing what needed to be done.   For at least one night down in Wilmington the Tigers and the seniors forgot that recipe of success.

The CAA season has two weeks and six games left for the Tigers.  The stretch run begins on Saturday as they travel a couple hours down the road to Williamsburg and face William & Mary (15-8, 7-3 CAA) which is currently tied with Towson for second place in the CAA.   In a bit of a scheduling quirk, this will be the first game of the year between the Tigers and the Pride, yet Towson has already completed league play against, Drexel and Wilmington.  Towson will spend the majority of the next two weeks on the road, as they finish with only two home games at SECU Arena among the final six games.

Sophomore Tamajh Parker-Rivera Tigers Best Defensive Player according to Skerry-Courtsey Towson Athletics

The William & Mary game is important for a couple reasons.  Primarily, Towson would like to put the Monday night loss behind them with a solid win heading into Monday night’s home game with Delaware.  Since Towson last saw the Blue Hens they have had two starters suspended until March 1st for a violation of team rules.  A suspension that occurred two days after a Blue Hens win over Towson on January 25th.  One of those starters was Jarvis Threatt, who leads the league in steals and assists.  Delaware often plays full court pressure defense and Threatt was the key to that press.    However, the loss of Threatt and forward Marvin King Davis has not slowed the Blue Hens as they have won five straight without the duo.

In addition to getting back on the winning track, a win over the Tribe would put Towson in control of second place in the CAA.   A finish of second place in the league, would put the Tigers in the opposite bracket of the Blue Hens when the CAA teams storm into what is hoped to be balmy (well at least an unfrozen) Baltimore in three weeks.

 

Comments (0)

Guthrie V Temple

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Tigers Ready to Roar Into CAA Play

Posted on 10 January 2014 by Robert Canady

A year after exceeding expectations, Towson University men’s basketball team will now have to live up to expectations.

The Tigers were voted No. 1 in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA)  preseason-poll by members of the media and sports information directors.  After 15 non conference games (9-6) the Tigers will finally get a chance to prove that ranking was justified as the CAA conference portion of the season begins Saturday when Towson hosts North Carolina-Wilmington  (UNCW 6-11) at SECU arena.

“We were picked first, but that doesn’t mean a whole lot. We want to finish first,” said Head Coach Pat Skerry when asked to assess the Tigers chances as they head into conference play.  ‘If we do what we’re capable of, we’ll be right where we want to be, added Skerry.

Benimon once again is among the national leaders in double/doubles with nine.

Towson’s nine non-conference wins are the most by  Towson as a Division I team, and the most the Tigers have won on any level since they won 13 as a Division II school in the 1977-78 season.   The 9 wins have come against afairly strong nonconference road slate.  Towson played at Villanova, Kansas, Oregon State, North Dakota State and Stephen F. Austin, which currently has a 26 game home winning streak.  The six road losses came to teams that were a combined 30-2 at home at one point.

Skerry acknowledged the tough road tests and how his players felt about the record at this point,  “I scheduled a challenging schedule, and we have guys who want to win at a high level and can win at a high level, so I think they wanted to be a little better than 9-6.  So that shows they have embraced the expectations.”

While Towson had its road struggles (1-6), the new SECU arena quickly became a home court advantage.  The Tigers opened up with three early wins at the new facility, including a thrilling win over Temple before a near sell-out crowd.  Towson finished the non CAA portion of the season with an 8-0 record at home.  Dating back to last year, the Tigers have won 12 straight home games, which is the 18th best streak in the nation.

Leading the Tigers as expected in its nine wins has been Senior Jerrelle Benimon.  Voted the Pre-Season Player of the Year in the CAA  Benimon has picked up where he left off last year.  He’s averaging a double/double with 17.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per game.  And, actually he’s on a bit of a tear the past five games putting up 20.2 points and 13. 6 rebounds during that stretch.  Benimon has scored in double figures every game except for the season opener against Navy, and is tied for 3rd in the country with nine double-doubles and is one of only five players in the nation as of January 6th with a triple double this year.  He accomplished the feat against Central Penn College in December with 17 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists.

While Benimon gets the most attention from opposing teams, and the NBA scouts that have been attendance at several games this year, the Tigers have actually had a very balanced scoring attack.  Three starters are averaging double figures, with a fourth Mike Burwell practically there with 9.2 points per game.  In addition Rafriel Guthrie is contributing 10.9 points a game coming off the bench.

 

Mike Burwell has had career high in points, rebounds and assists this year.

Scoring has not been a problem for Towson this year.  Unlike last year where they pretty much counted on Benimon to lead the way in scoring most nights. with then Junior Marcus Damas contributing 11 points a game, this year’s squad is getting help from many directions.   Currently the Tigers are second among CAA teams in FG% at .458 and second in points per game at 73.7.

Early last year the Tigers struggled to find a deep and balanced scoring attack. This year they have been aided greatly by the eligibility of Vermont transfer Four McGlynn.  McGlynn, a sophomore is  averaging 13.3 points over the last nine games.  He moved into the starting lineup in the 6th game of the year following the suspension and subsequent dismissal of point guard Jerome Hairston.   McGlynn is hitting over .43% of his three-point attempt, and has connected on at least two per game in eight of the Tigers last nine contests.  One of McGlynn’s biggest assets is taking care of the ball, he has just two turnovers in the last five games.

While McGlynn has given the Tigers the outside threat they need to keep teams from concentrating solely on Bennimon, the play of Senior Mike Burwell, has been vital in the Tigers maintaining a strong team chemistry during the transition of playing without Hairston.  Burwell played almost exclusively at the two-guard spot last year.   With McGlynn moving into the lineup at the two, point-guard duties were shifted to Burwell.

McGlynn has delivered as promised from three-point range.

After some early adjustment, Burwell has flourished in the role.  “It has taken time to learn where everyone likes to get the ball.  But I am getting more comfortable.  I love having the ball in my hands,” Burwell said about the shift of positions.  It has shown in both his and the teams numbers.  Burwell has 15 assists with just four turnovers in the teams last 3 games.  Burwell distributed a career high nine assists in the win over New Hampshire last week.

Taking on the role of point guard hasn’t hurt Burwell’s offensive and defensive roles, quite the opposite.  Over the past four games he is averaging 13.7 points while shooting .500 from the field and collected a career high nine rebounds against Coppin State.  Burwell is simply playing the best basketball of his Towson career just as the Tigers head into the conference season.

One of the most important things that Burwell has to do, is not turning the ball over and make sure the Tigers get opportunities to score.  Turnovers have been a constant thorn in the teams losses.  The Tigers are averaging 15.6 turnovers in its losses versus only 12.8 in its wins.  Burwell is leading the team in assist to turnover ratio, averaging 1.18 assist to every turnover.

As the veteran on this team, in his third  year as a Tiger, Damas has improved each season in his all around play.  This year he is the teams second biggest three-point threat behind McGlynn,  hitting on .400 of his attempts from beyond the arc, compared to just .300 last year.   In addition Damas often draws the assignment of guarding the best perimeter player on the opposing team.  This year he has done that while decreasing his fouls per game by almost half a foul per game.

Just as he did last year, senior guard Guthrie provides an instant spark coming off the bench.  Guthrie provides constant defensive pressure on the opponents, and he along with Benimon have benefited the most from the increased enforcement of hand checking by the defense. In just 23 minutes per game, Guthrie is averaging over five trips to the charity-stripe.  One area he could really help the team is by improving on his .600 shooting from there.

Guthrie provides instant offense off the bench.

Timajh Parker-Rivera has stepped into the starting lineup replacing graduated Bilal Dixon and done very nicely.  His size and strength inside will be more of a factor in the CAA conference than it was against some of the bigger lineups the Tigers saw out of conference.  Getting over 22 minutes per game while sharing duties with freshman Walter Davis, Parker-Rivera puts up 4.8 points (but has scored 10 or more in three of the last five games) while grabbing almost five rebounds per game.  He is a very high percentage shooter inside, hitting on 48% of his FG attempts.

Foster along with fellow freshman John Davis have provided the Tigers with what looks to be two very impressive front court players in the years to come.  Foster makes the most of his time, in just his 14 minutes per game, he is averaging 4.3 rebounds and his 15 blocked shots is only one behind Parker-Rivera for second on the team.

Davis played some strong minutes early in the season, highlighted by nine point eight rebound performance in just 18 minutes of action in his home town of Philadelphia in the Tigers loss to Villanova.  Davis came down with Mononucleosis after the North Dakota State game, and will be sidelined until at least February 1st.   Getting him back for the last month of the season would be very important to the Tigers, who are already down one anticipated starter with the departure of Hairston.

While the 9-6 record may not be getting the national headlines that the Tigers received last year when they had the largest single season turnaround in NCAA history, it should not be forgotten that it is much better than the 5-8 record the Tigers had last year prior to CAA play.   This is the blessings and curse of high expectations, but as Skerry said the team has embraced them, and has even higher expectations of themselves, which include a conference championship and a run at the NCAA tournament in March.

Saturday will be the first of 16 contests, that lead up to the CAA Tournament to be held in Baltimore in March.  After having to sit out last year’s tournament with APR problems from 3 years ago, the Tigers will be very anxious to see how they match up against those expectations.

 

 

Comments (0)

SECU Arena

Tags: , , ,

Towson Basketball Begins Season With Lofty Expectations

Posted on 06 November 2013 by Robert Canady

Prior to  one of the final practices before the start of the 2013-14 season, Towson basketball Head Coach Pat Skerry, stood at midcouort smiling and greeting his players as they came out to warm-up.  Skerry gave many of them a fist bump or pat on the back.   There is just cause for Skerry to be smiling as he looked over this group of players.  For the firt time ever Towson had recently been ranked No. 1 in the CAA Coaches/Media Preseason poll.   “Well, be careful what you ask for,” Skerry said recently.  When asked how he will  prepares the team to reach the high expectations of this season, Skerry continues, “It’s about honoring the process. Continuing to do the daily things, that you need to do as a team.”  Back to practice a few minutes after the start,  during a five on five full court scrimmage, Skerry was backing up those words, as he called out players for not being in position defensively, or not running the proper offensive set.    There will be no resting on last seasons accomplishments.  “We’ll get everyone’s best shot each night.  We’ve gone from being the hunter to being the hunted,” added Skerry.

It’s been well documented everything that the Tigers achieved last season.  The team finished tied for 2nd in the CAA with a 13-5 conference record.  An overall record of 18-13 enabled Towson to set the NCAA record for the largest one season turnaround of 17.5 games. This followed the 1-31 campaign in coach Pat Skerry’s first season.   A record that unfortunately will follow him on his coaching resume, however for all intents and purposes should be accredited to the previous coaching staff.

Towson returns four starters from last year’s team-including CAA Player of the Year, Senior Jerrelle Benimon, who was recently voted Pre Season Player of The Year by the CAA coaches and media.   Benimon comes off an impressive season that saw him finish second in the nation in double/doubles while accumulating 17.1 points and 11.1 rebounds per game.  If that wasn’t impressive enough Skerry says Benimon is even better this year than last, “He’s got more range on his shot, he has really improved his 3 point shot. We also plan to use him at back-up point guard as well.”  When a reporter chided Skerry for not being serious, he said he absolutely was, “We’ve got to get Jerome (Hairston) some help there, and Jerrelle handled the ball a lot for us last year.  Don’t get me wrong, he still has to rebound.  That has to be first,” Skerry said with a smile.  As if all that wasn’t worry enough for Tiger opponents, Benimon is visibly bigger and appears stronger than last year.

Jerrelle Benimon scoring 2 of his career high 30 points against Temple

While Benimon is expected to lead the team in scoring again, there are plenty of other Tigers who are capable of carrying the team on any given night.   Senior Marcus Damas is coming off a season in which he scored 11.5 points per game, Damas also averaged double figures as a Sophomore in the 1-31 season, scoring 12.5 per night.   Damas is capable of hitting threes, as well as driving to the basket and finishing strong.  He is one of the strongest Tigers in finishing on a fast break.

Senior shooting guard Mike Burwell finished just shy of averaging double figures last year ringing up 9.0 points per game.  Burwell led the Tigers with 47 three-pointers in 2012-13  He was considered the Tigers biggest threat from long range, and should improve on his percentage this year. Experiences in a big time conference were two elements that both Burwell and Benimon brought to the Tigers.  Transferring from South Florida and Georgetown respectively the duo provided the Tigers with players who were not intimated playing against top level Division I players.

Skerry mentioned needing to get point guard Jerome Hairstonsome help and that wasn’t any reflection of his accomplishments or ability.  It’s just that too often last year he was the only viable option for bringing the ball up the court.  A big task to ask of a freshman who started 30 of 31 games last year. As point guard Hairston was third on the team in scoring tallying 9.9 points per night.  He struggled a bit early in the season with his assist to turnover ratio, but made strides in that area toward the end of the year.

Jerome Hairston scoring two in the upset win at Oregon St.

 

Sophomore Timajh Parker-Rivera is expected to fill the starting center spot vacated by Bilal Dixon who graduated after one year at Towson.  Dixon’s presence in the paint and his 7.3 rebounds per game will be a tough void to fill.   However, Rivera saw action in all 31 games and logged over 15 minutes per contests as a freshman.  Rivera showed a bit of what he might be capable of this summer when the Tigers took a trip to Canada and played four games against National Canadian teams that would be equal to college level teams in the US.  Rivera averaged 10.5 points and 10.7 rebounds in those four games.  Rivera worked hard during the summer in the Tigers conditioning program and has added weight and strength to go along with his tremendous athletic ability.  He certainly could be a player that catches opponents by surprise if they just look at his numbers from last year.

The Tigers will be much deeper this year than they were last year when they only had an eight man rotation.  Coming off the bench for the Tigers will be invaluable sixth man senior Rafriel Guthrie.  Guthrie averaged over 20 minutes per game last year playing in all 31 after transferring from College of Southern Idaho junior college.  Guthrie played high school basketball in Washington, DC averaging 28.8 points per game as senior at Cardozo H.S.  Guthrie exhibited this same scoring prowess in the Tigers final exhibition game by scoring 32 points against Mansfield last week.  Guthrie who is known for his fierce drives to the basket went to the foul line 18 times and converted 14 of them.   He could be one of the biggest beneficiaries on the team of the rule change in college that prohibits hand checking.  Guthrie is often called upon to up the Tiger’s defensive pressure when he comes into a game, and was second on the Tigers in steals with 26 to go along with his 8.1 points per game.

 

Depth in the back court will definitely be one of the Tiger’s strongest areas this year.  Sophomore transfer Four McGlynn will make his much anticipated debut after sitting out his year as a transfer.  Those that got to see McGlynn practice last year know he has seemingly unlimited range on his 3-point shot, and makes them with astonishing frequency.  McGlynn accumulated all kinds of accolades and impressive stats during his freshman year at Vermont, where he was named the America East Rookie of the Year.  McGlynn led the Catamounts in scoring, even though he came off the bench in all 36 of the tams games.  He was the only player in the nation to accomplish that feat.   His threat of hitting the 3 pointer when he’s in the game should, help ease some of attention Benimon will get on the inside.

Four other Tigers could very well end up getting regular playing time, meaning the Tigers could go as many as 10 deep on some nights.  Two players who were going to be counted on as Freshman last year 6’8” Forward Barrington Alston and 6’5” Guard Marquis Marshall ended up being redshirted.  They both return with another year of the weight and conditioning program under them, and will play as red shirt Freshman with four years of eligibility left.

The final returner is Junior Jamel Flash a 6’10” Forward/Center who Skerry says will definitely play this year as opposed to his first two years when he never averaged more than five minutes a game.  Flash has perhaps transformed himself more than any other Tiger in the weight room.  He will play this year at 220 lbs up over 30 pounds since his freshman year.

 

Success on the court usually leads to success off the court in other areas as well such as recruiting.   The higher level of player that Towson is able to recruit began last year with the incoming class of Hairston, Marshall and Alston.  In addition, the transfers of Benimon, Burwell, Guthrie and McGlynn all were an indication of the tireless efforts of Skerry and his assistants. Each one of those players took a leap of faith committing to Towson considering the past history, but Skerry sold them on what he had planned for this team.

The two true freshman on this year’s team, continue that high level recruit trend.  Johnny Davis at 6’5” 215 pound is an all Catholic League player from Philadelphia.  Skerry has said Davis will need to show some patience as he will be playing behind Benimon and Damas.  However once he gets on the court Davis makes the most of his minutes.  During the two exhibition games Davis totaled 15 points and 14 rebounds in 28 minutes of action.  Skerry said Davis has gone up against Benimon every day in practice and gives him all he can handle.  Joining Davis in adding depth to the Front Court is 6’8” 230 Forward/Center Walter Foster from Atlanta Georgia.  Both Davis and Foster will have to learn to play defense at the level Skerry expects in order to gain the playing time the Tigers will need from them.

The depth of this Tiger team could come in handy early in the year while teams are adjusting to the new hand check rule.  Towson did bring in actual officials to call some of the early practices in order to give an indication of what teams will see this year when the ball goes up for real.

One thing everyone in Baltimore and the CAA will see is a team that has completely transformed its identity from the one of the worst teams in the country, to a team that is predicted to win it’s league title and compete for a berth in the NCAA tournament in March.

Not taking anything away from Skerry or the players, but the biggest (literally and perhaps most important) addition this year won’t ever score a point or grab a rebound for the Tigers.  But the brand new SECU Arena will be the envy of every CAA team that visits this year.  The 5200 seat arena has hosted some exhibition games and other events over the summer, but will make its official Tiger debut on Friday night against Navy.  The arena is so spectacular that the referees who worked the Mansfield game commented to members of the media before the game, that the arena was unbelievable.   It’s equipped with every modern feature you’d expect to see in an arena, including a nearly 50 foot long scoreboard/video screen hung over center court.  Among the seating choices are 340 club seats, 104 courtside seats and 4 private boxes.

Below is the complete results of the CAA Pre-Season poll.   I’ll have an in-depth look at the new CAA prior to the conference season.   But the big changes this season are the departures of Old Dominion, Georgia State and George Mason.  The College of Charleston joins the league as the 9th team. They were the Southern Conference champions last year and won 24 games.

 

Coaches/Media 2013-14 Pre-Season CAA Poll

1-Towson

2-Drexel

3-College of Charleston

4-Delaware

5-William & Mary

6-Northeastern

7-James Madison

8-UNCW

9-Hofstra

-photos courtsey of Towson University-

 

 

 

Comments (0)

Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 27 March 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Women’s College Lacrosse-Towson @ Maryland (Tuesday 7pm from Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex live on AM1570 WNST.net); Auto Racing: NASCAR Goody’s Fast Relief 500 (Sunday 12:30pm from Martinsville, VA live on FOX), IndyCar Series Honda Grand Prix of Alabama (Sunday 2pm from Birmingham live on NBC Sports Network); High School Basketball: McDonald’s All American Games (Girls Wednesday 7pm from Chicago live on ESPNU Boys Wednesday 9:30pm from Chicago live on ESPN); Mixed Martial Arts: Bellator Fighting Championships 63 (Friday 8pm from Uncasville, CT live on MTV2); Boxing: Friday Night Fights-Hank Lundy vs. Dannie Williams (Friday 9pm from Mashantucket, CT live on ESPN2); Soccer: Team USA Women @ Japan (Sunday 6:30am from Sendai, Japan live on ESPN2), MLS-FC Dallas @ DC United (Friday 7:30pm from RFK Stadium live on NBC Sports Network); Bill Maher (Saturday 8pm France-Merrick Performing Arts Center at the Hippodrome, Sunday 8pm Strathmore); Donnell Rawlings (Thursday-Saturday Magooby’s Joke House); Goon” & “Wrath of the Titans” out in theaters (Friday); Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday)

10. Van Halen/Kool & The Gang (Wednesday 7:30pm Verizon Center), Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band (Sunday 7:30pm Verizon Center); Mac Miller (Saturday 8pm Patriot Center); Blue October (Sunday 7pm Rams Head Live); Mr. Greengenes (Thursday 8pm Recher Theatre); The Bad Plus (Sunday 7:30pm Baltimore Soundstage); All Mighty Senators (Saturday 8pm 8×10 Club); Sleigh Bells (Tuesday 7pm 9:30 Club), The Temper Trap (Saturday 6pm 9:30 Club), Andrew WK (Sunday 7pm 9:30 Club); Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (Wednesday 8pm Warner Theatre); Patti LaBelle (Friday & Saturday 8pm Strathmore); Leon Redbone (Saturday 7:30pm Birchmere), Three Dog Night (Monday 7:30pm Birchmere); Of Monsters And Men (Monday 8pm Black Cat)

The new Van Halen is TERRIBLE (at least the song is-I haven’t listened to the record), but it doesn’t change how freaking awesome this is…

I don’t worship Bruce Springsteen. (Some of you would have to admit you do.) I DO freaking love this song though…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GbWwDIo8XU

I have no idea what Three Dog Night even looks like at this point. I would be more than happy to sing along with this though…

Here’s another fantastic tune by a band called Of Monsters And Men. So now we’ve done that…

9. NBA: Washington Wizards @ Indiana Pacers (Thursday 7pm from Indianapolis live on Comcast SportsNet PLUS), Philadelphia 76ers @ Washington Wizards (Friday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Washington Wizards @ Toronto Raptors (Sunday 6pm from Toronto live on Comcast SportsNet), Milwaukee Bucks @ Washington Wizards (Monday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet PLUS)

Since Sonny Weems doesn’t play for the Raptors anymore, he won’t be there when the ‘Zards visit Canada. It’s a shame because if he was he could bring his creepy foot…

I get the feeling there won’t be many folks willing to click on Page 2 or Page 3 after that, but we’re going to keep going here anyway.

(Continued on Page 2…)

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , ,

Terps receive commitment from Baltimore’s Sam Cassell Jr.

Posted on 26 March 2012 by WNST Staff

Building upon an already-impressive incoming recruiting class, the University of Maryland will welcome Baltimore native Sam Cassell Jr. to College Park in the fall.

The former St. Frances guard chose the Terps over reported offers from Connecticut, Florida State, Villanova, Washington, and Dayton. After leaving Baltimore for Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass. following his junior season, the 6-foot-4 Cassell spent two seasons catapulting himself from a consensus mid-major candidate to one with the ability to play in a major conference.

Maryland assistant Bino Ranson developed a rapport with Cassell while following the young guard’s participation with the Nike Baltimore Elite AAU program. Of course, Cassell is the son of Sam Cassell, who was a standout for Dunbar High School before attending Florida State and eventually playing 15 seasons in the NBA.

Cassell is ranked a three-star prospect by ESPN and joins a hefty recruiting class that also includes fellow guard Seth Allen, small forward Jake Layman, and big men Shaquille Cleare, Damonte Dodd, and Charles Mitchell.

Comments (0)

Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 20 March 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Soccer-Cuba @ US Under-23 Men (Thursday 9pm from Nashville live on Universal Sports Network), Canada @ US Under-23 Men (Saturday 9pm from Nashville live on Universal Sports), El Salvador @ US Under-23 Men (Monday 9pm from Nashville live on Universal Sports), MLS-DC United @ Vancouver Whitecaps (Saturday 10pm from Vancouver live on Comcast SportsNet); Tennis: ATP Tour WTA Tour Sony Ericsson Open (Saturday-Monday 11am from Miami live on Tennis Channel); Boxing: Friday Night Fights-Antwone Smith vs. Roberto Garcia (Friday 9pm from Pharr, TX live on ESPN2), ShoBox-Diego Magdaleno vs. Eduardo Lazcano (Friday 11pm from Tucson, AZ live on Showtime), Erik Morales vs. Danny Garcia (Saturday 10pm from Houston live on HBO), Zab Judah vs. Vernon Paris (Saturday 10pm from New York live on NBC Sports Network); Mixed Martial Arts: Bellator Fighting Championships 62 (Friday 8pm from Laredo, TX live on MTV2)

10. The Head And The Heart (Tuesday 7pm Rams Head Live), Crack The Sky (Saturday 8pm Rams Head Live); Adema (Wednesday 7pm Recher Theatre); Psychedelic Furs (Tuesday 8pm Rams Head on Stage), Phil Vassar (Wednesday 6pm & 9pm Rams Head on Stage); Gotye (Thursday 7pm 9:30 Club), Fatboy Slim (Friday 9pm 9:30 Club), The Joy Formidable (Monday 7pm 9:30 Club); Fiona Apple (Wednesday 9pm Sixth & I Historic Synagogue); Kevin Eubanks (Thursday-Sunday Blues Alley); Angelique Kidjo (Saturday 8pm Lisner Auditorium); ShamrockFest feat. Dropkick Murphys, Gavin Degraw, Carbon Leaf (Saturday RFK Stadium); The Shins “Port of Morrow” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

Here’s a truth. The Head and The Heart had one of the ABSOLUTE best songs of 2011…

Gotye is the band whose name you have NO IDEA how to pronounce but you just can’t get out of your head…

Fiona Apple once did a video in her underwear. It was awkward because 14 year old Glenn was both aroused and terribly disturbed…

I saw The Shins on Saturday Night Live a few weeks ago. I wasn’t sure I was into them. I’m into them.

9. Ralphie May (Friday 8pm Lisner Auditorium); Bret Ernst (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Pablo Francisco (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” & “The Muppets” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday); “The Hunger Games” opens in theaters (Friday); Beer, Bourbon & BBQ (Friday & Saturday Timonium Fairgrounds)

I will be at BBBBQ Saturday morning with my “Reality Check Players” partner John Collingsworth. If you intended to do something with me at some point during the day Saturday understand…well…just be prepared for anything.

I’ll be giving away a pair of tickets to Friday night on Tuesday and Wednesday on “The Reality Check.” Not sure if Beer, Bourbon & BBQ is an event for you? I have a simple question. Does this look like something you’d enjoy?

What about this?

See you this weekend.

Comments (0)

Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 13 March 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Auto Racing-NASCAR Food City 500 (Sunday 12:30pm from Bristol, TN live on FOX); Golf: PGA Tour Transitions Championship (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel, Saturday & Sunday 3pm live on NBC. All golf from Palm Harbor, FL); LPGA Tour RR Donnelley Founders Cup (Thursday & Friday 6:30pm Saturday & Sunday 4pm from Phoenix live on Golf Channel); Champions Tour Toshiba Classic (Friday 8:30pm Saturday & Sunday 7:30pm from Newport Beach, CA on Golf Channel); Tennis: ATP Tour  WTA Tour BNP Paribas Open (Tuesday & Wednesday 2pm Thursday 2pm & 10pm Friday 6pm & 9pm Saturday 7:30pm live on Tennis Channel, Friday 4pm & 11pm live on ESPN2, Saturday & Sunday 2pm & 4pm live on ABC. All tennis from Indian Wells, CA); Boxing: Friday Night Fights-Kendall Holt vs. Tim Coleman (Friday 9pm from Cabazon, CA live on ESPN2), ShoBox-Omar Figueroa vs. Ramon Ayala (Friday 11pm from Indio, CA live on Showtime), Sergio Martinez vs. Matthew Macklin (Saturday 10pm from New York live on HBO); Mixed Martial Arts: Bellator Fighting Championships 61 (Friday 8pm from Bossier City, LA live on MTV2); NBA: Washington Wizards @ Dallas Mavericks (Tuesday 8:30pm from Dallas live on Comcast SportsNet), Washington Wizards @ New Orleans Saints (Thursday 8pm from New Orleans live on Comcast SportsNet), Washington Wizards @ Atlanta Hawks (Friday 7:30pm from Atlanta live on Comcast SportsNet), Washington Wizards @ Memphis Grizzlies (Sunday 6pm from Memphis live on Comcast SportsNet)

10. Soul Jam featuring Whispers/Stylistics (Saturday 7pm 1st Mariner Arena); Girl Talk (Saturday 9pm Power Plant Live); Pop Evil (Friday 6:30pm Rams Head Live), Dr. Dog (Saturday 8pm Rams Head Live); Rich Robinson (Sunday 1pm Rams Head on Stage), Psychedelic Furs (Monday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Uncle Kracker (Wednesday 7pm 9:30 Club); Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors (Wednesday 8pm Jammin Java)

I’ve seen Pop Evil at RHL before. And think, THIS is amongst the notes from my life I’m actually willing to admit…

Dr. Dog is the type of band that everyone assumes I’ll really like based on the other acts I really like. They’re probably right, I’m just lazy.

I’ve never seen Rich Robinson solo. I HAVE seen the Black Crowes a few times. I know what I like. I like what I know.

You remember Drew Holcomb as the man who authored the song everyone was thinking about on Christmas after that TNT basketball promo. Let it come to you…

9. Henry Rollins (Friday 8pm Baltimore Soundstage); Charlie Murphy (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); Aisha Tyler (Friday & Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Robert Kelly (Thursday-Saturday Magooby’s Joke House), Gabriel Iglesias (Sunday 8pm Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric); Glenn Clark’s St. Patrick’s Day plans (Saturday whereabouts unknown); “The Descendants” available on DVD/Blu-Ray (Tuesday); “21 Jump Street”, “Jeff Who Lives At Home” and “Casa De Mi Padre” open in theaters (Friday)

Of note from this cornucopia…

Aisha Tyler’s arrival in Charm City allows me another opportunity to sing the praises of the show “Archer” on FX. She plays the role of Lana. I like to pretend that I’m Sterling Archer sometimes. I’m 28 years old.

Do you want to have the host of “The Reality Check” afternoons on AM1570 WNST.net visit your establishment Saturday to celebrate St. Patty’s Day? Tell me why your Bangers and Mash are the best in the area. I’ll be ALL IN.

Comments (0)

Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 06 March 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Boxing-Orlando Salido vs. Juan Manuel Lopez (Saturday 10pm from San Juan, Puerto Rico live on Showtime); Mixed Martial Arts: Bellator Fighting Championships 60 (Friday 8pm from Hammond, IN live on MTV2); Soccer: MISL Eastern Division Final-Rochester Lancers @ Baltimore Blast (Saturday 7:35pm 1st Mariner Arena, Leg 2 Monday 7pm in Rochester); Tennis: ATP Tour/WTA Tour BNP Paribas Open (Saturday-Monday 2pm from Indian Wells, CA live on Tennis Channel); Charm City Roller Girls (Saturday 5:30pm Du Burns Arena)

10. Black Keys/Arctic Monkeys (Friday 8pm Verizon Center); Boyce Avenue (Wednesday 6:30pm Rams Head Live), Pat Green (Friday 8pm Rams Head Live), moe. (Saturday 8pm Rams Head Live), Orgy (Sunday 6:30pm Rams Head Live); Cris Jacobs Band (Friday 8pm 8×10 Club), Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers (Saturday 8pm 8×10 Club); Kindred the Family Soul (Friday 7:30pm Baltimore Soundstage); Playing for Change Band (Wednesday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Mutemath (Saturday 7pm 9:30 Club), Young The Giant/Grouplove (Sunday 7pm 9:30 Club); Experience Hendrix feat. Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd (Tuesday 8pm Strathmore); Travis Tritt (Tuesday 7:30pm Birchmere); North Mississippi All-Stars (Saturday 9pm State Theatre); Bruce Springsteen “Wrecking Ball” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

The Black Keys sold out the Verizon Center. That’s amazing. I’ll most look forward to the part where the place that usually houses smelly Caps fans turns into one large Phoenix Coyotes rally…

Boyce Avenue is not an act I should ever voluntarily admit to enjoying. I should ABSOLUTELY never admit to enjoying their cover of Rihanna’s “Umbrella”…

The PFC band is fantastic. You’ll probably remember this…

Young The Giant authored perhaps the single most underrated song of 2011…

9. Bill Bellamy (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Kevin Pollak (Thursday-Saturday Magooby’s Joke House); Todd Glass (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); Baltimore St. Patrick’s Day Parade/Shamrock 5K (Sunday 1:15pm Inner Harbor/Downtown Baltimore); “Friends With Kids” opens in theaters (Friday)

One-I love a good St. Patty’s Day throw down a week before the 17th. In honor of that, I think I’ll make a stop at the Tilted Kilt in White Marsh after the parade…

Note: I’m aware that’s a Scotish thing. It’s late. I’m tired.

Note 2: Does it really matter anyway?

And since we’re here, I actually think “Friends With Kids” has a bit of a “watchable chick flick” feel. It also has Jon Hamm. As in THIS Jon Hamm…

Comments (0)

Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 21 February 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: NHL-Washington Capitals @ Ottawa Senators (Wednesday 7pm from Ottawa live on Comcast SportsNet PLUS), Montreal Canadiens @ Washington Capitals (Friday 7pm from Verizon Center live on NHL Network/Comcast SportsNet), Washington Capitals @ Toronto Maple Leafs (Saturday 7pm from Toronto live on NHL Network/Comcast SportsNet); Monster Jam (Friday-Sunday 1st Mariner Arena); Tennis: ATP Tour Regions Morgan Keegan Championships (Saturday 12pm & 4pm Sunday 4pm from Memphis live on Tennis Channel); Boxing: Marcos Maidana vs. Devon Alexander (Saturday 10pm from St. Louis live on HBO), Friday Night Fights-Juan Carlos Burgos vs. Cristobal Cruz (Friday 9pm from Dover live on ESPN2); High School Basketball: MPSSAA Playoffs Opening Round-Games include Catonsville @ Mergenthaler, Paint Branch @ Dulaney, Poly @ Blake, Perry Hall @ Sherwood, Chesapeake-AA @ South River, Great Mills @ North County, Leonardtown @ Broadneck, Severna Park @ Meade (All games Friday); Women’s College Basketball: North Carolina @ Maryland (Friday 8:30pm from Comcast Center live on Comcast SportsNet PLUS)

10. Blake Shelton (Saturday 7:30pm Patriot Center); Mr. Greengenes (Friday 7:30pm Rams Head Live), Several Species: The Pink Floyd Experience (Saturday 7pm Rams Head Live); Citizen Cope (Friday 7pm Recher Theatre); Guns N Roses (Thursday 10pm Fillmore Silver Spring), Flogging Molly (Friday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Estelle (Wednesday 7:30pm Birchmere); Rick Ross (Thursday 7pm D.A.R. Constitution Hall); Fun. “Some Nights” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

I’m not really a Blake Shelton fan.That said, I wish I could tell you I didn’t enjoy this tune…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGoiiwxTWeE

I am particularly bitter that my trip to Indy this weekend will prevent me from getting to the Cope show Friday night. If you’ve never seen him, shame on you…

What’s happening in Silver Spring won’t ACTUALLY be a GNR show, but it doesn’t mean you can’t sing along…

Just in case you forgot, Flogging Molly is the one that ISN’T Dropkick Murphys…

9. Portlandia The Tour (Tuesday 7pm & 9pm 9:30 Club); Jeffrey Ross (Saturday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Jim Gaffigan (Thursday-Saturday Warner Theatre); Rodney Carrington (Friday 7:30pm Meyerhoff Symphony Hall); Rich Vos (Thursday-Saturday Magooby’s Joke House); Donnell Rawlings (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); “J. Edgar” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday); Act of Valor” and “Wonderlust” out in theaters (Friday); 2012 Academy Awards (Sunday 7pm from Los Angeles live on ABC)

Can someone ask Jeffrey Ross if he’ll come on my show this week and make fun of me? It’s that good…

Also funny? Jim Gaffigan. It’s just a very different type of funny…

Comments (3)