2012-13 CAA Team Previews: Towson Tigers
Last Season Record: (1-31, 1-17), 12th in CAA
Key Losses: 6-8 F Robert Nwankwo. In 2011-2012, the senior averaged a double double 12.5 points, 10.1 rebounds to go along with 2.4 blocks per contest. Nwankwo was named to the CAA All-Defensive Team last season and ranked third all-time in Tigers history with 222 career blocks. The Tigers will definitely miss his size, scoring ability, defense and experience. Towson will also be losing 6-5 F Deon Jones, who averaged 7.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists, as he has transferred to Monmouth University.
Key Additions: Replacing Nwanko will be tough, but the Tigers do have two additions that will help ease the pain. First, 6-8 F Jerrelle Benimon is eligible to play for Towson this season after he was redshirted in 2011-2012 for transferring from Georgetown. The coaching staff is expecting Benimon to start at power forward for the Tigers this season. Additionally, 6/9 C Bilal Dixon is a transfer from Providence College who is eligible to compete for Towson immediately. Dixon, the lone senior on the team, should help fill the defensive void in the middle of the paint. The tigers also have added 6-5 G Mike Burwell who will be eligible this season after transferring from South Florida before the 2011-2012 season. Burwell’s shooting ability should help the Tigers as well. Also, keep a look out for Towson’s incoming freshman class that was ranked the best in the CAA.
Coach: His first year as the Head Coach of the Tigers didn’t go totally as planned for coach Pat Skerry, but things are looking a little brighter for Towson. Skerry, A 20-year coaching veteran, has made previous Assistant Coaching stops at Pittsburgh, Providence, Rhode Island, College of Charleston, William & Mary, Northeastern, Stonehill College, and his alma mater, Tufts. Skerry also spent 3 years as the Head Coach at Curry College from 1996-98.
Player to Watch: 6-7 F Marcus Damas. After spending his freshman year Westchester Community College, Damas had a very successful sophomore season for the Tigers last year. In 2011-2012, the Bay Shore, NY product averaged 12.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. With the loss of Jones, Damas will be relied on to increase his scoring and rebounding. Look for Damas to make some noise this season in the CAA and maybe even earn a few post season honors.
Prediction: It’s truly unfortunate that the Tigers are disqualified from postseason tournament this season. Towson has gained a lot of impressive additions and the Tigers should be well led by Damas and 6-1 sophomore G Kris Walden. They’re definitely bigger, longer and more talented this season but it will probably be for nothing. Towson will face a one-year ban from all NCAA and CAA postseason play due to the team’s past cumulative NCAA Academic Performance Rate (APR) scores. Hopefully, Coach Skerry can continue to see an improvement in his team’s collective grades this season like he did last year.
Jake Fischer is the CAA Correspondent for the Arena Pulse at Rant Sports. Make sure to follow Jake on Twitter @fischsportsline.