Jerrelle Benimon, Nate Lubick

Towson, Jerrelle Benimon off to hot start in CAA play

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If you are a Georgetown fan, please, stop reading this now.

Just turn off your laptop and put away your iPhone. Trust me on this. Because after watching your Hoyas struggle to score 50 points for what seems like the 10th consecutive game in a 73-45 loss at home to Pitt, you probably don’t want to know that a former Hoya is well on his way to winning the CAA Player of the Year award.

That would be Jerrelle Benimon.

After going for 26 points, 12 boards, seven blocks, three assists and three steals in a double-overtime win over William & Mary last night, Benimon is now averaging 17.1 points, 11.7 boards and 2.3 blocks. He’s got 10 double-doubles on the season now.

But more importantly, he’s put Towson back on the map. The Tigers won just a single game last year. Seriously. One win. They were the worst team in Division I basketball. And while their rise this year has to do with Pat Skerry’s crop of transfers and incoming freshmen, it’s still as big of an improvement as you will find this season. The Tigers are now 3-0 in the CAA and sitting in first place in the conference. They’ve won four straight games, the first time that has happened for the program since 2000. They went into Corvallis and knocked off Oregon State.

Much of that improvement can be placed on the shoulders of Benimon.

You have to wonder.

How much would Benimon’s scoring ability have helped the Big East’s ugliest offensive this season?

You know what? For the sake of the good folks on the Hilltop, don’t answer that.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

SMU won’t appeal tournament ban, Brown suspension

Associated Press
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Last month the NCAA announced that due to rules violations found in their investigation of the SMU men’s basketball program, the team would be banned from postseason play in 2015-16 and head coach Larry Brown would be suspended for the first nine games of the 2015-16 season. With a team led by seniors Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy and just one player (Keith Frazier) being the subject of the investigation, it was assumed that SMU would at the very least appeal the postseason ban.

Friday, the school announced that while it will appeal some of the penalties handed down by the NCAA to the men’s basketball and men’s golf programs they will not appeal the postseason ban or Brown’s suspension.

“After careful consideration, however, we will not appeal the NCAA post-season ban on men’s basketball or partial season suspension of Head Men’s Basketball Coach Larry Brown,” SMU president R. Gerald Turner stated in the release. “Although we regret the severe impact on our student-athletes, the simple fact is that the NCAA penalty structure mandates at minimum a one-year post-season ban for the level of misconduct that occurred, in our case, when a former staff member completed an online high school course for a prospective student-athlete, committing academic misconduct.

“In addition, should we appeal this matter, the lengthy process and uncertainty during this period could harm many aspects of the program. Coach Brown and his staff also agree that it is in the best interests of the program to accept these sanctions and move forward.”

Among the penalties the school will appeal (with regards to the basketball program) are the “duration of scholarship losses” and how long the recruiting restrictions placed on the program will last, and the vacating of games Frazier played in during the 2013-14 season.

This a tough turn of events for players who had nothing to do with the violations, as they see their opportunity to return to the NCAA tournament taken away. As a result of the school’s decision, SMU’s season will end March 9 following their regular season finale against Cincinnati.

Kevin Marfo commits to George Washington

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Kevin Marfo committed to George Washington on Friday evening, announcing his decision on Twitter.

“I am grateful and appreciative to all the schools that recruited me. But I will be spending the next four years at George Washington University,” he tweeted.

This caps a successful week for Mike Lonergan on the recruiting trail. On Tuesday, GW landed a commitment from Darnell Rogers, a 5-foot-3 point guard. He is the son of former GW guard Shawnta Rogers, the 1999 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. GW ends the week by adding a tenacious rebounder to a front court that graduates top rebounder Kevin Larsen after this season. Rogers and Marfo join power forward Collin Smith in the Class of 2016. Seton Hall transfer Jaren Sina will also be eligible in 2016-17.

He cut his list to 10 in August with Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Boston College, UMass, Saint Joseph’s, DePaul, Rhode Island and Providence all making the cut along wit the Colonials. He later trimmed the list to five finalists: BC, Providence, DePaul, GW and Rhode Island.

The Worcester Academy (Mass.) forward played for BABC this summer in the Nike EYBL, averaging 11.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.  The 6-foot-8 Marfo is listed as the No. 148 overall player in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.