- The Washington Times - Monday, June 23, 2014

Jerrelle Benimon is not a name anyone would expect you to know.

He is not a Jabari Parker or an Andrew Wiggins, who are household names for college basketball fans, and his name does not appear on any of the major draft projections. But if he is selected in Thursday’s NBA draft he could surprise those who overlooked him.

He already has proven to be a revelation to some.

“I don’t think we realized what we were getting in Jerrelle,” said Towson coach Pat Skerry. “I don’t think we realized he would be a two-time CAA player of the year, but he has the work ethic and worked very hard to get there.”

A Warrenton, Virginia, native, Benimon played at Fauquier High School before beginning his college career at Georgetown. But two seasons with the Hoyas didn’t prove very productive; he averaged only 10.3 minutes as a sophomore in 2010-11 and decided it was time for a change.

It didn’t take him long to find a home at Towson.

“I’ll never know what would’ve happened if I would’ve stayed at Georgetown, so it’s hard to say,” Benimon said, “but it came out pretty well.”

The move certainly benefited Benimon in terms of his numbers. In two seasons with Towson his statistics on the court improved drastically.

After sitting out the 2011-12 season per NCAA transfer rules, Benimon hit the court in 2012-13 as a junior, averaging 36 minutes a game and shooting 53.3 percent from the floor. The 6-foot-8 forward also managed to grab 11.2 rebounds per game en route to being named CAA Player of the Year.

He repeated that honor as a senior after matching his rebounding average (which ranked second in the nation) and turning in 21 double-doubles, the third-best total in the country. 

” I’ve always been a good rebounder,” said Benimon. “I think rebounding is one of those things that carries over to the next level. So I think rebounding will be one of the really big things for me.”

Now the question is whether Benimon can surprise again if he happens to be drafted in the second round or sign on somewhere as a free agent.

All the better if the team that takes a chance on him happens to be the Washington Wizards, who had him in for a pre-draft workout earlier this month.

Wherever Benimon might end up, those who know him best believe he has the tools and work ethic to succeed in the NBA, even if he might not have the pedigree. 

“Jerelle is one of those players that is very teachable,” said Skerry. “He listens and works very hard to improve. I think being drafted by the Wizards would certainly be a benefit to him, having his support system in place. But he’s one of those players who works hard enough to succeed anywhere.”

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