RICHMOND, Va. â€“ Some of the countryâ€™s best coaches, Bruce Pearl and Ben Howland, commented on the incredible balance that the Virginia Commonwealth University menâ€™s basketball team brings to each game and how it can be a nightmare to try and defend.
That balance has been on the forefront of the Rams early season success and it has been rewarded with a third straight Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Week honor, this time for senior forward Jamie Skeen. The Charlotte, N.C. native earns his first weekly accolade and shares it with JMU big man Denzel Bowles.
â€œJamie told me a few days before the Tennessee game that he wanted the ball more,â€ Head Coach Shaka Smart said. â€œSo we said okay, weâ€™ll get you the ball more. To whom much is given, much is expected, and he certainly produced this week.â€
It is the first time in the at least the last 10 years of CAA history that three different players from same team won the weekly award in consecutive weeks. Joey Rodriguez (11/15) and Bradford Burgess (11/22) won the award in the two weeks prior.
Skeen was a force down low for the Black & Gold averaging 17.5 points and 11.5 rebounds during the squadâ€™s two games at the NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden.
In VCUâ€™s tough loss to 24th-ranked Tennessee, he recorded his second career double-double at VCU with 12 points and a game-high 14 rebounds, while knocking down 8-of-9 from the charity stripe.
His breakout offensive performance came in the third-place game against UCLA where he tallied a game-high 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting, along with nine rebounds and one block.
For his performance, Skeen was named to the All-Tournament Team, where he was joined by Reeves Nelson of UCLA, Mouphtaou Yarou of Villanova, Tobias Harris of Tennessee and the Tournament Most Outstanding Player, Scotty Hopson of Tennessee.
On the season, he is averaging 15.0 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocks, while shooting 52.3 percent from the field.
Skeen and his teammates will return to action on Wednesday night when they travel to South Florida for a 7 p.m. showdown in the Sunshine State.