March 3, 2011

SKEEN, RODRIGUEZ EARN ALL-CAA ACCOLADES

RICHMOND, Va. – Seniors, no matter what collegiate sport, always want to go out and leave their mark on whatever program and university they represent.

The four seniors on the Virginia Commonwealth University basketball team will aim to do exactly that starting on Saturday in the quarterfinals of the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament.

Prior to starting that quest, two of those seniors were sent home with hardware at the annual CAA banquet with Jamie Skeen and Joey Rodriguez both earning all-league accolades. Skeen was named All-CAA Second Team, while Rodriguez earned a spot on the Third Team.

"Seniors are the players that coaches rely upon the most throughout the season," Head Coach Shaka Smart said. "Both Jamie and Joey, along with our other two seniors, did a great job at various times throughout the year of stepping up and being a leader. Plus, it's always nice to see your guys get recognized for their hard work."

Skeen leads the Black & Gold in scoring, rebounding, field-goal percentage, blocks and made free-throw attempts. He enters the weekend ranking in the top-15 in the CAA in five statistical categories, including in the top-10 in both scoring (14.8 ppg) and rebounding (7.6 rpg).

Earler this year, in a road victory at Delaware, he notched his 1,000th collegiate point when he scored 32 points against the Fightin' Blue Hens. He now sits at 1,063 points and 617 rebounds over his four seasons at the collegiate level (two at Wake Forest, two at VCU).

"It's nice to get recognized, but ultimately this award doesn't mean anything if we don't take care of business this weekend," Skeen said. "We're win to win and that's all my teammates and I are worried about right now."

Rodriguez earned All-CAA accolades for the second straight season after leading the CAA in assist-to-turnover ratio, 2.2, yet again. The Merritt Island, Fla. native averaged 10.6 points, 4.7 assists and 3.4 rebounds per night, all while serving as the floor general for the Black & Gold.

"There's a reason I call Joey the general," Smart said. "He does so many little things that don't necessarily show up in a boxscore, but there are nights when we really need it, that he can turn it on in so many different ways."

He currently is VCU's all-time leader in games played with 133, just 10 minutes away from becoming the all-time leader in minutes played (currently at 4,081), second in three-pointers with 199 and fifth in assists with 518. The 518 assists also place him 10th all-time in CAA history.

"I don't get this recognition without my teammates," Rodriguez said. "They are the reason I show up and play as hard as I do. They are the reason I want to go out and win this championship so bad."

Rodriguez and his crew will get their first shot on the way to the CAA Championship when they play either fifth-seeded Drexel or 12th-seeded Towson Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at the Richmond Coliseum.

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