Benson adds five to 2015-16 signing class

Benson adds five to 2015-16 signing class

VIDEO: Chuck Benson Interview

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman head men's basketball coach Chuck Benson has announced the signing of five student athletes to his 2015-16 recruiting class.  The five additions bring Carson-Newman's signing class for the upcoming season to six. 

"We've got a strong core returning," Benson said. "We wanted to feel like we were building quality depth though. I think we've done that both on the floor and with guys who are academically sound and will fit Carson-Newman socially well, too."

The Eagles bring in a trio of post players and a pair of guards. 

Parker Role' (6-8 forward, Atlanta, Ga.) – TWITTER: @P_Role24

Role' transfers to Carson-Newman from Montevallo and will have three years of eligibility remaining. 

He served as a role player on the Falcons Sweet 16 team last year.  He played in 24 of the Falcons' contests and averaged 8.5 minutes per appearance. He finished the year with a 1.8 scoring average and 2.2 rebounds per game. He connected on 63 percent of his field goal attempts as a freshman. 

"He's got tons of potential," Benson said. "He's intelligent, athletic and he wants to be good.  He gives us depth at the three, four and five. He's so versatile we can play him about anywhere on the floor."

Role' scored a career high 10 points in the Falcons' win over Carver Bible on a career best five-for-nine shooting.

He attended Parkview High School where he was third team all-region honoree and a Gwinnett County All-Star. He led his region in rebounds.

Role'  is studying political science.  He is the son of Chett and Wendy Role and has three brothers, Remington, Brett, and Chett.

Josh Murray (6-9, 220 forward, Burlington, N.C.)

Murray transfers to Carson-Newman from Jacksonville University and will have two years of eligibility remaining. 

Murray was a reserve player for the Dolphins who came off the bench in 16 games in his sophomore season.  He averaged 0.9 points per game and 1.1 rebounds with four-point efforts against Hofstra, Florida International and Northern Kentucky highlighting his season.

"He gives us a big thick, physical body type that we haven't had in several years here," Benson said. "He's a heady five who can run, jump, block shots and finish above the rim."

As a freshman, he came off the bench 21 times to score 0.7 points and grab 1.5 boards a game. He grabbed a career high six rebounds in his first collegiate game against Trinity Baptist.

Murray went to Cummings High School where he was named to the 2A All-State team in 2012-13. He was also an All-Region selection while leading Cummings to a 21-5 record as a senior. He was named MVP of the Eastern Guilford Christmas Holiday Tournament, recording a triple-double of 22 points, 20 rebounds and 10 blocks in the title game.

Zack Pangallo (6-0, 170 guard, Newport, Ky.) – TWITTER: @zach_pangallo

Zack Pangallo comes to Carson-Newman from Newport Central Catholic High School where he averaged 11.5 points and 4.2 assists per game as a senior.  He finished his Thoroughbred career as the school's third all-time leader in assists.

"He was a successful multi-sport athlete in high school," Benson said. "He's one we feel like we stole. He is the definition of true point play, especially with the way we want that position to be played.  He can shoot as well as create for others. He won at such a high level in high school that he understands the elements that lead to winning."

Pangallo spurned multiple Division I baseball scholarship offers to come to Carson-Newman for basketball. 

On the hardwood, Pangallo helped guide Newport Central Catholic to a trio of All A state titles as a well as a quartet of District 36 championships. 

He played under head coach Ron Dawn, the father of Marshall University great Ronny Dawn who drained a 35-foot three to hand WVU a 58-55 loss in 2005.

He is a two-time All A State MVP and landed on all-tournament teams for the 9th Region and 36th District.  He is a two-time Division II Dave Cowens Mr. Hustle Award Winner.  

Thanks to his accomplishments in the classroom, Pangallo earned Academic All-State first team honors three years and is a member of the National Honor Society. 

He is the son of Jennifer and Chris Pangallo. His uncle Nick played basketball collegiately at Northern Kentucky while another uncle Rocky starred for the Eastern Kentucky baseball team.  

Matt Knight (6-5, 215 forward, Abingdon, Va.) – TWITTER: @matt_knight34

Matt Knight makes his way to Mossy Creek from Abingdon High School where he played for coach BJ Lasley. Knight is a member of the Falcon's 1,000-point club. His senior season he averaged a double-double with 20+ points per game.

"He's got great bloodlines with this brothers playing at Tusculum," Benson said. "He can post and score as well as shoot the three. He reminds me a bit of Carson Brooks coming out of high school."

Knight was a member of the all-conference team as well as a Washington County Community Scholar.

His family is quite athletic, his older twin brothers Jonathan and Josh both play for Tusculum. He is the son of Dwayne and Johnice Knight. His uncle Steve played football at the University of Tennessee before moving on to the Indianapolis Colts.  He plans to study business administration at Carson-Newman.

Kenny Lewis (6-3, 180 guard, Fayetteville, Ga.)

Kenny Lewis joins Carson-Newman after finishing his high school career at Fayette County High School for coach Andre Flynn.

He averaged 21 points and six assists a game his senior year in helping the Tigers to a Christmas tournament championships.

"He's a combo guard who can score at all three levels," Benson said. "We feel like he has the potential to come in and give us some minutes because his game is mature beyond what his years indicate."  

Lewis earned All-Region honors as a senior.

He is the son of Kenneth Ryan Lewis. He plans on studying business at Carson-Newman. 

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