VIDEO: Chuck Benson Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman head men's basketball coach Chuck Benson has announced the signing of four student athletes to join the C-N basketball team for the 2018-19 season.
The Eagles add a quartet of guards. Two join Carson-Newman from other colleges, a third from a prep school and the fourth straight out of high school.
"We feel like we have quality pieces in place for next year and we've added value to that with this signing group," Benson said. "I'm excited to see how we transition from the Charles Clark/Shaun Jones era with the group of players we already have on campus and these four coming in."
Luke Brenegan – G - 6-3 – 185 – Greenville, S.C. – Wade Hampton
Brenegan makes his way to Mossy Creek from Wade Hampton High School where he played for Reggie Choplin. He led the Generals and his conference in scoring, averaging 21.9 points per game. He also chipped in five boards and three assists per game as a senior.
He earned All-State honors, landing on the first team and was his conference's MVP. He helped Wade Hampton to a conference title.
Brenegan graduated high school with honors. He is the son of John Brenegan.
Blake Ervin – G – 6-4 – 195 – Maryville, Tenn. – Heritage – Roane State - @blakeervin23
Ervin will have three years eligibility remaining with Carson-Newman after spending year-one collegiately at Roane State.
Ervin averaged 10.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists in his only season at Roane State. A highly efficient guard, Ervin shot 51.8 percent from the field and made 47.3 percent of his threes. He had 14 double-digit scoring efforts on the year, topping out at 26 points in an 84-73 win over Motlow State. Ervin was an unconscious 8-for-9 from long range that day. That game was one of 11 for Ervin where he knocked down at least three threes at a bare-minimum 50 percent clip.
"Blake has turned into a good, solid college basketball player," Benson said. "He is tough mentally and physically and fits in with what we do as a program. He was an elite scorer and shooter last year at Roane State."
In high school, he played for Bill Duncan at Heritage where he averaged 15 points per game and earned district MVP, tournament MVP and all-district honors. He twice helped the Mountaineers to district titles.
The son of Georgette Kirk, he plans to study business at Carson-Newman.
Zailan Peeler – G – 6-3 – 175 – Charlotte, N.C. – Myers Park – Tusculum - @zailanpeeler
Peeler will sit out a year due to league transfer rules, but will redshirt and have three years of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2019-20 season.
Peeler starred at rival Tusculum during his freshman year. He appeared in 25 games for the Pioneers, earning eight starts. He averaged 6.4 points and 1.4 rebounds per game. Peeler's top effort for the Pioneers came against Catawba when he poured in 23 points going 6-for-10 from deep. He was also effective in a game against Carson-Newman, logging his first career double-digit scoring effort against the Eagles with 18 points. He was 5-for-7 from deep that night.
"We looked at him out of high school and I'm glad that we connected this second time around," Benson said. "He's a guy that has a versatile skillset on both sides of the ball. We think that he will make an immediate impact once he gets that redshirt/transfer year under his belt with plenty of work with our strength staff."
In high school, Peeler averaged 22.6 points, 7.4 assists and 1.7 steals in his senior prep campaign playing for Scott Taylor at Meyers Park High School. He was a two-time all-conference selection and had a season-high 27 points with six rebounds against Charlotte Catholic HS in 2017. He helped lead Myers Park to the 2015 NCHSAA Regional Elite 8.
He is the son of Patricia Mapp and plans to study accounting at Carson-Newman.
Caleb Bridgewater – G – 6-4 – 187 – Mount Holly, N.C. – East Gaston - @CabBridge
Bridgewater joins Carson-Newman after suiting up for Eugene Farrar at East Gaston High School. He led the Warriors in scoring his senior year with 15.5 points per game. He scored a season-high 29 points. He was twice named all-conference and earned team MVP honors as a senior.
"He can shoot and defend; we're excited about his potential," Benson said. "We're obviously excited about him as a player, but more importantly, we like how he and his family fit in with our program. He's a great human being."
The son of Angela and Howard Beatty, he plans to study business at Carson-Newman.