Since taking over as Towson’s coach two years ago, Pat Skerry has focused his recruiting on the East Coast, landing players from North Carolina, Virginia, Delaware, D.C., Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. Noticeably absent from that list of states has been Maryland – until this week.
Allen Costley, a 6-foot-4, 205-pound guard/forward from Milford Mill, committed to the Tigers on Tuesday. The Baltimore Sun first-team All-Metro player picked Towson over offers from Central Connecticut State, Florida Atlantic, Morgan State and Radford, among others.
“It feels great,” Costley said Tuesday night. “I guess it’s just like, I’m doing something well. They did tell me that they don’t really recruit from Baltimore [a ton]. It feels … special.”
Costley started hearing from Towson last fall, just as he began his junior year at Milford Mill following a transfer from St. Frances. The Tigers were coming off a 1-31 season, but Costley didn’t seem to care about past years of basketball ineptitude.
“I started thinking about who they play and how they play and how I would fit in there,” Costley said. “I just started looking at games on YouTube. I liked how they play. They play an up-tempo game.”
Skerry and Towson assistant coach Kevin Clark stayed in contact throughout a 2012-13 season which saw Costley lead the Millers to the Class 3A state championship and the Tigers complete the largest single-season turnaround in NCAA Division I history.
“He had faith in the coaching staff,” said Milford Mill coach Mike Silverman. “They showed a lot of interest from Day 1. … Coach Skerry and Coach Clark did a great job recruiting Allen at Milford. They conveyed that they are [enthusiastic] about the way Allen [handled] himself on the floor.”
Costley, who averaged 15.3 points and 7.2 rebounds as a junior, decided early on that he wanted to stay close to his Owings Mills home for college. Proximity gave Towson, Morgan State and Maryland – which Costley said expressed some interest but didn’t offer – a leg up on out-of-town schools.
“He took an unofficial visit to Towson several months ago,” Silverman said. “He kept talking about how much he enjoyed being around the coaching staff and the new facilities as well. It’s definitely huge for Allen, especially being so close to his mom and family. His brother plays at Stevenson. Towson is a program that cares about seeing him develop as a student-athlete as well.”
In addition to location, Costley said a major factor in his choosing Towson was his relationship with the coaching staff – Skerry in particular.
“He’s similar to my high school coach right now,” said Costley, who expects to play the 2 and 3 for the Tigers. “He’s kind of an exciting guy. But I think it’ll be a good experience playing for him.”
Silverman, meanwhile, is looking forward to seeing his star player continue his development as a “high-level player” at Towson.
“One of the things Coach Skerry loves about Allen is that every time he plays, he brings a ton of energy to the floor,” Silverman said. “He has a pitbull mentality. He does what he needs to do to get the job done. I firmly believe he has the mentality that you want in a system.”