Big South Preview 2015-16

With apologies to the Big South... Had we had more time, we would have dove (diven? dived?) deeper into your lovely league.

1.     Coastal Carolina
2.     High Point
3.     Winthrop
4.     Gardner-Webb
5.     Longwood
6.     UNC Asheville
7.     Campbell
8.     Radford
9.     Charleston Southern
10.  Presbyterian
11.  Liberty

Player of the Year: John Brown, High Point
Coach of the Year: Cliff Ellis, Coastal Carolina
Rookie of the Year: Chris Clemons, Campbell

All-Conference 1st Team
C/F Lotanna Nwogbo, Longwood
F Badou Diagne, Coastal Carolina
F John Brown, High Point
G Elijah Wilson, Coastal Carolina
G Keon Johnson, Winthrop

All-Conference 2nd Team
C/F Desean Murray, Presbyterian
F Tyrell Nelson, Gardner-Webb
F Lorenzo Cugini, High Point
G David Robertson, UNC Asheville
G Shivaughn Wiggins, Coastal Carolina

All-Conference 3rd Team
C/F Khris Lane, Longwood
F Xavier Cooks, Winthrop
F D.J. Mason, Campbell
G Adam Weary, High Point
G Rashun Davis, Radford

All-Freshman Team
C/F Ezra Talbert, Liberty
F Bjorn Broman, Winthrop
G Darius Moore, Presbyterian
G Armel Potter, Charleston Southern
G Chris Clemons, Campbell

The Big South had four teams last season win at least 20 games (High Point, Coastal Carolina, Radford, and Gardner Webb) and seven teams win at least 10 conference games. With such parity at the top, the eventual recipient of the auto-bid to the Big Dance was anybody’s guess. After a competitive conference tournament, Coastal Carolina took the crown and introduced the masses to one of the best nicknames in all of college sports – the Chanticleers. This season promises to yield yet another tight race at the top as the Chanticleers try to make it back to college basketball’s heaven.

Coastal Carolina should be considered the favorite this season, but not by a wide margin. The Chanticleers are led by senior big man Badou Diagne from Senegal. Diagne is an excellent rebounder, good shot blocker, and can hit the three as well. Coastal’s guard tandem is solid as well with South Carolina transfer Jaylen Shaw, and backcourt mates Elijah Wilson and Shivaughn Wiggins. The Chanticleers’ main competition this season will come from the High Point Panthers, who won the regular season Big South crown last season on a tiebreaker. High Point is led by the best player in the conference in 6’8’’ forward John Brown. Brown is an absolute beast, averaging nearly 20 points per contest last season. He should win the Big South POY without breaking a sweat.

The competition drops off slightly after the Coastal / High Point tier. Winthrop, Gardner-Webb, Longwood, and UNC Asheville will all fight for the 3 – 6 spots this season. Winthrop is led by 5’7’’ firecracker Keon Johnson, one of the better guards in the conference. Gardner-Webb will be reliant upon big man Tyrell Nelson, JUCO transfer Jamaal Robateau, and senior point guard Harold McBride for most of their production. Longwood is a hilarious school name and also a so-so basketball team: they boast one of the best centers in the league with Lotanna Nwogbo and should be a tough beat once point guard Leron Fisher comes back from his early season suspension. UNC Asheville has a strong backcourt led by junior David Robertson; look for Will Weeks to breakout in the frontcourt.

The bottom tier of the league is made up of Campbell, Radford, Charleston Southern, Presbyterian, and Liberty. While Campbell and Radford have the chops to distance themselves away from the other three squads, neither team will sniff the top of the league standings. Campbell does have perhaps the best freshman in the league in Chris Clemons. Charleston Southern’s best player most likely will be Demetrius Pollard from Northeastern; Presbyterian has one of the better players in the league with Desean Murray (and they’re nickname is the Blue Hose). Liberty is flaming (play on words) hot garbage.

Overall, the Big South will be a two-team race for the Auto-Bid (and most likely a 16 seed in the Dance). Coastal Carolina and High Point figure to trade blows all season long. Most teams play some strong competition early on in the season, so perhaps an upset or two will bring more media attention to the league (but probably not). One player worth watching this year, though, is John Brown – I fully intend to watch at least one or two High Point games this season.


1. Coastal Carolina

Key Losses: Warren Gillis, Josh Cameron
Key Returners: Eilijah Wilson, Badou Diagne, Shivaughn Wiggins

Key Newcomers: Jaylen Shaw, Kevin Holmes, Jr.

F Michael Enanga, Sr.; (2.6/3.6/0.9/0.6/0.2)
F Badou Diagne, Sr.; (9.5/7.3/0.7/0.8/1.0)
G Jaylen Shaw, Jr.; (w/ South Carolina) (3.0/0.5/1.1/0.2/0.0)
G Elijah Wilson, Jr.; (11.3/3.5/0.6/0.6/0.2)
G Shivaughn Wiggins, Jr.; (10.0/2.8/3.3/1.2/0.1)

Reserves: Marcus Freeman, Ron Trapps, Colton Ray-St Cyr
Postseason Prediction: 16 Seed (Auto-Bid)

2. High Point

Key Losses: Devante Wallace
Key Returners: John Brown, Lorenzo Cugini, Adam Weary

Key Newcomers: Andre Fox, Ricky Madison  

F John Brown, Sr.; (19.3/6.0/1.2/1.2/1.0)
F Lorenzo Cugini, Sr.; (9.8/4.8/1.0/0.2/0.1)
G Anthony Lindauer, Jr.; (3.9/1.5/0.9/0.6/0.1)
G Adam Weary, Sr.; (9.3/2.4/2.7/0.6/0.1)
G Haiishen McIntyre, Sr.; (4.2/1.8/2.7/0.9/0.1)

Reserves: Andre Fox, Tarique Thompson, Jorge Perez-Laham
Postseason Prediction

3. Winthrop

Key Losses: Keon Moore, Andre Smith
Key Returners: Keon Johnson

Key Newcomers: Bjorn Broman, Roderick Perkins, Adam Pickett, Zach Price

C Zach Price, Sr.; (JUCO)
F Tevin Prescott, Sr.; (6.9/4.9/0.2/0.7/0.6)
F Xavier Cooks, So.; (7.8/6.1/1.5/0.8/1.5)
G Keon Johnson, Jr.; (11.5/2.4/1.9/0.7/0.0)
G Jimmy Gavin, Sr.; (D-II)

Reserves: Josh Davenport, Duby Okeke, Larry Brown, Jarad Scott, Bjorn Broman, Roderick Perkins, Adam Pickett
Postseason Prediction: None

4. Gardner-Webb

Key Losses: Jerome Hill, Jarvis Davis
Key Returners: Tyrell Nelson, Harold McBride

Key Newcomers: Jamaal Robateau, Laquincy Rideau, Brandon Miller, L’Hassane Niangane

F Tyrell Nelson, Jr.; (13.9/6.5/0.8/0.6/0.8)
G/F Jamaal Robateau, So.; (JUCO)
G Adonis Burbage, Sr.; (8.2/2.5/1.1/0.7/0.1)
G Isaiah Ivey, Sr.; (3.5/2.0/0.9/0.3/0.3)
G Harold McBride, Sr.; (8.0/2.2/2.3/1.1/0.1)

Reserves: Dylan Poston, Laquincy Rideau, Brandon Miller, L’Hassane Niangane, Herve Aholode
Postseason Prediction: None

5. Longwood

Key Losses: Quincy Taylor, Shaquille Johnson
Key Returners: Lotanna Nwogbo, Leron Fisher

Key Newcomers: Bryan Gee, Khris Lane

C Lotanna Nwogbo, Sr.; (12.9/8.2/0.4/0.7/0.9)
F Khris Lane, So.; (w/ Drexel) (0.0/0.0/0.0/0.3/0.0)
G Kanayo Obi-Rapu, So.; (4.4/2.1/0.7/0.5/0.1)
G Darrion Allen, Jr.; (5.2/2.2/0.9/0.7/0.4)        
G Leron Fisher, Sr.; (10.8/2.7/2.5/1.9/0.1)

Reserves: Bryan Gee, Isaac Belton, Tra’Vaughn White, Al Burge
Postseason Prediction: None 

6. UNC Asheville

Key Losses: Andrew Rowsey
Key Returners: David Robertson, Kevin Vannatta

Key Newcomers: Dwayne Sutton, Trae Bryant, Dylan Smith

C Giacomo Zilli, Jr.; (5.4/4.3/0.7/0.3/0.8)
F Will Weeks, Jr.; (4.5/4.5/1.3/0.6/0.0)
G David Robertson, Jr.; (10.7/2.2/2.7/1.1/0.0)
G Kevin Vannatta, So.; (7.6/3.6/2.5/1.0/0.0)
G Ahmad Thomas, So.; (5.6/3.3/1.0/0.8/0.4)

Reserves: Sam Hughes, Dwayne Sutton, John Cannon, Dylan Smith, Alex Wnuk
Postseason Prediction: None

7. Campbell

Key Losses: Andre Ryan, Reco McCarter
Key Returners: D.J. Mason, Curtis Phillips, Kyre’ Hamer

Key Newcomers: Chris Clemons, Andrew Eudy, Khadre Lane, Shane Whitfield

F D.J. Mason, Sr.; (11.2/5.2/2.0/0.7/0.9)
F Rod Days, Sr.; (3.4/2.2/0.7/0.5/0.4)
F Curtis Phillips, So.; (8.6/4.2/1.0/0.9/0.4)
G Kyre’ Hamer, Jr.; (8.3/3.9/2.3/1.6/0.4)
G Quinton Ray, So.; (1.5/1.9/1.7/0.6/0.0)

Reserves: Chris Clemons, Andrew Eudy, Troy Harper, Khadre Lane, Shane Whitfield
Postseason Prediction: None

8. Radford

Key Losses: Javonte Green, R.J. Price
Key Returners: YaYa Anderson, Cameron Jones, Rashun Davis

Key Newcomers: Sterling Christy, Darius Bolstad, Ed Polite, Jr., Christian Lutete, Caleb Tanner

C Brandon Holcomb, Sr.; (6.0/4.5/0.8/0.4/1.4)
F Kion Brown, Sr.; (2.5/1.8/0.2/0.1/0.2)
G/F Cameron Jones, Sr.; (8.5/2.8/0.6/0.4/0.3)
G YaYa Anderson, Sr.; (9.3/1.9/1.8/0.8/0.0)
G Rashun Davis, Sr.; (7.7/2.2/3.5/1.2/0.0)

Reserves: Sterling Christy, Justin Cousin, Darius Bolstad, Ed Polite, Jr., Christian Lutete, Taj Owens, Caleb Tanner
Postseason Prediction: None

9. Charleston Southern

Key Losses: Saah Nimley, Arlon Harper, Will Saunders, Cedrick Bowen
Key Returners: Aaron Wheeler

Key Newcomers: Demetrius Pollard, Patrick Wallace, Armel Potter, Melvin Brooks

F Jarvis Howard, So.; (2.1/1.0/0.2/0.2/0.0)
F Aaron Wheeler, Sr.; (7.9/5.2/2.4/1.1/0.6)
G Patrick Wallace, Jr.; (w/ NC State) (1.2/0.4/0.2/0.0/0.0)
G Demetrius Pollard, Sr.; (w/ Northeastern) (8.9/1.8/2.1/0.7/0.1)
G Armel Potter, Fr.;

Reserves: Melvin Brooks, Reuben King, Wesley Johnson, Danny Upchurch, Ugo Mmonu
Postseason Prediction: None

10. Presbyterian

Key Losses: Jordan Downing, William Truss
Key Returners: Desean Murray, Markus Terry

Key Newcomers: John Majors II, Austin Venable, Darius Moore

F John Majors II, Jr.; (JUCO)
F Desean Murray, So.; (15.7/8.2/1.6/1.5/0.5)
G/F Reggie Dillard, So.; (13-14) (12.1/3.7/3.9/0.9/0.2)
G Markus Terry, Jr.; (8.2/2.3/1.4/0.5/0.1)
G Darius Moore, Fr.;

Reserves: Austin Venable, Davon Bell, Jaron Withers, Ruben Arroyo, Ed Drew
Postseason Prediction: None

11. Liberty

Key Losses: Theo Johnson (suspended), Tomasz Gielo, David Andoh, Andrew Smith
Key Returners: None

Key Newcomers: Anthony Fields, Lovell Cabbil, Ezra Talbert, Hansel Atencia, Caleb Homesley, Ryan Hiepler

F Ezra Talbert, Fr.;
F A.C. Reid, So.; (4.0/1.8/1.1/0.4/0.1)
G Ryan Kemrite, So.; (4.8/1.5/0.4/0.6/0.0)
G Lovell Cabbil, Fr.;
G Anthony Fields, Sr.; (w/ Bradley) (1.2/0.4/0.2/0.3/0.0)

Reserves: Hansel Atencia, Caleb Homesley, Ryan Hiepler
Postseason Prediction
Note: Theo Johnson suspended indefinitely in October