CONWAY, SC Coastal Carolina's men's basketball squad was picked to finish second in the Big South Conference at the league's annual Media Day in Charlotte, N.C., October 11. This marks the second straight year that the Chanticleers have been picked second by the league's head coaches, sports information directors and selected media members. Additionally, junior Jack Leasure (Rochester, N.Y./McQuaid Jesuit) was named to the league's Preseason All-Big South team.
Under second year head coach Buzz Peterson, the Chanticleers, last year's regular-season and tournament runner-up, finished second in the voting with 187 points. Winthrop, the two-time defending champion, was the unanimous pick to win the title, while High Point was picked third with 182 points. The remaining picks, in order, are Charleston Southern (121), Liberty (117), UNC Asheville (100), Radford (87) and VMI (46).
The Big South Conference Player of the Year for the 2005-06 season and Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American in 2005-06, Leasure led the Chanticleers and ranked fifth in the league in scoring at 17.8 points per game. He finished second the nation in three-pointers per game at 4.17 and ranks in the top 30 nationally in three-point field goal percentage, hitting 41.9 percent (125-for-298) from beyond the arc. He set a new league record for single-season three pointers with 125, surpassing Radford's Doug Day with 117, accomplished during the 1991-92 season. Leasure also ranked among the top 10 in the league in assists (2nd, 4.07 apg), steals (6th, 1.63 spg), three-point field goal percentage (5th, .419) and assist-to-turnover ratio (6th, 1.47). This is the third time in the last four years that a Coastal player has won the Player of the Year award, as Paelay was the 2005 recipient, while Torrey Butler captured the honors in 2003.
Leasure was also been named the Big South's Men's Basketball's Scholar-Athlete of the Year and to the All-Academic squad by the league's SIDs. A history major with a 3.71 grade-point average, the sophomore was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District First Team as presented by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) earlier this year. This marked the first time in league history that both the Player of the Year and Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards were earned by the same player.
The Chanticleers wrapped up their most successful season last year in 13 years, going 20-10, including 12-4 in league play, and advancing to the Big South Conference Tournament championship game.