CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Coastal Carolinas mens basketball program was voted to finish second in the Big South Conference race, while senior guard Pele Paelay (Derwood, Md./Magruder) and sophomore guard Jack Leasure (Rochester, N.Y./McQuaid Jesuit) were selected to the preseason All-Big South squad, as voted by the leagues head coaches, sports information directors and media panel. The announcements were made at the leagues annual Tip-Off Luncheon in Charlotte, N.C.,Oct. 13.
Under first-year head coach Buzz Peterson, the Chanticleers were selected to finish behind defending league champion Winthrop in the conference race. The Eagles received all 32 first-place votes and 288 points, while Coastal finished at 201 points, one point ahead of UNC Asheville in third. Liberty was picked fourth at 173 points, followed by High Point (159), Birmingham-Southern (154), Radford (114), Charleston Southern (88) and VMI (62).
"I don't put a lot into rankings," Peterson commented "That credit needs to go to the previous staff because of the players returning and their signees. If I had my way, I would want to be picked ninth and build from there. What is important is how we finish up at the end of the year. When you get there, nobody recognizes how you were rated at the beginning of the year. Also with talented players like Paelay and Leasure who have made the impact, much of this is due to their performance last year and the returners as much as anything else."
The 2004-05 Big South Player of the Year, Paelay finished second in the voting behind this seasons Preseason Player of the Year Torrell Martin of Winthrop. The guard started 28 of 29 games last year and led the Big South in scoring with 16.8 points per game. He also led the league and ranked 21st nationally in steals and was sixth in rebounding and 11th in assists in the conference. Paelay scored in double figures in 27 of 29 games and led CCU in scoring 14 times and rebounds in 12 games. He scored a career-high and league season-high 38 points at VMI last season.
Leasure, the 2004-05 Big South Freshman of the Year, averaged 14.5 poinits a game last season and increased the output to 15.8 during league play, fifth-best overall. He led the Conference and ranked in the top 30 nationally with 2.93 three-pointers per game and .425 three-point field goal percentage, and carries a streak of 21-straight games with a three-pointer into the season. Leasure saved his best for last, scoring a career-high 25 points, including five three-pointers, in the 2005 Big South Quarterfinals at top-seeded Winthrop.
The league office also announced the initial Big South Conference television package for the 2005-06 season, with Coastal Carolina getting a home TV game at Kimbel Arena, their first at home since the win over Winthrop on ESPN during the 2002-03 campaign. The Chanticleers will host Birmingham-Southern, Sat., Feb. 18 with a noon tip off. Additionally, the 2006 Advance Auto Parts Big South Basketball Semifinals, Mar. 2, and Championship, Mar. 4, will be televised on ESPNU and ESPN2, respectively.
Both Coastal basketball programs will host Midnight Mania at Kimbel Arena, Tue., Oct. 18 at 9 p.m., immediately following the CCU volleyball match with College of Charleston. The Chanticleers will open the 2005-06 regular season on the road at Jacksonville State, Mon., Nov. 21 at 7 p.m.