Oct. 24, 2013
MYRTLE BEACH - The Coastal Carolina men's basketball team has been selected third in the South Division in the Big South Conference Preseason Poll voted on by the conference's head coaches and media members as announced by the Big South Conference during the annual media day in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Charleston Southern received 28 first place votes and a total of 177 points to be named the preseason favorite in the South Division. Gardner-Webb did not receive a first-place vote but edged the Chants by two points with 117. Coastal had two first place votes and a total of 115 points to finish third in the voting. Rounding out the South Division poll was UNC Asheville (99), Winthrop (90) and Presbyterian (32).
High Point was tabbed the preseason favorite in the North Division with 25 first place votes and 175 points. Defending tournament champion, Liberty came in second with three first place votes and 137 points while Radford finished third with 104 points. The final three spots in the North Division poll were VMI (93), Campbell (78) and Longwood (43).
High Point's John Brown was tabbed as the Preseason Player of the Year. Joining Brown on the Preseason All-Big South first team were Saah Nimley and Arlon Harper of Charleston Southern, Allan Chaney of High Point and D.J. Covington from VMI. On the second team were Javonte Green of Radford, John Caleb Sanders and Davon Marshall of Liberty, Donta Harper of Gardner-Webb and Tristan Carey from Longwood.
The Coastal Carolina men's basketball team returns the bulk of its roster from the 2012-13 season, but is without its two leading scorers, Anthony Raffa and Kierre Greenwood, who closed out their Chanticleer careers this past season.
Despite the large group of returners, the Chants have just two upperclassmen returning to their lineup including senior center El Hadji Ndieguene and junior guard Warren Gillis. Hoping to add some veteran leadership, head coach Cliff Ellis brought in graduate student transfer Eric Smith, from South Carolina, who started 27 games for the Gamecocks last season.
CCU will rely heavily on a group of sophomores in the frontcourt, including Badou Diagne, Michel Enanga, Uros Ljeskovic and Tristian Curtis. Diagne, Enanga and Ljeskovic all started games for the Chants last season as freshmen, but will play a bigger role this season. Last season the Chants did not have a returner in the front court and had just one upperclassman in junior-transfer Ndieguene, but went on to lead the Big South in rebounding margin for the second straight season.
The combination of Smith and Gillis will provide veteran leadership to a backcourt featuring one of CCU's most talented recruiting classes. The Chants brought in junior-college transfer Josh Cameron, who led Connors State College to a 24-9 record last season while being named first team All-Region. Freshmen Elijah Wilson, Colton Ray-St Cyr and Ron Trapps will all battle Cameron for that third spot in the lineup.
During Wilson's senior season at Laney High School, he tied the single-game scoring record held by alumnus Michael Jordan. Ray-St Cyr enrolled at Coastal in the spring of 2013 and has had more time in the CCU system than most freshmen, while Trapps is beginning his second season with the Chants after sitting out the 2012-13 campaign due to injury.
Gillis is the Chants' lead returning scorer after averaging 10.5 ppg last season while Ndieguene returns as the top rebounder at 6.9 rpg.
Coastal will open the season on the road at the University of Akron on Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. CCU's first home contest will take place Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. against Guilford College.
Season tickets for both men's and women's basketball are on sale now and can be purchased online at GoCCUSports.com or by calling 843-347-8499.
2013-14 Men's Basketball Preseason Poll
Rk North Division (first-place votes) 1 2 3 4 5 6 Points
1. High Point (25) 25 5 -- -- -- -- 175
2. Liberty (3) 3 17 6 2 2 -- 137
3. Radford -- 5 15 1 7 2 104
4. VMI (2) 2 1 2 19 5 1 93
5. Campbell -- 2 6 5 12 5 78
6. Longwood -- -- 1 3 4 22 43
Rk South Division (first-place votes) 1 2 3 4 5 6 Points
1. Charleston Southern (28) 28 1 1 -- -- -- 177
2. Gardner-Webb -- 15 4 5 5 1 117
3. Coastal Carolina (2) 2 7 8 10 3 -- 115
4. UNC Asheville -- 6 7 8 8 1 99
5. Winthrop -- 1 10 7 12 -- 90
6. Presbyterian College -- -- -- -- 2 28 32
2013-14 Big South Conference Men's Basketball Preseason All-Conference Team
John Brown, High Point (Preseason Player of the Year)
Saah Nimley, Charleston Southern
Arlon Harper, Charleston Southern
Allan Chaney, High Point
D.J. Covington, VMI
Javonte Green, Radford
John Caleb Sanders, Liberty
Davon Marshall, Liberty
Donta Harper, Gardner-Webb
Tristan Carey, Longwood