Charleston Southern was picked fifth in the 2018-19 Big South Conference Preseason Poll, announced Tuesday at the league’s annual Basketball Media Day. CSU received four second-place votes and 231 total points in the poll conducted by Big South head coaches and a media panel.
Defending Big South Tournament champion Radford was tabbed preseason favorite, as the Highlanders received 28 of the 33 first-place votes. Winthrop and Hampton garnered two first-place votes each, and were picked second and third. Campbell was selected fourth, with CSU, Gardner-Webb, High Point and UNC Asheville rounding out the top eight. Gardner-Webb picked up one first-place vote. Presbyterian, Longwood and USC Upstate were selected ninth through eleventh.
CSU was also picked fifth in the 2014-15 preseason poll before going on to capture the regular season conference championship and an NIT bid.
Led by head coach Barclay Radebaugh, CSU returns the nucleus of a young group that played its best basketball last February. The Bucs feature preseason all-conference selection Christian Keeling and sophomore Phlandrous Fleming Jr., who earned a spot on the league’s all-freshman team last year. A talented group of eight newcomers will also help CSU in its mission to return toward the top of the Big South.
“We are genuinely excited about this group and what we can become,” Radebaugh said. “We’re having a ton of fun because our guys come to work every day. We’re playing with a pace and a passion that is really unique, and we can’t wait to get our journey started.”
CSU tips off its season at the Buc Dome on Nov. 6 against Columbia International. The Bucs will start league play at home against High Point on Jan. 5.
For the second consecutive year, Charleston Southern guard Christian Keeling has been named to the Big South Preseason All-Conference First Team. Keeling, a junior from Augusta, Ga., received the recognition Tuesday at the league’s annual Basketball Media Day.
Keeling is joined on the first team by Campbell’s Chris Clemons, Radford’s Ed Polite Jr., Gardner-Webb’s David Efianayi and Hampton’s Jermaine Marrow. Clemons, a senior guard who is on pace to become the Big South’s all-time leading scorer, was tabbed Preseason Player of the Year.
Keeling earned Second Team All-Big South honors last year after becoming just the fifth player in conference history to surpass 1,000 career points as a sophomore. He ranked second in the league in scoring, sixth in steals, seventh in minutes played, eighth in free-throw percentage and tenth in rebounding to lead a young CSU team to eight wins in its final 11 games. Keeling led the Bucs in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and minutes played.
“It’s a testament to my coaching staff and all of my teammates,” Keeling said. “I’ve worked hard on my game, and our whole team has really put the work in to contend at a high level. We’re really confident in the team we can be this year.”
Keeling enters this season 21st on CSU’s all-time scoring list. He is 48 points from taking over 20th place and just 272 from reaching the top-ten.
The entire Big South Preseason All-Conference Team is listed below.
2018-19 Big South Men’s Basketball Preseason All-Conference Team
Chris Clemons (Campbell) – Preseason Player of the Year
Ed Polite Jr. (Radford)
Christian Keeling (Charleston Southern)
David Efianayi (Gardner-Webb)
Jermain Marrow (Hampton)
Carlik Jones (Radford)
Jahaad Proctor (High Point)
Josh Ferguson (Winthrop)
Isaiah Walton (Longwood)
Deion Holmes (USC Upstate)
2018-19 Big South Men’s Basketball Preseason Poll (First-place votes in parentheses)
1. Radford (28)
2. Winthrop (2)
3. Hampton (2)
5. Charleston Southern
6. Gardner-Webb (1)
7. High Point
8. UNC Asheville