Chants picked runners-up; Wilson, Diagne net honors

ccuhoops-22After winning back-to-back VisitMyrtleBeach.com Big South Basketball Championships and turning in a combined 45-wins over the past two seasons, Coastal Carolina men’s basketball has been selected second in the annual Big South Conference preseason poll by the league’s head coaches and media members, according to an announcement on Monday at the Big South Basketball Media Day in Charlotte, N.C.

In addition, Elijah Wilson was named to the conference’s preseason first team, while Badou Diagne was named to the second team.

The Chanticleers garnered 301 total points and 10 of 31 first-place votes, but were edged out by High Point (320 total points and 17 first-place votes) as the league favorite by 19 points. Winthrop received three first-place vote and 281 total points to finish third in the poll followed by Radford (188 total points) and Gardner-Webb (187 total points). Longwood totaled 191 total points to finish sixth followed by UNC Asheville (164 total points), Charleston Southern (140 total points and on first-place vote), Presbyterian College (132 total points), Campbell (119 total points) and Liberty (42 total points) rounded out the poll.

High Point forward John Brown, the 2013-14 Big South Player of the Year, was tabbed as the Preseason Player of the Year for the third consecutive season. Joining Brown on the Preseason All-Big South first team were Coastal’s Wilson, DeSean Murray of Presbyterian, Tyrell Nelson of Gardner-Webb and Winthrop Keon Johnson. On the second team were Coastal’s Diagne, Lotanna Nwogbo of Longwood, Adam Weary of High Point, Winthrop’s Xavier Cooks and Campbell’s D.J. Mason.

Wilson, an all-freshman team and honorable mention honoree in 2013-14, is the reigning Big South Tournament MVP after averaging 20.3 points per game en route to leading Coastal to the title. Last season, Wilson ranked on the team in scoring, averaging 11.3 points per game, while leading the Chanticleers with 66 made 3-pointers. He enters his junior campaign 88 points shy of becoming the 20th Chanticleer to score 1,000 career points

Diagne, a senior forward, enters his final season with 738 career points and 581 rebounds. He averaged career highs in 2014-15 with 9.5 points and 7.3 boards per game. In addition, he was threat from 3-point range, making 29 of 67 attempts (43.3 percent). Diagne started in each of Coastal’s 34 game last season and made 114-of-233 shot attempts for a 48.9 shooting percentage.

The Cliff Ellis coached Chanticleers return four starters from last season’s team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season. Joining Wilson and Diagne in the starting lineup for another season is senior Tristian Curtis (4.5 ppg/6.2 rpg in 2014-15) and junior Shivaughn Wiggins (10.0 ppg/3.2 apg in 2014-15). Coastal also returns five additional letter winners from last season’s team – three of whom saw action in at least 27 contests.

Fans can get their first look at the 2015-16 Chanticleers Wednesday, Oct. 28 at the annual Hoopla event. The event, which starts at 10 p.m., will feature skill competitions, dance contests and opportunities for fans to win prizes.

Photo courtesy of Big South

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