CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Charleston Southern sophomore guard Christian Keeling has been named to the 2017-18 Big South Preseason All-Conference First Team, the league announced Tuesday at its annual Basketball Media Day. Keeling becomes the first Buc to earn first-team recognition since Saah Nimley in 2014-15.
Keeling is joined on the first team by Campbell's Chris Clemons, Winthrop's Xavier Cooks and UNC Asheville's duo of Ahmad Thomas and MaCio Teague. Clemons, a junior guard, was tabbed Big South Preseason Player of the Year.
Keeling, a 6-4 guard from Augusta, Ga., put together one of the most productive freshman seasons in CSU and Big South history in 2016-17. He set a program freshman scoring record with 539 points (17.3 PPG), becoming the sixth player in the conference's 33-year history to go over 500 points as a freshman. Keeling was the only Division I player in the country to lead his team in scoring and rebounding, pace all league freshmen in both categories and rank top-ten league-wide in each.
"It's a blessing," Keeling said of the recognition. "It's proof that all my hard work is paying off. I just want to give a special shout out to my coaches and teammates. I gotta give respect to them because they're the reason why I got picked. The atmosphere and the energy around our program is great and we're looking forward to the season."
Keeling was honored as Big South Freshman of the Week seven times; more than anyone in at least the last 13 years. He finished fourth in the league in scoring and fifth in rebounding and field goal percentage. Keeling posted 27 double-figure scoring efforts, ten 20-point games and six double-doubles.
The entire Big South Preseason All-Conference Team is detailed below.
2017-18 Big South Conference Men's Basketball Preseason All-Conference Team
Chris Clemons (Campbell) – Preseason Player of the Year
Xavier Cooks (Winthrop)
Ahmad Thomas (UNC Asheville)
Macio Teague (UNC Asheville)
Christian Keeling (Charleston Southern)
Ed Polite Jr. (Radford)
Ryan Kemrite (Liberty)
David Efianayi (Gardner-Webb)
Kevin Vannatta (UNC Asheville)
Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz (Liberty)