Charleston Southern guards Saah Nimley and Arlon Harper were named to the All-Big South Conference basketball teams in a vote by the league’s head coaches and media panel on Sunday.
Nimley earned first-team honors, while Harper was named to the second team after leading Charleston Southern to its first Big South title in 26 seasons.
Teammate Paul Gombwer earned a spot on the Big South All-Academic Team.
Nimley and Harper keyed one of the best seasons in CSU history, leading the 17-11 Buccaneers to a conference title and a postseason berth. CSU locked up at least a spot in the National Invitation Tournament with a 75-64 win over Coastal Carolina on Saturday night.
VMI senior forward Stan Okoye and Gardner-Webb head coach Chris Holtmann were voted the Big South men’s basketball player of the year and coach of the year, respectively. High Point forward John Brown was freshman of the year and VMI junior forward D.J. Covington the league’s defensive player of the year. Liberty guard John Caleb Sanders was scholar-athlete of the year.
Nimley, the second-leading vote getter who also received three first-place votes, led the Bucs in scoring, rebounding, and assists in Big South play, turning in one of the top all-around seasons in CSU history. The sophomore poured in 16 points per game and averaged 5.2 assists.
Nimley had 23 points and 13 rebounds in the Bucs’ 79-75 win at Liberty in January. He earned Big South Player of the Week honors after averaging 24.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in road wins over the Flames and Presbyterian. He had five double-doubles on the season, two coming by way of assists and three on rebounds. He led the Bucs with 12 20-point games.
The Bucs’ point guard has 135 assists on the year, the seventh most in school history, despite missing two games.
Harper finished in the Top 10 of the league in points (14.7 per game) and field-goal percentage (46.8), while becoming one of the top defensive players in the league as well. He was third in the Big South averaging just over two steals per game.
The sophomore had four straight games with 20 points or more beginning in late November. He poured in a career high 30 points in the Bucs’ 102-74 win over The Citadel.
Nimley and Harper were both preseason selections.
Gombwer, a sophomore, is a sociology major with a minor in communications. He has a 3.52 GPA and has twice been named to CSU’s Dean’s List. He is also the Bucs’ leading rebounder and had 14 points and 12 rebounds on Wednesday night at Gardner-Webb, both career highs.
The Buccaneers open Big South tournament play on Thursday at noon at the HTC Center in Conway. CSU is the No. 1 seed from the South Division and will face the winner of No. 4 Radford and No. 5 Winthrop, who meet on Tuesday.
VMI senior forward Stan Okoye and Gardner-Webb head coach Chris Holtmann were voted the Big South men’s basketball player of the year and coach of the year, respectively. High Point forward John Brown was freshman of the year and VMI junior forward D.J. Covington the league’s defensive player of the year. Liberty guard John Caleb Sanders was voted scholar-athlete of the year.
All Big South
Stan Okoye, F, Sr., VMI
Saah Nimley, G, Soph., Charleston Southern
Anthony Raffa, G, R-Sr., Coastal Carolina
John Brown, F., R-Fr., High Point
Jeremy Atkinson, F., Sr., UNC Asheville
Allan Chaney, F., Gr., High Point
Tashan Newsome, G, R-Sr., Gardner-Webb
Trey Freeman, G, Soph., Campbell
Javonte Green, F., Soph., Radford
Arlon Harper, G, Soph., Charleston Southern
John Brown, F, High Point
Michael Kessens, F, Longwood
Will Weeks, F, UNC Asheville
Adam Weary, G, High Point
Rashun Davis, G, Radford
Player of the Year: Stan Okoye, F, Sr., VMI
Freshman of the Year: John Brown, F, High Point
Defensive Player of the Year: D.J. Covington, F, Jr., VMI
Coach of the Year: Chris Holtmann, Gardner-Webb
Scholar-Athlete of the Year: John Calen Sanders, G, Jr., Liberty