For first time in 4 years, no Eagles on all-BSC first team

Winthrop's Michael Jenkins earned a spot on the all-conference second team.
Winthrop's Michael Jenkins earned a spot on the all-conference second team.

Winning 19 games, going 10-4 in the league and tying for the regular-season championship in the Big South Conference didn't get Winthrop's Eagles much when voting was announced Monday for the all-conference teams and other awards.

The Eagles didn't get a player on the all-conference first team for the first time since the 2003-04 season. It's just the second time in the past 10 years the Eagles failed to land a first-team spot. They've won or shared the league title seven times in the past 10 years and had at least one first-team selection each of those years.

Seniors Chris Gaynor and Michael Jenkins, both on the preseason first team, were voted to the second team in balloting by league coaches, sports information directors and selected media.

Jenkins was a first-team selection last year. Gaynor made all-conference for the first time.

Charles Corbin, a 6-foot-7 post man who's started 25 of 30 games, was named to the all-freshman team. Corbin is Winthrop's first all-freshman pick since Gaynor in 2004-05.

"I'm really happy for Chris, Mike and Charles," Winthrop coach Randy Peele said, but he was also disappointed, especially for Gaynor.

"I voted for him in my top five," Peele said. "In voting, too many people look at statistics. And no one on our team is ever going to have big numbers. But he's a winner. And I thought he was one of the top five, and no one can talk me out of that."

Gaynor averaged a modest 10 points and 4.1 assists, but had the league's best assist-turnover ratio (2.37). Jenkins, the focal point of opposing defenses this year, didn't have as good a season as a year ago, but still averaged 13.7 points and 4.3 rebounds.

High Point senior Arizona Reid, voted player of the year for the second straight season, led the first team, joined by Reggie Williams of VMI, Jack Leasure of Coastal Carolina, Bryan Smithson of UNC Asheville and Alex McLean of Liberty.

Reid, who averaged 24.2 points and 11.1 rebounds, and Williams, who led the league with 27.7 points per game, plus 9.1 rebounds, were first-team repeaters.

Smithson had his best year, averaging 16.4 points, and perhaps led the league in big shots as UNCA tied Winthrop for the regular-season crown and claimed the No. 1 seed for the conference tournament.

In the player-of-the-year vote, Reid got 20 first-place votes and 285 total points, while Williams finished with 257 total points and six first-place votes. Reid is the first back-to-back player of the year since Asheville's Josh Pittman in 1997 and 1998.

Joining Gaynor and Jenkins on the second team were K.J. Garland and Kenny George of UNC Asheville and Chavis Holmes of VMI.

George, the 7-foot-7 center, made the second team despite starting just one game, missing three conference games and averaging 19.2 minutes per game, 15.5 in conference play. George was also voted defensive player of the year on the strength of his 3.75 blocks per game.

Peele was hoping 6-5 sophomore Mantoris Robinson, who has guarded the top offensive players in the league, would get defensive player-of-the-year honors.

"In the regular season, I thought he was the best defender in the league, and I'm not backing off that," Peele said.

George got 20 first-place votes and 49 points, while Robinson got nine first-place votes and 32 total points.

Charleston Southern's Omar Carter was voted freshman of the year and was joined on the all-freshman team by Corbin, teammate Jamarco Warren, Jeremy Anderson of Liberty and Anthony Breeze of Coastal Carolina.

Eddie Biedenbach, who led UNC Asheville to its first regular-season title since 2002 and the school's first 20-win season since 1986, was voted coach of the year. Biedenbach got 23 first-place votes and 77 total points to finish ahead of Peele, who had three first-place votes and 36 total points.

• All-conference teams • 2C