▪ Charles Falden is called “Chuck” by his teammates and coaches.
▪ At what point in a person named Charles’ life do they become a “Chuck?” Falden said his junior year of high school was a breakout year for his basketball career and that’s when his transformation from Charles to Chuck happened, thanks to an assistant coach on his high school team. “Couple of nicknames came with it, ‘Chuck the Bucket,’ all types of nicknames,” Falden said. Maybe it’s easier to say one syllable names on a basketball court, though even family calls him Chuck now.
▪ Falden was a late addition to Winthrop’s recruiting class from Massanutten Military Academy, in Woodstock, Va., near Maryland. He spent a prep year at Massanutten after graduating high school in 2016. “Coach Kelsey came later on in the year but he was consistent and showed a lot of interest in me and continued to come to practice,” Falden said. He was a little worried that his recruitment went so late into the year, especially after the Final Four when head coaches start to get fired or get new jobs. Campbell and VMI were also after him. “I had other options but this was the best option for me.”
▪ Falden poured in 35 points in a losing effort in the 2016 Virginia 5A high school basketball state final. He scored 19 straight points in less than 3 minutes during a fourth quarter stretch. “It got crazy,” he said, grinning.
▪ North Carolina Tar Heel Kenny Williams and Providence guard Malik White are the two best players Falden has played alongside. Falden hooped with Williams at L.C. Bird High School and with White in AAU basketball.
▪ Falden is averaging 6.3 points per game in 13.6 minutes. He’s shooting 9-of-18 from 3-point range.
▪ Asked to characterize his first half of the season, Falden said, “it was a big learning experience. I was injured for a month so it’s been up and down. But I’m definitely coming back hard.”
▪ Falden is majoring in business management. “I’m trying to get focused on academics, really,” he said. “Trying to be the best person I can be.”
▪ Falden’s biggest adjustment to college life has been time management. “It’s really tough being a student-athlete, going on the road and having to come back and be organized,” he said.
▪ Like most college freshmen, Falden was happy to get home for the holidays, a rarity in the midst of a Division I college sports season. “With basketball you rarely get to see your family, or get to go home,” he said. “Spent six days at home, spent a lot of time with family. They really love me, that’s my support system.”
Eagles face Radford Wednesday
Winthrop heads north to face Radford Wednesday night in both team’s second Big South Conference game. The Eagles and Highlanders each won their openers last Saturday, Radford beating Presbyterian 78-62, thanks to Ed Polite’s 24 points and 15 rebounds. Slowing him down, especially on the backboards, will be top of the Eagles’ to-do list.
Radford, which has an RPI of 89, is 7-1 when leading at halftime and 1-5 when trailing at the break. The Highlanders are 7-1 when they out-rebound their opponents and are top-50 in the country in offensive rebounds per game. The Eagles entered the season with rebounding improvement as one of the top priorities, but they’re getting there thanks in part to 6-foot-8 sophomore Josh Ferguson. In Winthrop’s last three wins against Division I opponents, Ferguson has grabbed 10 or more rebounds.
Click through the graphic to compare Winthrop and Radford in several stats:
Winthrop to play Asheville on ESPNU
ESPNU has selected the Jan. 18 UNC Asheville-Winthrop men’s basketball contest as its Big South Wildcard Selection broadcast. Game time 9 p.m. at Winthrop Coliseum. Matt Schick (play-by-play) and Paul Biancardi (analyst) will handle the call from courtside.
Last season’s meetings between the two rivals on ESPNU were memorable, as Winthrop won the first meeting in Rock Hill by three points (76-73) behind Xavier Cooks’ 19 points and 13 rebounds. The Feb. 9 game in Asheville was a classic 104-101 double-overtime triumph by the Bulldogs with Ahmad Thomas (26 points, 10 rebounds) and MaCio Teague (24 points) leading the way.
The UNC Asheville at Winthrop game is the first of four Big South ESPNU Wildcard broadcasts this season, the fifth consecutive year four regular-season Big South games will be carried by the 24-hour college sports network. ESPNU also has Wildcard broadcasts scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 15 at 9 p.m. and Thursday, Feb. 22 at 7 p.m., and those selections will be determined 21 days in advance.
Brice tops 1,000-point mark
Former South Pointe Stallion Tyreece Brice topped the 1,000-point mark during his time at Saint Leo University in Saint Leo, Fla. Brice scored 13 points in the Lions’ loss to Southern New Hampshire but achieved the milestone in defeat.
“We are very proud of Tyreece [Brice] for getting into the 1,000 point club in his Saint Leo career,” coach Vince Alexander said. “For him to be able to do it in two and half years here, and become the 24th player in program history, just shows that he bought into what we talk about day in and day out and we are proud of him.”
Brice has 1,173 points in his college career, which included a year and a half at USC Aiken before he transferred to Saint Leo. The senior guard is averaging 11.3 points and 4.3 assists per game for the Lions.