CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern conducted its first official preseason practice Tuesday at the Buc Dome. Led by head coach Barclay Radebaugh, CSU returns the nucleus of a club that won eight of its final 11 games in 2017-18.
The Bucs tip off the season at home on November 6, and Radebaugh is eager to see his squad grow over the next six weeks.
"We've got a lot to be optimistic about," Radebaugh said. "I'm really excited about what this team can be because their attitude and effort is A+. Our chemistry, attitude and willingness to work is excellent. Last season's finish created tremendous momentum and energy, and our guys are hungry for more."
Finishing on a high note
Charleston Southern was 2-7 and tied for last place at the halfway mark of Big South Conference play but staged a remarkable turnaround to finish 9-9 and tied for fifth. CSU and regular season champion UNC Asheville, at 7-2, shared the league's best record during the back half of league play. The Bucs' only losses in that stretch came by a combined seven points - by two at Gardner-Webb and by five in overtime to Asheville.
Keeling back for junior year
Christian Keeling returns to lead CSU after becoming just the fifth player in Big South history to reach 1,000 career points as a sophomore. Keeling earned All-Big South Second Team honors while ranking second in the conference in scoring, sixth in steals, seventh in minutes played, eighth in free-throw percentage and tenth in rebounding. He was the centerpiece of CSU's late surge, averaging 19.3 PPG and 5.5 RPG over the year's final 11 games. Keeling paced CSU in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and minutes.
Impact freshmen class now sophomores
Along with Keeling, freshmen Phlandrous Fleming Jr., Ty Jones, Deontaye Buskey and Sean Price were integral to CSU's success in February. Fleming led the group on his way to finishing as runner-up for Big South Freshman of the Year honors. He ranked second among all league freshmen in scoring, and led all league rookies and tied for 11th overall in steals. Fleming capped the regular season in style, tallying a career-high 26 points to lead CSU to its first win at Winthrop since 2002.