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Volume I: The upper echelon of Big South returners

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Ranking the top five players by position

NCAA Basketball: Charleston Southern at Virginia Tech Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

The off-season can become stale awaiting the beginning of the upcoming basketball season. What better to do than watch plenty of game film and break down some of the top talents across college hoops?

The Big South gained national notoriety last year by having some of the top players in the country. We are going to break down the best five players by position coming back in 2017-2018 in a five volume series.

In a league that was dominated by the talent and depth from the perimeter position, at times the work done by the low post guys goes unnoticed.

No need to worry, we have love for the big fellas!

Here we present you with Volume I: the center edition.

5. Brock Gardner - Liberty

A key part of Liberty’s sophomore frontcourt tandem, Brock Gardner is an excellent post defender with range to cover strong in pick and roll action. His athleticism provides the Flames with a post that can stretch the floor, run the court in transition and handle on the perimeter. He is a decent rebounder that has a motor to compete on each possession by contesting all shots. As he gets stronger, he will continue to thrill on Ritchie McKay’s front line.

4. Randy Phillips - Radford

Every team has to have a glue guy. Radford has that in the Kendrick Perkins-esque senior Randy Phillips. Phillips is a bruiser in the paint. He ranked third in the Big South in offensive rebounding, which affords his team the ability to create more offense. Although his minutes are limited, Phillips could be critical to Radford’s success in 2017-2018 as the league has several big men entering the Big South.

3. Javis Howard - Charleston Southern

Similar to Phillips, Javis Howard is a beast in the paint and was the league leader in offensive rebounds (three per game). His production has increased each year on the offensive end, where he shot 56 percent and averaged 7.8 points per game last year. Look for Javis to provide stability down low while being the senior veteran to lead the Buccaneers.

2. Myo Baxter-Bell - Liberty

Coming off his selection to the Big South All-Freshman team - and part two of the Flames’ sophomore front court - Myo Baxter-Bell is a force on the low block. He’s undersized at 6’5”, but his toughness and strength make him a tough cover. He turned up his level of play in the second half of conference play. He’s an exceptional finisher around the rim that understands how to find soft spots against the zone. Reminiscent of the traditional old school back-to-the-basket post up player, Baxter-Bell has a tremendous upside that will only improve Liberty’s chances as a conference champion contender.

1. Andrew Eudy - Campbell

Teams that excel defensively apply excellent ball pressure, are fundamentally sound in their technique, are connected in their help rotations, and protect the rim. Andrew Eudy does just that as the shot blocking defensive anchor for the Campbell Camels. Eudy led the Big South with 1.9 blocks per game, while moving into second on the all-time schools' list with 70 career blocks. Eudy is an underrated passer with playmaking abilities, allowing the Camels to spread the floor to execute back cuts and dribble drives. The Camels led the Big South in rebounding during conference play, in part to Eudy being ranked 13th in rebounding. If the Camels improve their perimeter defense and Eudy takes his game to another level, this could be an elite defense in Buies Creek, N.C.