We saw numerous players leaving school, either due to graduation, transferring, or to seek a professional career, this past spring. Talents including Tyler Strange, Saah Nimley, Jordan Downing, and Andrew Rowsey. Rowsey seem to be the overwhelming favorite, outside of John Brown, to win this year's Player of the Year award after having a strong sophomore year. Without further distractions, here are this years favorites to win the award for conference's best player.
John Brown, High Point
John Brown is everyone's favorite to win the award, especially with Jerome Hill and Andrew Rowsey both leaving the Big South, Rowsey transferring to Marquette and Hill starting a pro career in Greece. After averaging 19 points per game over the last two years. The redshirt senior looks to finish out his great career at High Point with a big season and looks to finally obtain that conference championship that has eluded the Panthers over the last few seasons. High Point looks to be one of the favorites to take the conference and they will need John Brown help them do so.
Elijah Wilson, Coastal Carolina
With Warren Gillis and Josh Cameron both graduating, the bulk of the scoring has opened up for Wilson. After averaging 15 points his freshmen year and 11 points this past season, the two-time Big South Conference Champion looks to have a breakout season. One that can see him hoisting the POY trophy come next March. If the Chanticleers want to contend for a third straight conference title, they will need Wilson to be the go to man he continues to grow into.
Harold McBride, Gardner-Webb
McBride is going into his senior season, and this one looks like it will be his best one yet. After playing behind All Big South PG Tyler Strange for a season, McBride looks to break out this year and is my sleeper candidate for this award. Harold had a couple of huge games this past season, scoring 20 points in an OT victory over Campbell and another huge 24 points in an OT victory over High Point in the conference tournament. With the type of offense Gardner-Webb runs being a perfect match for McBride's playing style, this looks to be a huge year for Harold.
Demetrius Pollard, Charleston Southern
Pollard is a transfer from Northeastern where he averaged 8 points per game the last season he played, which was in 2013. He will be joining the Buccaneers of Charleston Southern which might be a great fit for the senior. Pollard was inconsistent, but when he was on, he was on. Scoring 25 points against Hofstra and 27 points against Central Connecticut State, the Buccaneers offense might be the perfect match for his playing style and looks to fill the big shoes left by Saah Nimley.
Keon Johnson, Winthrop
With Keon Moore graduating from Winthrop, the offense will open up more for Keon Johnson. Going into his junior season with the Eagles, Johnson looks to keep building on his game and contribute more to the team. After making it to two straight conference titles games, but losing both to Coastal Carolina, Winthrop has one goal this season, and that is to bring another banner back to their campus. Keon scored 18 points against Maryland and 19 against Clemson. Johnson proved he can score, but will he be able to improve this season? Its either Big South glory or bust for this team and Keon Johnson looks to be an important cog in the Winthrop machine.
These are just the top five favorites to win the Player of the Year award. Of course, other players can sneak into claim the honor, while some of these players can falter. But if I were to pick my favorite for this award, it would come off of this list. All I know, it looks to be an exciting year for the Big South, and I can't wait.