Team: Winthrop Eagles
Conference: Big South
Current Record: 5-0
Coach: Pat Kelsey
Coach Profile: Kelsey is a brilliant young coach (45 years old), he’s learned under Skip Prosser and Sean Miller early on in his career as an assistant. He’s been an assistant at both Xavier and Wake Forest. He coached some great teams at Wake Forest with Chris Paul, Jeff Teague, Ish Smith, James Johnson and Al-Farouq Aminu. Over the past few seasons, he’s made Winthrop the premier team in the Big South and led them to a pair of conference titles. Winthrop was primed for an NCAA Tournament appearance last year before it was cancelled, but they should be right back in the mix again this season.
What Makes Them Special?
The Eagles return almost everyone from last season. They are the deepest and most talented team in the Big South. They play a brand of basketball that is really fun to watch. They want to run in transition and they move the ball on offense: currently 29th in the country in assists per game.
The Eagles offense is predicated around getting transition buckets and finding spot-up shooters. 56% of their scoring comes from those two options.
This team is DEEP, but there’s one player that stands out as the most important to me. That player is Chandler Vaudrin. He’s a real triple-double threat every night and he’s actually already had one this season: putting up 13 points 11 rebounds and 14 assists against South Carolina Upstate.
Charles Falden is the top scoring threat out of the backcourt. D.J. Burns Jr. provides an inside scoring threat and Josh Corbin comes in as a three-point threat. Scoring can come from a lot of different sources and coach Pat Kelsey has gone deep into his bench already this year, depth is definitely one of the Eagles’ strengths.
The Eagles are 5-0 so far and coming off a huge win over Furman. An impressive win considering Furman is a team coming into the year as the SoCon favorites.
Winthrop is a team that could’ve made noise last March and they’ll be ready again this year. They should dominate the Big South and I expect them to be a 13 or 14 seed with a real shot to give that 3 or 4 seed a tough first game.
Winthrop Eagles 2020-21 Player Stats