Campbell has been picked in a 2021-22 preseason poll of Big South Conference men’s basketball head coaches and media to win the North Division.
CHARLOTTE — With 14 players back – including all five starters – from last season’s team that reached the league final, Campbell has been picked in a 2021-22 preseason poll of Big South Conference men’s basketball head coaches and media to win the North Division.
Senior forward Cedric Henderson, Jr., was named to the preseason all conference first team, while senior guard Jordan Whitfield earned second team all-league honors.
“Last year proved that preseason polls, in our particular case, don’t necessarily hold a lot of weight,” said Campbell head coach Kevin McGeehan.
“That said, we are pleased to be recognized as one of the better and more experienced teams coming back this season. We’ve been clear about our goals for the coming season. ... I’m not surprised that we’re considered to be one of the top teams.”
Campbell is coming off a 2020-21 campaign when the Camels posted a 17-10 overall mark, 11-6 in the Big South, and rode a school Division I era nine-game win streak all the way to the league title game.
Henderson and Whitfield both were named to the Big South all conference second team last season, while Ricky Clemons joined Whitfield on the all-tournament unit.
The Camels received 20 first-place votes and 148 points overall, to finish ahead of Longwood in the North Division poll. Defending champ Winthrop (152) led the South Division poll, followed by UNC Asheville (131).
In voting for the overall champion, Winthrop gained 16 votes, followed by Campbell (8) and North Carolina A&T (2).
“I think the conference is going to very competitive,” said McGeehan. “Of all years, this is the hardest season to predict because there’s going to be experience throughout the conference, and also a ton of transfers in the league that have had success at their previous stops.”
Henderson was joined on the first team by preseason player of the year D.J. Burns, Jr. of Winthrop, John-Michael Wright of High Point, Tajion Jones of UNC Asheville and Rayshon Harrison of Presbyterian.
Whitfield was joined on the second team by Kameron Langley of NC A&T, LJ Thorpe of UNC Asheville, Russell Dean of Hampton and Justin Hill of Longwood.
“Ced and Jordan have been very good players over the course of their careers, continued to improve, and they are some of the more experienced, accomplished players in our conference,” said McGeehan. “They deserve the honors they receive and are hungry to prove those preseason accolades at the end of the year, because that’s really when it matters.”
A 6-foot-6 forward, Henderson has scored in double digits 45 times in two seasons with CU. Only 211 points shy of reaching 1,000 for his career, he already stands fourth on school career field goal percentage charts. Last season, Henderson ranked sixth among Big South scoring leaders and led the league in field goal percentage.
A 6-foot-1 guard from Raleigh, Whitfield elected to return for a fifth year after the NCAA granted players an additional year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He has already played in 112 games – just four shy of 10th place in school career records – and enters the 2021-22 season 139 points shy of becoming the 29th player in school history to reach 1,000 career points.
Last season, Whitfield hit career highs in nearly every statistical category. He finished seventh among Big South scoring leaders, second in field goal percentage and second in minutes played.
Campbell opens the regular season Nov. 9 vs. William Peace at Gore Arena. The Camels then head to the Duke Veterans Day Weekend Showcase where they will face 2021 NCAA tournament participant Hartford (Nov. 12) and the preseason ninth-ranked Blue Devils (Nov. 13).