Campbell senior men’s basketball player Chris Clemons has been named the Big South Conference Male Athlete of the Year for the 2018-19 season. The candidates for the annual award consist of the player of the year from each sport and voting by league athletics directors, senior woman administrators and sports information directors determine the outcome.
Clemons is the first basketball player to win the Howard Bagwell Male Athlete of the Year Award, and the third consecutive Campbell student-athlete to receive the honor. He earned 116 points and 16 first-place votes, ahead of UNC Asheville tennis player Henry Patten (61 points, three first-place votes). Campbell cross country/track & field runner Amon Kemboi (four first-place votes) and Kennesaw State quarterback Chandler Burks (three first-place votes) tied for third in the voting with 59 points. Radford men’s basketball player Ed Polite Jr. rounded out the top five with 29 points (one first-place vote).
A native of Raleigh, Clemons led the nation in scoring with a Big South single-season record 30.1 points per game — the first player in league history to average 30.0 points in a season. Named a third-team All-American by the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA), Clemons also received All-America distinction from the Associated Press (Honorable Mention) and Collegeinsider.com to become Campbell’s first-ever men’s basketball All-American at the Division I level.
The only player in Big South history to score at least 500 points all four years, Clemons was an all-district selection by the USBWA and National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). He led the country in total points with a Big South-record 993 and set league single-season standards for free throws made (246) and three-point field goals made (139). Clemons led Campbell to a 20-13 overall record, a Big South regular-season title and the program’s first-ever NIT berth.
During his senior year, Clemons topped the 40-point mark on four occasions, including a season-high and conference game record 48-point effort vs. Hampton in addition to a 45-point output at Georgetown. Just the sixth Big South men’s basketball player to earn all-conference honors all four years, Clemons finished his career third in NCAA Division I history with 3,225 points, and matched the NCAA all-time record for consecutive games scoring in double figures (115).
Clemons was the West Team MVP at the Reese’s NABC All-Star Game at the 2019 Final Four, was named MVP of the Portsmouth Invitational and is currently playing for the Houston Rockets’ Summer League team. In five games, he’s averaging 20.8 points on 40 percent shooting.
In March 2000, the Big South Conference Executive Committee voted to create an annual Male and Female Student-Athlete of the Year award, and named the male award in honor of former Charleston Southern Athletic Director Howard Bagwell, who was one of the founders of the Big South Conference and an inaugural inductee into the league’s Hall of Fame.