By: Matthew Johnson
Gardner-Webb men’s basketball player Tyrell Nelson was one of five college basketball players awarded in the Big South Preseason All-Conference First Team during the Big South Media Day on Oct. 26.
Conference coaches and select media voted for players to be given the award during the event that took place at the Marriott Fairfield Inn and Suites at Uptown Charlotte Hotel in Charlotte, NC. Viewers were able to see each school’s coaches interviewed on ESPN3, where it was livestreamed.
“They gave it to me predicting that I will do well this year,” said Nelson.
The award was for the work he put in for the team during the preseason and last year’s season. To Nelson, the award represents the work he needs to continue to put in this season. He plans to grow in his percentages and stats to make sure he proves to justify getting the award.
Last season Nelson was a standout sophomore center playing among juniors and seniors. He held a field goal percentage of 60.9% while averaging 13.9 points a game. On the defense side of the court, he also kept an average of 6.5 rebounds a game.
During this year’s season he plans to take on as many leadership roles he can while being in the forward position.
“I’ve seen a lot of players play and I am going to share my experience,” said Nelson.
He plans to share his knowledge with the younger teammates who are still trying to figure out how the gameplay may be different than what they know from high school. Nelson knows there are freshman on the team who will be big part of this year when they get game time.
The team as a whole plans to have a different mindset in this year’s season. They plan to have a tougher defensive strategy to their gameplay and have more hustle on the offense.
“This year with the mindset and characteristics of the players it will be completely different than what you have seen last year,” said Nelson. “We will be flying around and doing the extra stuff unlike last year,” said Nelson.
This offseason has been one for him to grow in his skills on the court. The other schools will try and put more coverage on Nelson since he gained this award and is now viewed as a top player. According to Nelson, “There are other pieces to the team that will hit them by surprise.”
Although Nelson is honored to have received this award, he wants to make sure that he is not seen as someone who gloats in his accomplishments.
“I want to be a leader that is not one seen saying ‘look what I got’,” said Nelson, “I want to lead by actions.”