The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, who are the two-time defending champions in the Big South, are experiencing a down year before they make the move to the Sun Belt Conference. With their fall from the top, the race for the conference title is much more wide open, and several teams are looking to come away with the conference title.
One team who has started conference play off on the right foot are the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs. They have started Big South with a dazzling 5-1 record, and sit just a half-game behind the High Point Panthers and the UNC-Asheville Bulldogs for first-place.
While they have never made an NCAA Tournament appearance at the Division I level, they have a great chance at doing so this season. A lot their success this season will hinge on the play of their junior big man, and if the early part of the season has been any indication, they are heading in the right direction.
Junior forward Tyrell Nelson put together an impressive seven days for the Runnin’ Bulldogs, and is the CCR Mid-Major Player of the Week for January 4th-10th!
Nelson is a 6’7”, 235-pound forward out of Charlotte, North Carolina. Over his time at Gardner-Webb, he has quietly turned into one of the Big South’s premier players, and one of the more underrated players in the entire country.
He has increased his per game averages each season, and this year is no different. On the year, Nelson is averaging 15.7 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game, while shooting 56.9% from the floor.
This past week, Nelson helped to lead the Runnin’ Bulldogs to a 2-0 record, pushing their overall winning streak to 5 games in the process. He averaged a double-double of 23 points and 13 rebounds per game, along with 2 assists and 1 block per contest.
In the two games, Nelson put together a double-double performance in each.
On Wednesday, he scored a game-high 27 points to go along with 16 rebounds in Gardner-Webb’s 71-68 win over the Campbell Fighting Camels. Then, just three days later, he recorded 19 points and 10 rebounds in the Runnin’ Bulldogs’ 83-61 rout of the Radford Highlanders.
After his impressive week, Nelson now has 7 double-doubles on the season.
Nelson is an imposing force in the paint, and his size makes him tough to move in the paint. He is strong on the glass, grabbing rebounds on both ends of the floor, and he is highly effective around the rim. This season, he has expanded his shooting range, showing brief flashes of being able to shoot the long ball (5-of-12 on the season).
Tyrell Nelson is one of the premier players in the Big South Conference, and it’s time that people start to recognize his talents on the hardwood.
After a massive week, Gardner-Webb’s Tyrell Nelson is the latest winner of the CCR Mid-Major Player of the Week award!
Dec. 28 – Jan. 3 – Tanner Plomb, Army West Point Black Knights