October 7, 2011

Griffin and Merthie named to CollegeSportsMadness.com pre-season All-Big South team.

BUIES CREEK, N.C. – Eric Griffin and Lorne Merthie of Campbell University have been named to the CollegeSportsMadness.com pre-season All-Big South Conference men's basketball team.

A senior from Orlando, Fla., Griffin was a third-team selection, while Merthie, a senior from Sanford, Fla., was a fourth-team choice.

After 17 years in the Atlantic Sun Conference, Campbell returned to the Big South – of which it was a charter member from 1983-94 – on July 1, 2011.  The Fighting Camels open the regular season at home Nov. 11 vs. Houston Baptist.

In his first year with the Camels after transferring from Garden City (Kan.) CC, Griffin averaged 13.2 points (9th in A-Sun), 6.9 rebounds (5th), 2.1 blocks (2nd) and 1.69 steals (5th) while shooting 50.4 percent from floor (8th).  In A-Sun regular season games, the 6-foot-8 forward led the league in blocks (2.2), ranked 8th in scoring (14.0), 4th in rebounding (7.1), 10th in field goal percentage (.524) and 4th in steals (1.7).

Griffin scored in double figures 20 times in 29 games and had five double-digit rebounding nights.  He set a school single-season Division I era (since 1977-78) record with 61 blocked shots.  He scored a career-high 28 points – 20 in the first half – vs. Lipscomb last February when he set a Gore Arena record for single-game three-point field goal percentage (.857) after hitting 6-of-7 from long distance.

The 2009 Atlantic Sun Conference freshman of the year, Merthie is one of the top 3-point shooters in Campbell history.  The 6-foot-2 guard stands fourth on school career charts for treys made (176) and sixth in threes attempted (429), while ranking fifth in 3-point accuracy (.410).  Merthie has scored in double figures 40 times and is a career 75 percent free throw shooter.

A year ago, he was a pre-season A-Sun all-conference choice, but missed the final eight games of the campaign with a knee injury.  Merthie averaged 11.2 points per game in 2010-11, while hitting 55-of-131 (.420) from 3-point range.  He scored nine of his career-high 27 points in overtime during an 80-74 win over Mercer last January.

Merthie was named MVP of the Global Sports Hoops Showcase in Nov. 2010 after leading the Camels to victories over Middle Tennessee and Auburn, CU's first victory over a Southeastern Conference opponent since Jan. 1994 (at South Carolina).

Cliff Ellis of Coastal Carolina was named CollegeSportsMadness.com pre-season Big South coach of the year.  Jesse Sanders of Liberty was tabbed pre-season player of the year, while UNC Asheville's Nick Hornby was named pre-season freshman of the year.

CollegeSportsMadness.com Pre-Season Big South All-Conference Teams

First Team
G  Jesse Sanders (Liberty)
G  Matt Dickey (UNC Asheville)
G/F  Nick Barbour (High Point)
F  Kelvin Martin (Charleston Southern)
F/C  John Brown (Liberty)

Second Team
G  J.P. Primm (UNC Asheville)
G  Kierre Greenwood (Coastal Carolina)
G/F  Shay Shine (Coastal Carolina)
F  Stan Okoye (VMI)
F/C  Sam McLaurin (Coastal Carolina) 

Third Team
G  Evan Gordon (Liberty)
G  Jeremy Sexton (Charleston Southern)
G/F  Stefon Johnson (Gardner-Webb)
F  Khalid Mutakabbir (Presbyterian)
F  Eric Griffin (Campbell)

Fourth Team
G  Lorne Merthie (Campbell)
G  Jareal Smith (Radford)
G/F  Reggie Middleton (Winthrop)
F  George Valentine (Winthrop)
F/C  Ron Burks (VMI)