AUGUSTA, GA – With the start of the 2017-18 season fast approaching, the Peach Belt Conference released the preseason men's basketball All-Conference team on Wednesday. The team was chosen by the league's head coaches with a roster expanded to six due to a tie in the voting.
Defending tournament champion UNC Pembroke is the only school with two players selected with Nigel Grant and Brandon Watts. Columbus State's JaCori Payne, Francis Marion's Detrek Browning, Young Harris' Ben Waterhouse and North Georgia's Shaquan Cantrell were also selected.
Nigel Grant was a second-team All-Conference selection for the Braves in 2016-17. A returning senior from the Bronx, N.Y., he led the team and was 18th in the PBC in scoring with 14.6 points per game. He had double-digit points in 29 games with three double-doubles and had 20 or more six times, including a season-high 27 against Barton. He was ranked 10th in the PBC in field goal percentage and fifth in free throws made.
Brandon Watts was a third-team All-Conference selection and named to the PBC All-Tournament team last year. A senior from Wesley Chapel, N.C., he started 30 games for the Braves, averaging 13.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.2 blocks per game. He was ranked 10th in the PBC in blocks and had three double-doubles on the year with five games scoring 20 or more.
JaCori Payne was a second-team All-Conference selection last year and named to the PBC All-Tournament team. A returning senior guard from Dublin, Ga., he averaged 19.1 points per game along with 3.7 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game. He was fourth in the PBC in scoring, third in free throw percentage and second in field goals made. Payne scored 20 or more 12 times and had three 30-point games, including a career-high 34 against North Georgia.
Detrek Browning was a second-team All-Conference selection in 2016-17, his second straight All-Conference honor. The senior from Columbia, S.C., averaged 19.6 ppg a year ago, was third in the league in scoring and is the top returning scorer in the conference. Named a PBC Player of the Week three times in his career, his 1,619 career points is already 12th-highest in PBC history.
Ben Waterhouse started 27 games for the Mountain Lions last season, averaging 13.9 ppg. A returning senior guard from Wantirna, Victoria, Australia, he was second in the PBC in three-point field goal percentage, knocking down 44.8 percent from long range. He reached double figures 22 times during the campaign with a career-high 26 against Montevallo.
Shaquan Cantrell scored his 1,000th career point as a junior last season and was a second-team All-Conference selection. The returning senior forward from Gainesville, Ga., led the team and was 13th in the PBC with 15.8 points per game. He scored 20 or more points six times with a career-high 36 against Emmanuel which was tied for the second-highest single game output in the PBC last season. He also averaged 5.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.
2017-18 Peach Belt Men's Basketball
Preseason All-Conference Team
Nigel Grant, UNC Pembroke
Brandon Watts, UNC Pembroke
JaCori Payne, Columbus State
Detrek Browning, Francis Marion
Ben Waterhouse, Young Harris
Shaquan Cantrell, North Georgia