CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Adding to his long list of career accolades that include Big South Freshman of the Year honors, USC Upstate men’s basketball’s Jordan Gainey becomes the first Spartan to earn Preseason First Team All-Big South honors as the league announced its yearly preseason All-Conference teams Wednesday morning.
A native of Tucson, Ariz., Gainey adds his 2022-23 Preseason All-Conference honors to the Kyle Macy Award finalist, Big South Freshman of the Year, Second Team All-Big South, and Big South All-Freshman Team selections from a year ago. He also claimed seven Big South Freshman of the Week honors last season, the most weekly award wins in a single season by a Spartan and the most weekly award wins for a Big South player last season.
Leading to his impressive list of career accolades, Gainey put forth one of the top shooting seasons by a true freshman against NCAA Division I competition over the last 20 seasons as he shot 49.6 percent (70-of-141) from three last season. His performance ranked as the third-best three-point shooting season by a true freshman over the last 20 seasons, trailing Markus Howard (54.7 percent; Marquette 2017) and Steve Novak (50.5 percent; Marquette 2003).
Overall, he averaged 13.8 points and 3.8 rebounds last season while averaging 31.5 minutes per game, finishing second among Spartans in both scoring and minutes per game during his freshman season. Over 32 games, he shot 47.1 percent (146-of-310) from the field, 49.3 percent (74-of-150) from beyond the arc, and 81.7 percent (76-of-93) from the free throw line while adding 69 assists, 39 steals, and 16 blocked shots last season.
In his first season in a Spartan uniform, Gainey scored in double-figures in 25 of his 32 games, scoring 20 or more points on five occasions and ending the 2021-22 season with five straight double-digit scoring games, including two in the Big South Basketball Championship and two in The Basketball Classic. He poured in a career-high 24 points behind a 7-for-11 shooting performance against Winthrop on Jan. 26, 2022.
With his selection as a Preseason First Team All-Big South selection, Gainey is the first Spartan to earn First Team honors since Upstate joined the conference ahead of the 2018-19 season while becoming the fourth Spartan to earn Preseason honors, joining Deion Holmes (2018-19), Tommy Bruner (2020-21), and Everette Hammond (2020-21).