CHARLOTTE, N.C. ( – UNC Asheville senior forward Drew Pember and head coach Mike Morrell have been voted the 2022-23 Big South Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Year and Coach of the Year, respectively, by the league’s head coaches and media panel, it was announced Tuesday afternoon by the conference office. The panel voted Campbell’s Anthony Dell’Orso Freshman of the Year and Pember as the league’s Defensive Player of the Year. Presbyterian College senior forward Owen McCormack was voted Scholar-Athlete of the Year by the league’s Sports Information Directors.

Pember becomes the first player since the 2015-16 season and second overall to claim Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors in the same season. The Knoxville, Tennessee, native led the Big South in points per game (20.4), rebounds (9.2) and blocks (2.3) while leading the entire nation in free throws made (221). He ranks ninth nationally in total points scored (631) and becomes the first Bulldog to lead the league in scoring since 2013-14. Pember shined in the season-opener with 40 points and nine rebounds against UCF, before going on to score 48 points against Presbyterian College on Jan. 25, tied for a Big South regular-season record. He received 18 first-place votes and 284 total points from the panel, ahead of Longwood’s Isaiah Wilkins (212 points) and Winthrop’s Kelton Talford (209 points).

In Defensive Player of the Year voting, Pember received 10 first-place votes and 37 total points overall, ahead of Winthrop’s Chase Claxton (16 points, two first-place votes) and USC Upstate’s Jordan Gainey (15 points, one first-place vote). Pember has now won the award in back-to-back seasons.

Morrell becomes the sixth UNC Asheville head coach to win Coach of the Year, and the first since 2016-17. Projected to finish third in the annual preseason poll, he led the Bulldogs to a 24-7 overall record and a 16-2 record in Big South play, matching a single-season record in both conference victories and for victories overall en route to an eighth Big South Regular Season Championship in program history. Asheville finished the season ranked fourth in the nation in three-point percentage (39.7) and 15th in three-point percentage defense (29.5), while also leading the Big South in scoring offense (75.3 points per game), assists per game (13.1) and effective field goal percentage (.557). He received 17 first-place votes and 52 points overall, ahead of USC Upstate’s Dave Dickerson (19 points) and Radford’s Darris Nichols (17 points). Longwood Griff Aldrich also received one first-place vote and 12 total points.

Dell’Orso becomes the sixth Camel to earn Freshman of the Year honors, and the first since 2015-16. He led the Big South in scoring at 11.8 points per game, rebounding at 5.6 per contest, and field goal percentage (.494). Named Big South Freshman of the Week four times, he posted double figures on 18 occasions headlined by a 26-point, 10-rebound performance against High Point on Feb. 8. The Melbourne, Australia, native averaged 12.0 points and 5.9 rebounds in conference games and rounded out the regular season ranked 15th overall amongst Big South scoring leaders, as well as ninth overall in rebounds.  He received nine first-place votes and 52 points overall, ahead of USC Upstate’s Justin Bailey (seven first-place votes, 70 points) and Presbyterian’s Jalen Forrest (one first-place vote, 57 points).

McCormack is a 3.84 student studying Business Administration with a Data Analytics Concentration. Earlier this year, he was named as an Academic All-District selection by College Sports Communicators. He averaged 7.6 points and 4.1 rebounds this season, including a 21-point outburst in a win against Elon on Dec. 15.

The entire 2022-23 All-Conference team is as follows:


First-Team All-Conference

Drew Pember, UNC Asheville

Isaiah Wilkins, Longwood

Kelton Talford, Winthrop

Tajion Jones, UNC Asheville

Jordan Gainey, USC Upstate

Second-Team All-Conference

DaQuan Smith, Radford

Ricky Clemons, Campbell

Claudell Harris Jr., Charleston Southern

Cory Hightower, Winthrop

DQ Nicholas, Gardner-Webb

Honorable Mention All-Conference

Zack Austin, High Point

Jaden House, High Point

DeShaun Wade, Longwood

Bryan Antoine, Radford

Kareem Reid, Gardner-Webb

All-Freshman Team

Anthony Dell’Orso, Campbell

Justin Bailey, USC Upstate

Jalen Forrest, Presbyterian

Kenyon Giles, Radford

Jordyn Surratt, USC Upstate

All-Academic Team

Laurynas Vaistaras, Campbell

Ademide Badmus, Gardner-Webb

Bryson Childress, High Point

Jesper Granlund, Longwood

Owen McCormack, Presbyterian

Shaquan Jules, Radford

Fletcher Abee, UNC Asheville

Thomas Sheida, USC Upstate

Player of the Year

Drew Pember, UNC Asheville

Freshman of the Year

Anthony Dell’Orso, Campbell

Defensive Player of the Year

Drew Pember, UNC Asheville

Coach of the Year

Mike Morrell, UNC Asheville

Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Owen McCormack, Presbyterian