Men's spring preview: Colonial Athletic Association

Men's spring preview: Colonial Athletic Association

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Men's spring preview: Colonial Athletic Association

Payne McLeod has had a little bit of extra motivation since he arrived at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington.

McLeod wasn’t highly recruited while in high school. In fact, he only received one scholarship offer, and that was from UNCW. Wake Forest, North Carolina State and North Carolina all offered McLeod the chance to play as a walk-on, but he chose to take the scholarship.

“I didn’t start playing really well until late in high school,” McLeod said. “I was overlooked … I talked to Coach (Matt Clark) and he was by far the nicest coach there was, and it was pretty much an easy decision for me.”

McLeod, from Reidsville, N.C., has been a key part of the Seahawks’ past two Colonial Athletic Association titles. In his first two years with the Seahawks, McLeod averaged 73.1 per round.

This past fall, he improved that mark.

In five tournaments, the junior led the team in scoring with a 72.5 average. McLeod led the Seahawks to a T-2 finish at the Fighting Irish Gridiron Classic in early October, as he finished in a tie for second overall. At the next tournament, the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate, he finished in tie for fourth overall, which led to a third-place finish for UNCW.

“I played solid,” McLeod said of his game in the fall. “I just tried to keep it pretty simple and not put pressure on myself. Just stay patient, that’s the main thing.”

McLeod and the Seahawks have high expectations for the spring.

“We should win that (conference title) the next two years, I would think,” McLeod said. “We feel like if we play to our potential it shouldn’t be a problem. We really want to make nationals … that would just be great for not only us, but for coach.”

• • •

Where it stands now

Top of the class: North Carolina-Wilmington

Best player in the fall: Payne McLeod, North Carolina-Wilmington

• • •

Past champions

2008: Georgia State

2009: Virginia Commonwealth

2010: Towson

2011: North Carolina-Wilmington

2012: North Carolina-Wilmington

• • •

Conference capsules

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