HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball team has been picked first in the Big South preseason poll, the league office announced at its media day Monday.
HPU received 17 of a possible 31 first place votes and garnered 320 points overall after winning the league’s regular season crown for the third-straight season in 2014-15. Defending Big South Tournament champion Coastal Carolina is picked second in the poll. The Chanticleers received 10 first place votes and 301 total points.
Winthrop is picked third (281 points, three first place votes), while Radford (188) is fourth. Gardner-Webb (187) and Longwood (172) were selected fifth and sixth, respectively. UNC Asheville (164), Charleston Southern (140), Presbyterian College (132), Campbell (119) and Liberty (42) rounded out the poll.
HPU returns 11 letter winners and three starters from a 2014-15 squad that won the Big South regular season title with a 13-5 league mark. The student-athletes returning accounted for 76 percent of HPU’s scoring and 76 percent of its rebounding from a season ago.
The Panthers set new Div. I program records for overall wins (23), Big South wins (13), road wins (9) and Big South road wins (6) in 2014-15 while earning the first postseason win in Div. I program history with a victory in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
The 2015-16 team will be led by preseason Big South Player of the Year John Brown, the nation’s No. 3 returning scorer who averaged 19.3 points and 6.0 rebounds per game last season.
HPU senior guard Adam Weary also earned preseason All-Big South honors Monday, garnering second team accolades after posting averages of 9.3 points and 2.7 assists per game in 2014-15.
In addition to a strong group of veterans, HPU also will welcome a quartet of newcomers, including a duo of talented freshmen in guard Andre Fox and guard/forward Ricky Madison. HPU also has a pair of new walk-ons in freshman Dexter Gooding and sophomore Jordan Whitehead.
HPU is the winningest Big South program over the past three years and is one of just six schools nationally to have won a regular season conference title in each of the past three campaigns (Gonzaga, Kansas, Davidson, Harvard, Stephen F. Austin).
2015-16 Big South Preseason Poll
1. High Point (17) – 230
2. Coastal Carolina (10) – 201
3. Winthrop (3) – 281
4. Radford – 188
5. Gardner-Webb – 187
6. Longwood – 172
7. UNC Asheville – 164
8. Charleston Southern (1) – 140
9. Presbyterian College – 132
10. Campbell – 114
11. Liberty – 42
Note: points are based on a weighted system. First-place votes received 11 points, followed by 10 points for second-place, and so on.