HIGH POINT, N.C. — High Point University has signed head men’s basketball coach Scott Cherry to a four-year contract extension that will run through the 2016-17 season, Athletic Director Craig Keilitz announced on Thursday. The Panthers won the North Division of the Big South this season, the school’s first conference championship since moving up to NCAA Div. I in 1999-2000.
“We are extremely confident in the direction of our men’s basketball program and we’re excited to see what Coach Cherry and his staff can build in the future,” said Keilitz. “The success we had in the second half of this season along with what we have returning for next year is very encouraging. I’m pleased with the high level of play and I’m confident it will continue to rise.”
High Point went 17-13 overall and 12-4 in the Big South in 2012-13, setting a program record for Big South wins. High Point went on a great second-half run, going 13-6 in the final 19 games. That included a seven-game winning streak, HPU’s best since 2006-07. High Point’s division championship was HPU’s first conference title since 1996-97, when HPU was a member of the NCAA Div. II Conference Carolinas. HPU could still be selected for a postseason tournament.
“I’m extremely grateful to Dr. Qubein, Craig Keilitz and the HPU community for the opportunity I’ve had here and the support I’ve had,” said Cherry. “I’m looking forward to continuing to build the program. We’ve got a great team coming back and we’re putting the finishing touches on a great recruiting class to replace our outgoing seniors.”
High Point returns 11 players who accounted for 85 percent of scoring and 70 percent of rebounding for the 2013-14 season. The Panthers’ whole starting line-up from the second half of the season returns: forwards John Brown and Allan Chaney and guards Derrell Edwards, Dejuan McGaughy and Adam Weary. HPU went 10-5 when those five started.
Brown was named to the All-Big South first team and was named Big South Freshman of the Year. He was just the second freshman ever named to the first team. He ranked among the national leaders in freshman scoring all year.
Chaney was named to the All-Big South second team and was named CBSSports.com Midseason Comeback Player of the Year. He led HPU in scoring and rebounding in Big South play.
Weary was named to the Big South All-Freshman team after averaging 10.0 points per game. McGaughy averaged 6.9 points while shooting 43.6 percent from three-point range this season. Edwards was the only HPU player to start every game and developed a reputation as one of the top defensive players in the league.
The Panthers also return freshman forward Lorenzo Cugini along with guards Devante Wallace, Justin Cheek, Haiishen McIntyre, Quincy Drye and Tre Duncan.
In 2012-13 Big South games, High Point led the league in scoring margin (+7.8), field goal percentage (47.5), assists per game (15.6) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3). In overall games, HPU set a program record for blocks in a season (134) and blocks per game (4.5). At 12-4, High Point tied South Division champ Charleston Southern for the best league record.
Prior to High Point, Cherry was an assistant coach at South Carolina, Western Kentucky, George Mason and Tennessee Tech. He helped lead George Mason to a Final Four appearance and helped lead Western Kentucky to the Sweet Sixteen. Cherry played at North Carolina under coach Dean Smith and was a captain of the Tar Heels’ 1993 NCAA Championship team.