MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball team was picked No. 1 in the North Division of the Big South Conference Preseason Poll, which was announced at the league’s annual media day on Thursday. Redshirt-sophomore John Brown (Jacksonville, Fla.) was picked Preseason Player of the Year and graduate student Allan Chaney (Baltimore, Md.) was named to the Preseason All-Conference team.
High Point received 25 of the possible 30 first place votes to total 175 points in the North Division poll. Defending conference tournament champ Liberty received three first-place votes and ranked second with 137 points followed by Radford (104), VMI (93), Campbell (78) and Longwood (43). VMI also received two first-place votes. In the South Division, Charleston Southern ranked first with 28 first-place votes and 177 points. Gardner-Webb ranked second with 117 points followed by Coastal Carolina (115), UNC Asheville (99), Winthrop (90) and Presbyterian (32).
HPU went 12-4 in Big South play last year to win the North Division of the Big South, HPU’s first Big South title in men’s basketball. The team went 17-14 overall, earned a bid to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament and returns all five starters from that squad. The only other time HPU was ranked No. 1 in the preseason poll was prior to the 2007-08 season. It’s head coach Scott Cherry’s fifth season at HPU.
Brown led the Panthers with 16.4 points per game and averaged 6.1 rebounds last season, getting named Big South Freshman of the Year and becoming the second freshman ever named to the All-Big South first team. He was named Kyle Macy Freshman All-American. Brown is the fourth HPU player named Big South Preseason Player of the Year, following Danny Gathings, Arizona Reid and Nick Barbour.
Chaney was named to the All-Big South second team, averaging 14.5 points and 8.1 rebounds, including team highs of 14.9 and 7.9 in Big South games. He shot 51.3 percent from the field and 80.3 percent from the line along with 1.4 assists per game and a team-high 37 blocks.
Brown and Chaney were both named to the NABC All-District second team last year.
HPU also returns three starting guards: sophomore Adam Weary and seniors Dejuan McGaughy and Derrell Edwards. Weary was named to the Big South All-Freshman team last season after scoring 10.2 points with 3.4 rebounds per game. The Panthers return 10 total players who accounted for 79 percent of scoring and 63 percent of rebounding last season.
The Panthers are on the court for an exhibition game against Bridgewater College on Friday, Nov. 1, before opening the season on Nov. 8 against UNC Greensboro at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Big South Preseason Poll
Rk. Team (first) Pts. 1. High Point (25) 175 2. Liberty (3) 137 3. Radford 104 4. VMI (2) 93 5. Campbell 78 6. Longwood 43
Rk. Team (first) Pts. 1. Charleston Southern (28) 177 2. Gardner-Webb 117 3. Coastal Carolina (2) 115 4. UNC Asheville 99 5. Winthrop 90 6. Presbyterian College 32
Big South Preseason All-Conference Team
John Brown, High Point (Preseason Player of the Year)
Saah Nimley, Charleston Southern
Arlon Harper, Charleston Southern
Allan Chaney, High Point
D.J. Covington, VMI
Javonte Green, Radford
John Caleb Sanders, Liberty
Davon Marshall, Liberty
Donta Harper, Gardner-Webb
Tristan Carey, Longwood