HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s basketball team has been picked second in the Big South preseason poll, the league office announced at its media day Monday.
HPU received 12 of a possible 29 first place votes and garnered 293 points overall after winning the league’s regular season crown for the second-straight season in 2013-14. Defending Big South Tournament champion Coastal Carolina inched out the Panthers by just four overall points to claim the top spot in the poll. The Chanticleers received 14 first place votes.
Radford is picked third (one first place vote), while Winthrop is fourth. Charleston Southern and UNC Asheville each received a first place vote and were selected fifth and sixth, respectively. Gardner-Webb, Campbell, Liberty, Presbyterian College and Longwood rounded out the poll.
HPU returns 11 letter winners and all five starters from a 2013-14 squad that won the Big South regular season title with a 12-4 league mark and earned a berth in the NIT for the first time in school history. The student-athletes returning accounted for 85.5 percent of HPU’s scoring and 81.7 percent of its rebounding from a season ago.
The team will be led by 2014-15 preseason Big South Player of the Year John Brown, who was the league’s regular season Player of the Year in 2013-14 and garnered AP All-America honors after averaging 19.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.
Senior guard Devante Wallace also returns after a junior campaign in which he ranked second in the country in 3-point percentage after shooting a Big South-record 49.1 percent from beyond the arc. Wallace improved that mark to a sizzling 59.3 percent (51-86) in league play.
In addition to a strong group of veterans, HPU also will welcome a trio of talented freshmen: guards DeAndre Barber and Austin White, and forward K.J. James. The team also will benefit from the arrival of junior college transfer Miles Bowman Jr. and University of South Carolina transfer Brian Richardson.
2014-15 Big South Preseason Poll
1. Coastal Carolina (14) – 297
2. High Point (12) – 293
3. Radford (1) – 233
4. Winthrop – 221
5. Charleston Southern (1) – 199
6. UNC Asheville (1) – 191
7. Gardner-Webb – 168
8. Campbell – 113
9. Liberty – 85
10. Presbyterian College – 67
11. Longwood – 47
Note: points are based on a weighted system. First-place votes received 11 points, followed by 10 points for second-place, and so on.
About the Panthers: High Point University men’s basketball is a rising Division I mid-major program and a member of the Big South Conference. Over the past two seasons, HPU has captured two Big South regular season titles, a Big South-leading 24 league victories and is the only conference program to earn a berth in back-to-back post-season tournaments. HPU also is one of just 44 programs nationwide to post a conference winning percentage of .750 or better over the past two campaigns.