HIGH POINT, N.C. – High Point University men’s basketball All-American John Brown has signed a professional contract to play with Acea Virtus Roma for the 2016-17 season.
Acea Virtus Roma competes in the Italian second division and features an alumni group that includes George Gervin, Brandon Jennings, Anthony Parker and Brian Shaw.
Brown began his professional career in June as a member of the Charlotte Hornets’ Summer League Team before earning his pro deal in Italy.
“Our staff is extremely excited for John,” head coach Scott Cherry said. “This is an outstanding opportunity to play for a great club in a world class city. All of his hard work has paid off and he now has the chance to play basketball for a living. There aren’t a lot of guys who can say that and it’s a testament to his efforts and the hard work of his teammates. It’s a wonderful accomplishment.”
One of the most well-rounded players in the nation in 2015-16, Brown ranked second in the country in player efficiency rating, one of the most beneficial statistics to measure a player’s value to his team. In addition, he was third in the country in offensive efficiency and ranked in the top-40 in field goals made (13th), field goal percentage (21st) and scoring (36th) during the season.
Brown was one of just nine players nationally to earn first team all-district honors in two-straight seasons. That list included Buddy Hield (Oklahoma), Fred VanVleet (Wichita State), Ron Baker (Wichita State), Yogi Ferrell (Indiana), Nic Moore (SMU), Jameel Warney (Stony Brook), Justin Sears (Yale) and Shawn Long (Louisiana-Lafayette).
Brown is the only player in HPU history to become a three-time first team all-district selection and a four-time all-district pick (he was a second team selection as a freshman in 2012-13).
He was named Big South Player of the Year for the second time in three seasons and became the first player ever to be named Big South Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same campaign. He also earned AP All-America honorable mention accolades for the second time in his career.
Brown ranked in the top-6 of the Big South in field goal percentage (1st), offensive rebounds (2nd), scoring (3rd), blocks (4th), steals (5th) and rebounding (6th). On the defensive end of the floor, Brown led the conference in combined blocks/steals (97) by 18 over the next closest player and was the only player in the Big South to rank in the top-100 nationally in block percentage and steal percentage.
A preseason candidate for the Julius Erving Award and a mid-season finalist for the Lou Henson Award, Brown posted 10 points in 27-of-28 games and 20+ 12 games. A two-time Big South Player of the Week selection, Brown led the nation in Ken Pomeroy MVPs, a stat given to the top player in each college basketball game all season long.
The redshirt-senior ends his career as the only player in Big South history to post at least 2,000 points, 700 rebounds, 150 blocks, 150 steals and 150 assists. He is second all-time in Big South history in scoring (2,229 career points) and first on HPU’s Div. I career scoring list.
Brown also is first all-time at HPU in games started (116), offensive rebounds (381), steals (181) and is second in field goals made (858).
PANTHERS IN THE PROS
HPU head coach Scott Cherry has created a pipeline to the pros for HPU student-athletes, with a record number of Panthers playing pro ball in the U.S. and abroad over the past few seasons. Eugene Harris (’10) suits up for KTE-Duna Aszfalt in Hungary, while Tehran Cox (’11) is playing professionally in Libya. Their former teammate, Corey Law (’12), has put together an electric career with the Harlem Globetrotters, appearing on ESPN’s SportsCenter and Good Morning America over the past year.
HPU’s 3-point king, Nick Barbour (’12), most recently played with the Texas Legends of the NBA Developmental League and is continuing his career overseas.
In addition, former HPU guard Devante Wallace (’15) recently wrapped up his rookie year with WBC Raiffeisen Wels and ranked second on the team with 13.3 points/game while shooting 44.7 percent from long distance. Brown’s classmate, Lorenzo Cugini, recently signed with SAM Basket Massagno in Switzerland.