HPU poses no surprises for Spartans
Unlike a year ago, the High Point University men’s basketball team won’t be able to surprise UNC Greensboro tonight.
In fact, the shoe may be the other foot when the two teams open this season at the Greensboro Coliseum with a 7 p.m. tipoff.
The Panthers were an unknown last year because they had eight new faces that included this year’s returning starting lineup of center John Brown, forward Allan Chaney and guards Adam Weary, Derrell Edwards and Dejuan McGaughy. That helped as they came away with a 81-73 win.
“We had a couple guys score in double figures, not counting John Brown and Allan Chaney doing what they did,” HPU coach Scott Cherry. “Guys weren’t on the scouting report where you could get a personnel read and tell your guys they are going to do this and this. All the surprises are out the window. They know us and how we do things.”
Now, Cherry faces a similar preparing for the Spartans, who return just four players who played significant minutes last year while bringing 12 new faces that include seven freshmen and five transfers.
Kayel Locke, a 6-5 forward who averaged just under 10 points a game, is the top scorer back. Others returning include point guard Drew Parker, forward Nicholas Paulos and guard Jordan Potts.
The newcomer attracting the most attention is Arizona State transfer Kyle Cain, a 6-7 forward, Locke scored 30 points while Cain added 14 points and 11 rebounds in a 104-76 victory over Lees-McRae.
Among the freshmen are Diante Baldwin, who played at High Point Christian, and Tyrone Outlaw from Roxboro Person. Both are expected to be in the playing rotation, with Baldwin spelling Parker at point guard.
“It’s practically a new team,” Cherry said. “We don’t have anything to go on about their tendencies, so that makes it a little bit harder. So what we have to do is stick to the principles we’ve gone over in practice.”
Going on what he heard about the exhibition game, Cherry believes the Spartans will try to run.
“We can’t turn the ball over and give them the opportunity to get out and run,” Cherry said. “If we can take care of the ball and take good shots on our end, we should be in good shape.”
The Panthers will be shy on depth in frontcourt as backup center Cliff Cornish sits out the second game of a three-game suspension for a violation of team rules. That could become a factor if there are a lot of fouls called because of a new emphasis on cutting down on hand checking.
“The way both teams like to push the ball, I anticipate that we will have more fouls called than we did in our exhibition game against Bridgewater,” Cherry said. “But it is what it is. What we have to think about is executing our game plan.”