Cherry modest about HPU's start
High Point University men’s basketball coach Scott Cherry isn’t getting carried away about the school’s first 2-0 start in 10 years, even though the Panthers were impressive blowing past Southern Conference members UNC Greensboro and Appalachian.
“We want to keep working and getting better,” Cherry said. “We need to stay humble. We haven’t done anything yet. We’ve won a couple of games and that’s great and we’re proud of it. We’ve still got to get back on the practice floor and get better.”
They are certainly have more size, athleticism, speed, depth and balanced scoring than on Cherry’s first three teams, the product of the addition of big men John Brown and Allan Chaney plus junior college guards Derrell Edwards and Dejuan McGaughy and freshman guard Adam Weary. The speed was certainly on display against the Mountaineers as the Panthers got out and ran after steals or rebounds as they built a 27-point lead late in the first half and led by as many as 30 on the way to a 86-64 victory.
“We’ve got speed a a plot of different positions in the front court and the back court,” Cherry said. “It starts with Dejaun and (returning point guard) Jairus Sims on the ball and John up front, (returning wing) Justin Cheek and Adam Weary. We’ve got some speed and athleticism so it helps us get out in the transition game, and also helps on the defensive end of the floor to cover up some mistakes.”
The balance included Brown (22), Chaney (18), McGaughy (15) and Edwards (13 scoring in double figures after Brown, Chaney and Weary reached double figures against the Spartans.
The speed, agility and height helped the Panthers hold the Mountaineers to 37.5 percent shooting.
Brown thinks the new-look Panthers have meshed well so far because they try to remain close off the court.
“We run with each other 24-7,” Brown said. “When we’re not at practice, we run with each other still, We have days when we just all hang out. It just came together. It just came together.”
The early blitz quelled any fears Cherry had about the Panthers struggling in their first road game.
“They were calm and in control all day,” Cherry said. “We’ve got a group that likes to have fun and enjoy themselves but when it comes business time they are locked in and focused, and they’ve locked in to the game plan and personnel these two games. We are where we want to be, We can’t get ahead of ourselves.”
For McGaughy, his first Division I road game wasn’t much different than his junior college trips once he got to the arena.
“I take a road game as any other game,’” McGaughy said. “It may be hard sometimes because we don’t have as many fans there. We still have to take it as a regular game and focus on our goals and take car of business first.”
And just what were the goals?
“Team goals to defend and play together and have fun,” McGaughy said. ”Goal for myself is to be the floor general, to make sure the team is still up. I don’t worry about stats or points, I worry about my team is felling good out there and having fun as a team and as a family,”
They certainly were having fun on a fast break when Edwards bounced the ball off the backboard and Brown caught it and slammed it through the next to cap the night for most of HPU’s starters players. The play put HPU up by 26 with 2:26 to got in the game. Cherry took out Brown, Chaney, Cheek and Edwards at that point.
“We want them to have fun,” Cherry said. “After all, it is a game. We want to stay together and cover each other’s back. Ultimately, they are kids playing a game and they want to have fun, and I’m having fun coaching them. We’ve got a great group of guys and we’ve got get back to work and get better at some things. ... 2-0 doesn’t mean much if you can’t win in January and February.”