John Brown

High Point v Ohio State
John Brown, Getty Images

Big South Preview: Can John Brown take down Coastal Carolina?

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Beginning in October and running up through November 13th, the first day of the regular season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2015-2016 college hoops preview package.

Today, we are previewing the Big South Conference.

A month before the Big South Tournament started, seven teams were tied for first place in the conference standings. Once the tournament began, the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds were bounced in the quarterfinals. Despite all the parity and chaos in the league, the tournament champion remained the same.

Coastal Carolina is eyeing a third consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament in its final season in the Big South before moving to the Sun Belt Conference.

The Chanticleers bring back Elijah Wilson, the Big South Tournament MVP, point guard Shivaughn Wiggins and power forward Badou Diagne. That trio could make a three-peat possible. Coastal Carolina boasted one of the conference’s most efficient offenses and defenses, and tops in both offensive and defensive rebounding 2014-15. The production of graduating guards Warren Gillis and Josh Cameron won’t be easily replaced, but if they defend and crash the boards like they’ve done in the past, the Chanticleers will be in a good position when they host the Big South Tournament again in March.

Like the Chanticleers, many of the teams across the Big South have lost start players. Of the 15 players named to the all-conference teams last March, only two of them return this season.

One of them is High Point senior John Brown, the ultra-athletic and physically imposing forward. Through his first three years he’s averaged 18.5 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. He’s helped the Panthers win at least a share of the last three regular season titles, but has no NCAA tournament appearances to show for it. Click here and check out some of the dunks he’s thrown down over the years. Now imagine him playing on the first Thursday or Friday of the NCAA tournament. Fun, right? Surrounded by a cast of upperclassmen, Brown could finally get that shot this spring.

Winthrop graduated two double-digit scorers, including first-team selection Keon Moore. Keon Johnson will be the key holder over in a new-look perimeter that could feature not one, but two Division II transfers. Jimmy Gavin’s amazing journey was chronicled back in May. Roderick Perkins, a 6-foot-5 wing, was the second-leading scorer in all of D2 in 2013-14. Winthrop’s defense, rated as the most efficient in the Big South, returns a pair of shot-blockers — Xavier Cooks and Duby Okeke — the frontline. Zach Price, the former Louisville and Missouri big man, is eligible this season, as well.

Longwood could be a dangerous team, especially if the Lancers can get quality play from the back court. The Lancers have one conference’s best front courts. Shaquille Johnson is one of the league’s top athletes. Lotanna Nwogbo, the 6-foot-8 forward, is back after missing the last 17 games of conference play with a thumb ligament tear. In three full Big South contest, he was averaging 19.3 points and 12.0 boards per game. Gardner-Webb is dealing with the loss of Jerome Hill and Tyler Strange, but returns six of its top nine scorers, including Tyrell Nelson. Radford should be another potential sleeper. YaYa Anderson is joined by senior Rashun Davis and Cameron Jones, the potential breakout star of the league.

MORE: 2015-16 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule


  • Favorite: “In my mind, it would probably be High Point. There will be several teams that have really good players back, but High Point has several really good players back and John Brown has been one of the top players in the league for the last three years. Probably the team with the most experience, top to bottom, coming back is Coastal. I think they have four starters back, but I think they lose two really good players. On paper, as you look at it, Coastal makes sense to pick first.”
  • Sleeper: “I think a lot of people would say Longwood. I think they have a talented roster and they have a player on their team (Lotanna Nwogbo) I think a lot of people would talk about having a chance to be one of the better players in the league. He got hurt the second or third game in the conference season.”
  • Star to watch: “I’d say John Brown should be the favorite for preseason player of the year. There are a lot of good ones, but he’s definitely been really good for a long period of time. I think it starts with his motor and how hard he competes and how physical he is. He just stays after it every possession. He really plays so hard on both ends. He’s great at working at working on catching the ball at the rim and using his size and athleticism to score in the paint. Then he’ll get stuff in transition and on the offensive glass. He’s a monster.”


Brown, maybe the best dunker in all of college basketball, returns for his senior season after averaging 19.3 points and 6.0 rebounds per game in 2014-15. The 6-foot-8 nightmare matchup plays with a consistent motor. He understands angles and where to position himself on the floor in order to get easy buckets. Brown also creates opportunities for himself in the open floor and offensive glass.


  • Tyrell Nelson, Gardner-Webb: The 6-foot-7 center was top-10 in the Big South in both scoring and rebounding at 13.9 points and 6.5 rebounds a night.
  • Elijah Wilson, Coastal Carolina: Had a strong finish to last season, earning Big South Tournament MVP honors. The 6-foot-4 guard is the top returning scorer at 11.3 points per game.
  • Shaquille Johnson, Longwood: The best athlete in the conference not named John Brown, Johnson averaged 13.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game last season.
  • DeSean Murray, Presbyterian: The Blue Hose will rely heavily on the 6-foot-5 sophomore, who recorded five double-doubles during conference play last season.



1. Coastal Carolina
2. High Point
3. Winthrop
4. Longwood
5. Gardner-Webb
6. Radford
7. Charleston Southern
8. UNC Asheville
9. Campbell
10. Presbyterian
11. Liberty

John Brown with another ridiculous one-handed alley-oop dunk (VIDEO)

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The NFL season just ended five days ago, so I’ll forgive you if you’re just getting into the current college basketball season. That being said, this is John Brown, a junior forward from High Point University. He’s has his fair share of highlights.

For Brown, this might be his best dunk to date. He rolls off the ball screen as teammate Adam Weary is in the process of making the pass. Weary lobs it way too high, which would be a problem for any other player in the Big South, but not for John Brown.

There’s a reason why he was listed as the second best dunker in the nation heading into this season.


The 22 best dunks from college basketball in 2014

Deonte Burton
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1. Nevada’s Deonte Burton dunks on Boise State — March 6

Deonte Burton spoiled college basketball fans over the years, and this one from March 6 might have been his best. Seriously, look where he takes off from.

2. James Young, Kentucky vs. UConn in the 2014 national championship game — Apr. 7

The national championship game ended with UConn winning its second title in four years, but James Young left his mark midway through the second half. Amida Brimah gets a lot of his arm, and the 6-foot-7 Young was still able to finish.

3. Michael Qualls’ buzzer-beating dunk in Arkansas’ overtime win over Kentucky — Jan. 14

The Razorbacks has two wins over ranked opponents during the 2013-14 season, both of which came against Kentucky. Arkansas left Michael Qualls alone on the baseline with time winding down in overtime. When you don’t box out one of the best dunkers in the country, this is what happens.

4. Buffalo’s Justin Moss slams over 7-foot Willie Cauley-Stein — Nov. 16

Apologies, Big Blue Nation. Kentucky is one the wrong end of another memorable dunk. Willie Cauley-Stein is arguably the best defensive player in the country. Buffalo’s Justin Moss didn’t care. The Bulls gave the Wildcats a scare before top-ranked Kentucky ran away with a 19-point win.

5. Demetrius Jackson dunks over Purdue big man a foot taller than him — Dec. 20

Notre Dame guard Demetrius Jackson is 6-foot-1. Purdue freshman center Isaac Haas is 7-feet tall. David prevailed over Goliath with a one-handed jam in a blowout win for the Fighting Irish.

6. High Point’s John Brown throws down reverse alley-oop with ease — Jan. 26

If you are unfamiliar with John Brown, go ahead and look him up on the site. He’s been a stable part of our “Posterization” series. What makes this dunk so impressive is how easy it looks for Brown.

7. Tekele Cotton’s perfect posterization in Wichita State’s perfect regular season — Jan. 22

Wichita State’s big three was Cleanthony Early, Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet during last season’s 34-0 regular season. Tekele Cotton could not be forgotten, especially with plays like this.

8. Aaron Gordon defies gravity with a baseline out-of-bounds dunk — Feb. 24

For second there, I really thought Aaron Gordon wasn’t going to come down.

9. Bernard Thompson proves why it’s called Dunk City — March 9

Florida Gulf Coast was branded “Dunk City” during its Sweet 16 run in 2013. That carried over to the following season thanks to Bernard Thompson. This was one of two dunks in a week-span for the star shooting guard. He had this tip slam against Northern Kentucky earlier that week.

10. Dunk Champ Marcus Lewis slams on Kansas in NCAA tournament — March 22

What’s a list of 2014 dunks without college basketball dunk champ Marcus Lewis? Also, this is a pretty good list if this barely cracks the top 10.

A dozen more of the best dunks from 2014:

Late-game execution the difference as Hawaii falls to High Point

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Hawaii acting head coach Benjy Taylor was given the unenviable task of leading a program dealing with off-court issues last month, with an NCAA investigation leading to the coaching change and the loss of the team’s best player in All-Big West forward Isaac Fotu. However through two games Taylor’s Rainbow Warriors made do with the remaining pieces, picking up wins over Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Bakersfield ahead of their Tip-Off Marathon matchup with High Point.

After building a nine-point second half lead with an aggressive offensive attack, things fell apart for the home team down the stretch. The energy that was a positive for most of the game gave way to a frenetic display in which Hawaii lacked the poise needed to put together the quality possessions needed to close out the game, and High Point took advantage.

Scott Cherry’s Panthers closed the game on a 20-3 run, winning by the final score of 62-54, and their 3-0 start is the program’s first as a Division I member.

John Brown, one of the Big South’s best players, led the way with 19 points and Tarique Thompson added 13 for High Point. The Panthers had their issues offensively, shooting 37.5% from the field, but they did manage to make 47.5% of their two-point attempts. By comparison Hawaii shot 13-for-34 from two, which works out to 38.2%, and that combined with the untimely miscues led to their first defeat of the season.

Hawaii committed just 12 turnovers on the morning, but six of those came in the final 6:23. Take better care of the ball, and the Rainbow Warriors likely would have won the game despite shooting 31.4% from the field. Mike Thomas led the way for Hawaii with a career-high 14 points, scoring all of those points in the first half.

Ultimately Hawaii’s remaining pieces were put together with the idea that Fotu would be their focal point offensively. Now that he’s no longer with the program, Taylor and his staff are going to have to figure out a system that works best moving forward. Being aggressive on both ends of the floor is great, but there’s no substitute for depth or sound execution. Those areas ultimately cost Hawaii Tuesday morning.

Last-second steal, layup gives High Point a four-overtime win over CSU Bakersfield (VIDEO)

Devante Wallace
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Friday night featured 157 games, including the season opener for Kentucky and its platoon system, the debut of Jahlil Okafor at Duke and a wild finish in Oxford, Mississippi with Charleston Southern handing the SEC one of its four losses of the night with a buzzer-beating dunk.

Lost in the shuffle was the Outriggers Hotels Rainbow Classic. High Point and Cal State Bakersfield capped off a four-overtime game with a crazy finish of its own. The Panthers, trailing 99-98, forced the Roadrunners’ in-bounds pass to the corner, Brian Richardson came away with the steal, and found Tarique Thompson hanging right in front of the basket for the game-winning bucket.

High Point guard Devante Wallace scored a game-high 32 points. The Panthers were without the services of top player John Brown.

On Saturday, High Point had enough legs to pick up its second win of the season in a 74-62 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The season will continue to be unusual, as the Panthers’ next game is Tuesday against Hawaii at 5 a.m.

[h/t Matt Norlander, CBS Sports]

2014-15 Season Preview: Under the radar stars

Larry Nance (AP Photo)
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source: AP
Larry Nance (AP Photo)

Beginning on October 3rd and running up until November 14th, the first day of the season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2014-2015 college hoops preview package.

MORE: 2014-2015 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule

The term “under the radar” can be a difficult one to define with regards to college basketball. For some, lists of such players will be dominated by guys whose programs are part of the nightly highlights packages you doze off to in the early morning hours. But for others, the term “under the radar” applies to players who in November may be on the outside looking in with regards to All-America teams. Below are some players who may not be considered to be preseason All-Americans but have a shot at landing on one of those teams at season’s end.

1. Larry Nance Jr., Wyoming: When it comes to the Mountain West the traditional contenders (New Mexico, San Diego State and UNLV) tend to get most of the attention from fans outside of the region, so the son of the former Cleveland Cavalier may not be as well-known to them. But he should be, as Nance averaged 15.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game last season. Nance is returning from a torn ACL, but he’s expected to be at full strength when the season begins later this month.

2. Darrun Hilliard, Villanova: Hilliard was a bit miffed that he wasn’t chosen to be Big East POY at their media day, and rightfully so. The senior is coming off of his best season as a Wildcat, averaging 14.3 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. And with James Bell out of eligibility, Hilliard could be even more productive for the preseason favorites to win the Big East.

3. Shawn Long, Louisiana: Losing Elfrid Payton hurts, but in the 6-foot-9 Long head coach Bob Marlin has a very good piece to build around in an attempt to make a second straight trip to the NCAA tournament. Last year Long accounted for 18.6 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.7 blocked shots per game.

MORE: X-Factors | Breakout Stars | Impact TransfersPreseason All-Americans

4. R.J. Hunter, Georgia State: When it comes to the best shooters in America, Hunter’s clearly on the list. He averaged 18.3 points and 4.6 rebounds per game last season, helping lead the Panthers to a Sun Belt regular season title.

5. Isaiah Taylor, Texas: Taylor was good as a freshman, averaging 12.0 points, 4.0 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game. But there’s clearly room for improvement, as evidenced by the shooting percentages (39.1% FG, 26.3% 3PT), and the Longhorns’ deep front court should result in cleaner shooting opportunities for him.

6. A.J. English, Iona: While the Gaels will have to account for the loss of Sean Armand, English returns after averaging 17.2 points, 4.3 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game as a sophomore.

7. D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Georgetown: Who was the pick to win preseason Big East POY? Smith-Rivera was, and with Markel Starks gone the Hoyas will need a big year from the junior guard. Smith-Rivera accounted for 17.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists per contest in 2013-14.

8. DaVonte’ Lacy, Washington State: Ernie Kent has a tough job in front of him, but it helps that Lacy has one last season of eligibility. As a junior Lacy averaged 19.4 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.

POSITION RANKINGS: Lead Guards | Off Guards | Wing Forwards | Big Men

9. Zak Irvin, Michigan: With Caris LeVert on our All-America team, we’ve essentially pegged him to make the jump that has become commonplace during the John Beilein era in Ann Arbor. But why not Irvin? Thanks to the Wolverines’ personnel losses, he’ll be in a position where he’s asked to do more offensively than just “catch and shoot.”

10. Terran Petteway, Nebraska: While Petteway was a first team All-Big Ten selection last season, that hasn’t led to his being included on many preseason All-America teams. He averaged 18.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game last season, and if Petteway can improve from an efficiency standpoint look out.


1. Keifer Sykes, Green Bay
2. John Brown, High Point
3. D.J. Balentine, Evansville
4. Daniel Mullings, New Mexico State
5. E.C. Mathews, Rhode Island