In the midst of March Madness the High Point Panthers saw their season quietly end in Richmond, Kentucky losing to Eastern Kentucky 66-65 in the second round of the CIT. It was a typical High Point game where John Brown did the heavy lifting with 23 points and 8 rebounds while the rest of his starting five refrained from reaching double-digit scoring.
Before this season started John Brown announced via his Instagram account that this would be his last season at High Point as he planned to pursue a pro career after what was his academic senior year. While the Panthers did play deep into March and won 23 games this season it wasn't even close to mission accomplished for Brown and HPU. Brown didn't defend his Player of the Year crown, failed to win the Big South regular season title, and got bounced from the conference tournament in their first game for the third year in a row.
With John Brown next year the Panthers would be considered one of the conference favorites, without him they are a total unknown. While it seemed like a forgone conclusion a month ago that Brown would move on to the pros now there are rumblings that he might come back for his last season at High Point.
Scott Cherry, seemingly, thought this year would boost his stock and there was a chance he would move on to bigger and better things. George Mason was the biggest, and maybe only, name that Cherry has been associated with. It seems like the Patriots aren't making the interest mutual and that Cherry is towards the bottom of a long list in Fairfax. Sure there is plenty of time left for the coaching carousel to spin and different jobs will open up but for now it seems like Cherry will manning the Panthers bench for the seventh year in a row.
John Brown and Scott Cherry have been connected at the hip whether or not they know it. Before Cherry took a flyer on the under-the-radar academic non-qualifier his Panthers were 40-52 in three seasons. Since then, upon the arrival of Brown the Panthers have gone 56-49 and found themselves in a postseason tournament every year. Anyone would be hard pressed to argue that any of the banners raised over the past three years would be there if it wasn't for Brown. Without the high flyer HPU would be a bottom tier team in the Big South and Cherry might be employed elsewhere.
By coming back to High Point John Brown has nothing to gain and everything to lose from a career standpoint. While a trip to the NCAA Tournament could be enticing, it's far from a guarantee and the risk outweighs the reward. Cherry on the other hand would obviously love to have Brown back and hopefully ride the momentum of Brown's final season to a more prestigious job.