2023-24 North Carolina Sports Network
NC Basketball Spotlight, 10-Year Snapshot:
High Point

By David Glenn
North Carolina Sports Network

School: High Point University

Location: High Point, N.C.

NCAA DI Member Since: 1999-2000

Conference: Big South

Big South Member Since: 1999-2000

Big South Ranking Among 32 Leagues (KenPom): 22nd (2023), 24th (2022), 28th (2021), 30th (2020)

NCAA Tournament Bids: 0

Conference Titles: 0

Conference 1st-Place Finishes: 4 (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)

Head Coach: Alan Huss (45 years old, 1st season at High Point)

As A Player: Creighton (1997-2001)

Record At High Point (Through Feb. 6): 20-4 (.833) in partial season

Previous Head Coaching Experience: none at NCAA level

College AC Experience: New Mexico (2014-17), Creighton (2017-23)

Assistant Under: Craig Neal, Greg McDermott

2022-23 Record: 14-17, 6-12 (8th in 10-team Big South)

2023-24 Preseason Prediction (Coaches/Media): 7th in 9-team Big South

2023-24 Record (Through Feb. 6): 20-4, 9-0 Big South

2023-24 Midseason Ranking (KenPom): #120 nationally (1st in Big South)

Upcoming Schedule Highlights: at UNC Asheville (2/7), at Gardner-Webb (2/10), USC Upstate (2/14), Radford (2/17), Winthrop (2/28)

After more than two decades as a Division One program, High Point is still seeking its first conference championship and its first NCAA Tournament bid.

Shockingly, under a first-time college head coach, and entering the final few weeks of Big South regular-season action, both of those lofty dreams seem within reach.

The initial task of the Panthers’ first-year leader, long-time Creighton assistant Alan Huss, was to try to lift them out of their league’s bottom tier, where they had spent much of the past four seasons.

That goal clearly has been accomplished. Entering its Feb. 7 game at UNC Asheville, High Point was 20-4 overall and 9-0 in the Big South. Nationally, among 362 Division One men’s basketball teams, only four others remain undefeated in conference play.

Especially given the Panthers’ modest basketball history, rookie head coach and massive roster turnover, their 2023-24 campaign ranks among the most remarkable stories in college basketball this season.

The Panthers’ only previous peak historically came under former coach Scott Cherry, a backup guard on UNC’s 1993 national championship team. From 2013-16, with the help of elite forward John Brown (who’s still playing professionally overseas), Cherry led High Point to four consecutive first-place finishes in the Big South.

Since that stretch, and through the hirings/departures of High Point legend Tubby Smith (a Panthers player in the early 1970s and a national championship coach at Kentucky in 1998) and his son GG Smith, the Panthers haven’t finished higher than fifth in the Big South, which is now a nine-team league.

After the end of the 2022-23 season, High Point experienced both sides of the transfer portal to an extreme degree.

The Panthers’ two best players from last season, honorable mention Big South selections Zack Austin (Pittsburgh of the Atlantic Coast Conference) and Jaden House (Rhode Island of the Atlantic-10), are now starters and major contributors in more high-profile leagues.

“We have tried to retool a roster that was severely depleted in the transfer portal, but I feel comfortable with where we are,” Huss said. “We are first and foremost trying to play extremely fast, and we’ve got some players who are extremely skilled.”

With only one returning starter and just two returning contributors, the Panthers hit the transfer circuit hard, and that approach is paying off big-time.

During High Point’s 20-4 start, in which all four losses were by single digits (one in overtime), the Panthers played five new transfers and three true freshmen in their nine-man rotation. They have been among the most efficient teams in the Big South offensively, and they posted impressive wins over UNC Greensboro (74-63), Western Carolina (97-71) and Iona (82-68) in nonconference play.

New starting point guard Duke Miles, in particular, has been sensational. A two-year contributor and part-time starter at Troy who sat out most of last season as a medical redshirt, he leads the Panthers in scoring (19.1 ppg) and assists (3.6 apg) while shooting 57 percent from the field, 84 percent from the free throw line, and 38 percent from 3-point range.

Forward Kimani Hamilton, a Mississippi State transfer, and wing guard Kezza Giffa, a junior college transfer who recently entered the starting lineup after an injury to Miles, also have emerged as All-Big South candidates with their outstanding play.

2023-24 High Point Panthers
(20-4, 9-0 Big South; through Feb. 6)


PG Duke Miles, r-Jr. — 31 mpg, 19 ppg, 2 rpg, 57% FG, 84% FT, 38% threes, 76/36 ATO, 3 blocks, 28 steals
(6-3/182); 2023 Troy transfer (2-year part-time starter); 2022-23 medical; Montgomery, Ala.

Abdoulaye Thiam*, r-Jr. — 27 mpg, 11 ppg, 4 rpg, 43% FG, 81% FT, 33% threes, 23/40 ATO, 0 blocks, 15 steals
(6-4/185); 2022 Minnesota transfer (reserve); Indian River CC star; Orlando, Fla.

Trae Benham, Jr. — 28 mpg, 10 ppg, 5 rpg, 41% FG, 85% FT, 40% threes, 19/13 ATO, 4 blocks, 11 steals
(6-4/205); 2023 Lipscomb transfer (starter); ASUN All-Freshman (2022); Concord, N.C.

Kimani Hamilton, So. — 30 mpg, 15 ppg, 8 rpg, 44% FG, 80% FT, 25% threes, 53/38 ATO, 20 blocks, 29 steals
(6-7/220); Mississippi State transfer (backup); 2022 Mississippi HS POY; Jackson, Miss.

Juslin Bodo Bodo, Fr. — 23 mpg, 5 ppg, 8 rpg, 61% FG, 40% FT, 7/24 ATO, 42 blocks, 9 steals
(7-0/240); two prep seasons at Southern California Academy; Yaounde, Cameroon

Key Reserves

Kezza Giffa, Jr. — 29 mpg, 17 ppg, 3 rpg, 46% FG, 88% FT, 42% threes, 77/57 ATO, 2 blocks, 11 steals
(6-2/165); Daytona State transfer (star); UTEP (reserve); son of pro from Paris, France

Titas Sargiunas, Fr. — 11 mpg, 3 ppg, 1 rpg, 41% FG, 95% FT, 31% threes, 16/11 ATO, 0 blocks, 3 steals
(6-4/180); 20-year-old freshman; Zalgiris-2 club team (2020-22); Kaunas, Lithuania

F Denzel Hines, Fr. — 9 mpg, 3 ppg, 3 rpg, 44% FG, 68% FT, 33% threes, 2/6 ATO, 2 blocks, 2 steals
(6-7/205); HS signee; 2x 1st-team all-conference (2023 MVP); Fontana, Calif.

Cade Potter, r-So. — 12 mpg, 3 ppg, 3 rpg, 38% FG, 57% FT, 17% threes, 8/11 ATO, 6 blocks, 6 steals
(6-8/235); Utah State transfer (2023 reserve/2022 redshirt); Orange, Calif.

*—returning starter (started at least 50% of current team’s games last season)

High Point Panthers
10-Year Snapshot

Season — Overall, League (Place), Postseason

2022-23 — 14-17, 6-12 Big South (8th), no postseason (GG Smith)
2021-22 — 14-18, 7-9 Big South (7th), no postseason (Tubby/GG Smith)
2020-21 — 9-15, 6-11 Big South (8th), no postseason (Tubby Smith)
2019-20 — 9-23, 6-12 Big South (10th), no postseason (Tubby Smith)
2018-19 — 16-15, 9-7 Big South (5th), no postseason (Tubby Smith)
2017-18 — 14-16, 9-9 Big South (5th), no postseason (Scott Cherry)
2016-17 — 15-16, 9-9 Big South (5th), no postseason (Scott Cherry)
2015-16 — 21-11, 13-5 Big South (1st), NIT 1st Round (Scott Cherry)
2014-15 — 23-10, 13-5 Big South (1st), CIT 2nd Round (Scott Cherry)
2013-14 — 16-15, 12-4 Big South (1st), NIT 1st Round (Scott Cherry)

*—conference champion

NOTE: Please visit the North Carolina Sports Network’s 2023-24 profiles and 10-year snapshots for all 19 Division One men’s basketball programs in North Carolina and all 15 Atlantic Coast Conference programs.

Appalachian State Mountaineers, Sun Belt Conference

Boston College Eagles, Atlantic Coast Conference

Campbell Camels, Coastal Athletic Association

Charlotte 49ers, American Athletic Conference

Clemson Tigers, Atlantic Coast Conference

Davidson Wildcats, Atlantic-10 Conference

Duke Blue Devils, Atlantic Coast Conference

East Carolina Pirates, American Athletic Conference

Elon Phoenix, Coastal Athletic Association

Florida State Seminoles, Atlantic Coast Conference

Gardner-Webb Runnin’Bulldogs, Big South Conference

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Atlantic Coast Conference

Louisville Cardinals, Atlantic Coast Conference

Miami Hurricanes, Atlantic Coast Conference

NC Central Eagles, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

NC State Wolfpack, Atlantic Coast Conference

North Carolina Tar Heels, Atlantic Coast Conference

North Carolina A&T Aggies, Coastal Athletic Association

Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Atlantic Coast Conference

Pitt Panthers, Atlantic Coast Conference

Queens Royals, Atlantic Sun Conference

Syracuse Orange, Atlantic Coast Conference

UNC Asheville Bulldogs, Big South Conference

UNC Greensboro Spartans, Southern Conference

UNC Wilmington Seahawks, Coastal Athletic Association

Virginia Cavaliers, Atlantic Coast Conference

Virginia Tech Hokies, Atlantic Coast Conference

Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Atlantic Coast Conference

Western Carolina Catamounts, Southern Conference