NCAA Division: Division I
Conference: Big South Conference
Past Conferences: North State Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference, Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
City: High Point, North Carolina
Arena: Qubein Center
NCAA Tournaments: 0
National Championships – 0
Conference Titles – 16 (1936, 1939, 1942, 1946, 1948, 1950, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1969, 1989, 1997, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 )
High Point shows its basketball team coming into existence in the 1927-28 season. For the 1930-31 season, High Point competed in the North State Conference and won its first conference title in the 1935-36 season. In the 1939-40 season, the North State became affiliated with the National Association of Intercollegiate Basketball (NAIB), which was the forerunner to the NAIA. In their time in the NAIB, the Panthers competed in five national tournaments.
The NAIB became the NAIA in 1952 and High Point remained in the North State Conference through the end of the 1960-61 season and then was part of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, where the team remained through the 1992-93 season. In 1993-94, High Point became an NCAA Division II team and spent four years in the Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference. High Point made the move to Division I for the 1999-2000 season and joined the Big South Conference.
The Panthers had a few down years immediately after joining the Big South but by their fifth season had turned the corner and posted a 19-11 record in 2003-04. A 22-10 record in 2006-07 didn’t get the team into the postseason. The Panthers were able to end their Division I postseason drought in 2013 with an invitation to the CIT.
High Point captured four straight regular season conference titles between 2013-2016 but could never get over the hump and win the conference tournament. As a result, High Point has never competed in the NCAA Division I Tournament. High Point competed in the NIT in 2014 and 2016 and made an additional appearance in the CIT in 2015.
Gene Littles, 2,398
John Brown, 2,229
Nick Barbour, 2,121
Pete Collins, 1,268
Dale Neel, 1,112
Jim Picka, 1,070
Mike Jefferson, 470
Landon Quick, 376
George Byers, 330
How Long Has High Point Been Known as the Panthers?
The nickname “Panthers” began at the same time as college athletics at High Point, although the teams were originally known as the “Purple Panthers.” According to the school, during meetings of the High Point College trustees in the 1920s, they decided that the college colors would be purple and white and High Point College athletics used the term Purple Panthers from the onset of intercollege sports.
Have Any High Point Players Ever Made the NBA?
Despite playing basketball for nearly 100 years, High Point has managed to send only George Nostrand to the NBA. Nostrand played four seasons for six different teams in the early days of the NBA, 1946-1950. Nostrand’s greatest claim to fame is that he played in the very first NBA game on Nov. 1, 1946, in Toronto, Ontario.
Who Is High Point’s Most Famous Basketball Player?
While Gene Littles is the school’s all-time leading scorer and was a longtime assistant and head coach in the NBA, Tubby Smith is the most recognizable name to have played for High Point. Smith coached Kentucky to the 1998 NCAA championship and was head coach at Texas Tech, Minnesota and Memphis, among other stops. His last coaching job was at High Point, where he resigned on February 16th, 2022, and was succeeded by his son, G. G. Smith.