Today's topic: Lutz on Phil Jones
Friday, March 30, 2007
Thursday, March 29, 2007
I had an extensive interview with Charlotte 49ers coach Bobby Lutz recently and over the next few days, I thought I'd share some of his responses on a number of topics relevant to Charlotte and its athletic programs.
The first topic: Lutz on football.
What do you think about the possibility of football at Charlotte?
Lutz: "Not only does a decision about football affect an athletic department, but it affects the entire university. I trust Chancellor (Philip) Dubois to make a decision that is best for the athletic department and the university. He will look at the big picture - what is best for all students.
"Having said that, if football can be done well, I am all for it. What I mean by that is if we can financially do it so that it can be successful and it doesn't negatively impact the other sports. That is where the trust lies with Dr. Dubois. Can we do it? I am very confident we will not do it if it takes away from our other sports and only if it will add to the athletic department and the entire university community. I think that it can be a winning situation."
Do you agree that in today's college athletics atmosphere a lot of conference alignments and realignments are geared toward schools that play football?
Lutz: "There is no doubt that conference alignment and realignment is often dictated by football. There are still some programs that do very well in basketball without football. It can be done. But there is no doubt it is part of the landscape and part of the decision-making process nationally, not just in Charlotte." -- Jim Utter
Monday, March 26, 2007
The Charlotte 49ers' 2007-08 men's basketball schedule continues to shape up and it could be one of the toughest the 49ers have faced in quite some time.
The latest addition is an away game in mid- to late-December next season at Hofstra in Hempstead, N.Y. Charlotte defeated the Pride in the 49ers' season opener this year at Halton Arena.
Hofstra (22-10) advanced to the National Invitation Tournament this season, where they lost to DePaul in the opening round. It was the Pride's third consecutive appearance in the tournament.
Charlotte opens the 2007-08 season Nov. 9 against High Point in Halton Arena, then play in an eight-team tournament that includes Winthrop, Notre Dame and Georgia Tech in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Charlotte will also play a home game next season against Southern Illinois, which spent most of this season nationally ranked.
Also: Junior college star Lamont Mack made an official weekend visit to Charlotte. Although no commitment has been made, sources say his visit went extremely well. -- Jim Utter
Thursday, March 22, 2007
- The dates of the 2007 Paradise Jams tournament in the U.S. Virgin Islands have been set, Nov 15-20, 2007. The teams entered: Charlotte, Winthrop, Georgia Tech, Baylor, Notre Dame, Wichita State, Monmouth (N.J.) and Illinois-Chicago. It is possible Charlotte and Winthrop could meet in the first round, which would mark the first ever men's basketball game played between the two schools.
Friday, March 16, 2007
With the construction of the new Hayes Stadium, obviously there are many exciting changes for the Charlotte 49ers baseball team.
There is a new modern facility for fans, a stadium that will likely host Charlotte-area high school tournaments and the 49ers already plan to bid on hosting the 2008 Atlantic 10 conference tournament.
Charlotte coach Loren Hibbs says the school may one day bid on hosting an NCAA regional as well and thinks the stadium and all its amenities will be a strong recruiting tool.
Hibbs also plans to do his part to strengthen the 49ers' program. He already has games next season scheduled at SEC powers Tennessee and South Carolina. But that's not all.
"We're trying to put together a tournament - either for next year or 2009 - where we can bring a quality team or two in here to play," Hibbs said. "I'd like a four-day tournament, play Thursday-Sunday. People are going to like coming to play in this facility. There is plenty of hotel space right here. It's easy to get in and out from the interstate and airport."
Hibbs said teams such as North Carolina, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech have played on campus previously and he sees no reason that won't continue or increase with the new stadium. -- Jim Utter
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
The Charlotte 49ers women's basketball team, which has won 22 of its past 24 home games, will have at least one more game at Halton Arena this season, thanks to an invitation to the Women's National Invitation Tournament.
In an ironic twist, Leslie Cook will also get one more game at Halton, even though she transferred from the 49ers to High Point three years ago.
The 49ers (18-12) host the Panthers (18-11) at 7 p.m. Thursday. High Point is making its first ever postseason appearance. This is Charlotte's fifth in a row and sixth overall.
Cook, a 5-foot-11 senior guard, was a 3-point shooting ace while at Charlotte. She set the 49ers record for number of 3-pointers made in a single season as a freshman, then broke her own record during her sophomore season.
She hasn't slowed down since returning to her native High Point, on the court or in the classroom. She is a 2007 ESPN: The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-America first team member and is a two-time winner of the Big South Conference women’s basketball scholar-athlete of the year award.
This season, Cook has averaged 10.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game and is shooting nearly 33 percent from 3-point range. Cook was named second-team all-conference while High Point coach Tooey Loy won coach of the year honors. -- Jim Utter
Friday, March 9, 2007
Many of you who have dealt with the Charlotte 49ers' ticket office know Dan DeVos. Some others probably know his wife, Aimee, who is coach of Charlotte's softball team, which is 16-3 this season.
Dan has been around Charlotte athletics since 1993 when he began as an intern in the ticket office. Ever since, he has taken an active and productive role in Charlotte athletics, always willing to lend a helping hand to make all of Charlotte's programs better.
He will take on his biggest role yet, as he was named Friday as director of the Charlotte 49ers Athletic Annual Fund, where he will spearhead efforts to raise funds to reach Charlotte's goal of fully-funding all its athletic programs.
There are few more energetic individuals at Charlotte. I'm sure he will do a great job. He had become so synonymous with the ticket office, I found myself repeatedly asking him ticket-related questions even when a new assistant director of marketing and ticket operations was named a couple years ago.
With Charlotte looking to fully fund the athletic programs it already has, while struggling with a down season in men's basketball -- the bread and butter of the athletic program -- and undertaking a study on whether to add football, DeVos' new job will be a tough one. I'm certain he will relish the challenge. -- Jim Utter
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
With basketball the bread-and-butter of Charlotte athletics, a losing season is extremely difficult for the program and its fan base. No one knows that more than coach Bobby Lutz. The 49ers weren’t as far from having a decent season as some might think. Having Phil Jones (declared ineligible by the NCAA) and Charles Dewhurst (red-shirted after an early season high ankle sprain) would have helped a lot.
I like Atlantic City as a host for the conference tournament. It’s about as good a neutral site as you’re going to get in this league. However, forcing half the teams – including No. 1 seed Xavier – to stay in hotel rooms 20 minutes from the strip pretty much robs the players of enjoying the city. -- Jim Utter
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Below are in-game blog entries:
2:56 second, Dayton 69, Charlotte 57, media timeout: Charlotte's Drayton will go to the line for two shots when play resumes. The 49ers' Carlos Williams has fouled out.
4:54 second, Dayton 63, Charlotte 54, media timeout: Charlotte's Carlos Williams will go to the line for two free throws when play resumes after Dayton's Andres Sandoval fouled out. That was Dayton's 10th foul.
6:37 second, Dayton 61, Charlotte 52, media timeout: Dayton's Plummer was called for an offensive foul, his fourth foul of the game. The Flyers' Huelsman is also playing with four fouls. Charlotte ball when play resumes.
7:55 second, Dayton 58, Charlotte 50, Charlotte timeout: Dayton is on an 8-0 run and another Roberts 3-pointer forced Charlotte coach to call timeout.
9:18 second, Dayton 53, Charlotte 50, media timeout: After a missed shot by Charlotte's Carlos Williams, Dayton's Roberts hit a 3-pointer from the wing giving Dayton the lead. The Dayton fans are getting louder. More people seemed to have braved the weather and made it to the building in the second half.
11:36 second, Charlotte 50, Dayton 48, media timeout: Charlotte's Alexander will go to the line for two free throws when play resumes. Daytona used a 10-3 run to take a 47-45 lead, but the 49ers rallied with help from Goldwire, who now has 23 points.
15:32 second, Charlotte 45, Dayton 42, media timeout: Charlotte will have possession after Antwon Coleman's putback got stuck between the rim and backboard a jumpball was called. Dayton's Norman Plummer has been causing the 49ers fits inside.
- Charlotte is getting excellent looks inside but has to make the layups. Jerell Jamison isn't always going to be there to sweep the boards for putbacks. The 49ers don't need to make the easy shots any harder.
- Dayton guard Brian Roberts leads his team with seven points but the 49ers' defense has been good on him. He was held to just four shots in the first half.
- Lucky most Charlotte fans planning to attend came Tuesday. The weather has all stranded the teams here at Boardwalk Hall for the time being. The 49ers contingent, sitting near the band, isn't large but it is very vocal. The loudest was on Leemire Goldwire's 4-point play.
Halftime: Charlotte 35, Dayton 28: Leemire Goldwire leads the way with 14 points for the 49ers who ended the first half with a 6-0 run, capped by Jerell Jamison's putback with 48 seconds remaining.
15:59 first, Charlotte 8, Dayton 7: De'Angelo Alexander has five of Charlotte's eight points, sandwiched around a 3-pointer by Leemire Goldwire. If the crowd reaches 1,000 in the blizzard outside they'll be lucky.
Pregame: A blizzard is going on outside and temperatures are in the high teens and low 20s, but Boardwalk Hall is ready to host its first Atlantic 10. Several hundred fans in attendance for the noon tipoff, with Dayton fans having the edge in numbers.
Monday, March 5, 2007
Shocking would be an understatement to describe my reaction to the announcement of the Atlantic 10 all-conference teams on Monday.
I completely understand that it is extremely difficult to get much individual player recognition when the team you play on is struggling and in the bottom half of the conference standings. But let's just think about this for a moment.
De'Angelo Alexander was first team all conference last season. He was the league's top returning scorer and he ended the regular season as the fourth-highest scorer and one of only two players in the league to be ranked in the top 10 in scoring and rebounding. The best he can manage is third-team? You have got to be kidding me.
I can understand somewhat the absence of Leemire Goldwire. He was a scoring threat this season, but exceedingly inconsistent, in part because of his varying roles he played on the team, switching from shooting guard to point guard.
However, the absence of senior forward E.J. Drayton from any of the all-conference teams -- even honorable mention -- is just ridiculous. He was the league's second leading rebounder and nearly averaged a double-double on the year. He was the most consistent player for the 49ers by far.
Clearly, the league's coaches mostly voted on players from the top tier teams. That's fine, but don't pretend this is a recognition of the league's best players. It's more the recognition of the best players on the league's best teams.
And one other thing. How is it the media vote on the preseason teams -- when we have not even seen many of the players, particularly newcomers -- yet at the end of the season when we've witnessed a whole season of play, the voting is done by the coaches? Seems a little like taking care of your own to me.
Perhaps a good showing in the A-10 tournament will take a little sting out of Monday's announcement for Charlotte.
Saturday, March 3, 2007
The Charlotte 49ers' six seniors and their senior team manager were all recognized Thursday night during Senior Night activities following the loss to George Washington.
However, coach Bobby Lutz had one more senior to recognize on Saturday. Following Charlotte's regular-season finale win against St. Bonaventure, Lutz took the microphone on the court and thanked the fans in attendance and offered words of encouragement as Charlotte heads to the Atlantic 10 conference tournament next week in Atlantic City, N.J.
Then wrapping up, he asked for one more senior to join him on the court - his daughter, Natalie, a senior at Central Cabarrus High. Natalie, her sister Christine, and mother Janet, are regular fixtures at Charlotte games, sitting behind press row at Halton Arena.
Although a busy high school athlete in her own right, Natalie has never missed a Charlotte home game since her father was named head coach in 1998. Natalie will likely have to break her streak as she heads off to college this fall. She has narrowed her choices to Texas and Florida.
Natalie was obviously caught by surprise and started tearing up as she made her way to the court, where her father presented her a bouquet of roses. It was an unexpected and special moment, shared between father and daughter but witnessed by 49ers fans.
Suddenly, a very difficult and disappointing season didn't seem so bad after all.
- Jim Utter
Friday, March 2, 2007
INJURY UPDATE: The X-rays taken of Jerell Jamison after Thursday night’s game showed he does not have a fracture of his left foot, but rather a mid-foot sprain. He remains doubtful, however, to play in Saturday’s game with St. Bonaventure. He did not participate in practice Friday.
ONLY A TWO?: Upon further review – and brought to light during replays on ESPN of the finish of Thursday night’s loss to George Washington – it appears De’Angelo Alexander might have had a foot touch the line on his last-second 3-pointer. So if it was good, it might have only sent the game into overtime rather than handed the 49ers the win. A referee did raise his hand for a 3-pointer, but it could have easily been reviewed after the play.
CLIMBING THE CHARTS: Leemire Goldwire needs five 3-pointers to tie Brendan Plavich (211) for fifth all-time with the 49ers. Goldwire is the sixth player in school history to pass the 200 mark.
– Jim Utter
Thursday, March 1, 2007
Wrapping it up after Charlotte's 62-60 loss Thursday night against George Washington:
Charlotte senior forward Jerell Jamison went down hard while battling for a rebound and injured his left ankle. He did not return to the game. Jamison planned to get an X-ray after the game to see whether he had a fracture, but Charlotte officials hoped it was only a sprain. The results from the X-ray or Jamison's status were unavailable late Thursday.
With Leemire Goldwire crossing the 1000-point career mark in the first half, he and De'Angelo Alexander have both scored their 1000th point this season. The last 49ers teammates to reach 1000 in the same season were Curtis Withers and Eddie Basden in 2005. In addition to sharing team-high scoring honors with Alexander with 16 points, Goldwire also had a career-high nine rebounds.
It looks like Charlotte will open the 2007-08 season with a home game Nov. 9 against High Point from the Big South Conference. The Panthers are coached by Bart Lundy, a former coach at NCAA Division II Queens in Charlotte. High Point ended its season Thursday night with a loss to VMI in the Big South tournament semifinals. - Jim Utter