49ers news and notes as football signing day (Wednesday) nears:
-- Charlotte picked up four commitments on Monday, according to Rivals.com: WR Austin Duke (Independence); QB Austin Berrios (Raleigh Leesville Road), DL James Middleton (St. Stephen, S.C.) and QB Lee McNeill of Porter Ridge.
The 49ers also lost one: West Mecklenburg LB Tashion Singleton picked Appalachian State over the 49ers and S.C. State.
-- New 49ers men's soccer Kevin Langan has promoted Kyle Gookins to his lead assistant coach. Gookins has served under Langan and former coach Jeremy Gunn since 2009.
-- Season tickets in the lower bowl of Charlotte's Hayes Stadium are sold out for this coming baseball season (season begins Feb. 17 against St. Peter's). Also, College Baseball Insider just released its Atlantic 10 preview, with lots of love the 49ers (and assistant coach Brandon Hall).
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
49ers news and notes as football signing day (Wednesday) nears:
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Observations from Charlotte's 74-70 loss Saturday against Xavier:
-- The loss, the 49ers' fifth straight in the Atlantic 10, plunged Charlotte (10-10, 2-5) into the Atlantic 10's danger zone. They're tied for 12th with Fordham and just one game ahead of last place Rhode Island, which won its first league game Saturday with an upset at Dayton.
-- Freshman Terrence Williams started for a second straight game ahead of Derrio Green at shooting guard. Why? Defense. With point guard Pierria Henry still out with an injured knee, the 49ers backcourt is small and limited defensively (remember last season?) with Deuce Briscoe and Green back there. Williams, at 6-4, is longer than Green (6-2) and helped limit Xavier guards Tu Holloway and Mark Lyons to a combined eight-of-26 night.
-- Javarris Barnett's 27 points were a career high and he made seven of eight 3-pointers. The school record is 10 made 3s, by Brendan Plavich against Syracuse in 2003. But the 87.5 percent is a school record for a player who took at least eight 3s (Plavich made 7 of 9 (77.8 percent) twice -- against Louisiana-Lafayette and Davidson in 2004)
-- Don't be surprised to see Henry back either at La Salle or Fordham next week. Major said that, although Henry isn't practicing yet, he's been improving quickly.
-- Small forward DeMario Mayfield (13 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, one steal) had a good all-around game. How good? Mayfield, who entered the game a 44.0 percent free-throw shooter, made six-of-eight against Xavier. Musketeers coach Chris Mack said his team turned Mayfield "into Mark Price." Price is the NBA's career free-throw leader.
Friday, January 27, 2012
The short, suspension-filled career of Paige McCallum with the 49ers' women's basketball program ended Friday when she was dismissed from the team by coach Cara Consuegra.
"After much consideration, it is the decision of our coaching staff that Paige McCallum and our team part ways at this time," Consuegra said in a statement. "We want to thank Paige for her contributions to our program.We wish her the best in her future endeavours."
McCallum, a senior forward from Whiteville, has been suspended since the 49ers' seventh game of the season for undisclosed reasons. She was also suspended twice last season, including during the 49ers' run to the semifinals of the Women's NIT.
McCallum, whose sister Shannon is one of the program's all-time great players, averaged 5.0 points in 31 games in her two seasons with Charlotte after transferring from Gulf Coast (Fla.) Community College.
McCallum will remain in school at Charlotte, where she is majoring in African Studies.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Observations from Charlotte's 79-57 loss against Temple at Halton Arena:
The 49ers (10-9, 2-4 Atlantic 10) appear to be in a perilous spot in their season: A four-game conference losing streak, their starting point guard (Pierria Henry) out for two weeks with a knee injury and another big-time team (Xavier) coming up on Saturday.
Add to that disciplinary problems, with junior forward K.J. Sherrill suspended for the game and seniors Derrio Green and Javarris Barnett benched for breaking undisclosed team rules.
Coach Alan Major said the team will meet the problems head on and play through them. Center Chris Braswell said the team will stick together. All that's hard enough when three of your most experienced players -- including its only two seniors -- let the team down by breaking rules. Not much of way to show leadership.
-- That said, that was a heck of a position to put freshmen E. Victor Nickerson (four points on 1 of 6 shooting) and Terrence Williams (no points, missing all three shots) in, against one of the Atlantic 10's top teams. But it can only help them in the long run.
-- With Sherrill out, even little-used backup center Ilija Ivankovic got in the game. He’d only played eight minutes this season. Walk-on guards Colby Lewis and Lamar Bradbury also played and both made a 3-pointer. The only 49er who didn't play was freshman center Mike Thorne.
-- The 49ers honored their national runner-up men’s soccer team during a timeout in the first half.
The 49ers are without freshman point guard Pierria Henry (sprained knee) and forward K.J. Sherrill (one-game suspension) for tonight's game against Temple.
Henry will miss about two weeks after he suffered a first degree MCL sprain in his left knee earlier this week. Henry, who played through a dislocated right index finger in Saturday's loss at George Washington, probably injured the knee during practice.
Henry is second in the Atlantic 10 in steals (3.0 per game).
Sherrill was suspended for breaking undisclosed team rules.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
The 49ers have lost three straight Atlantic 10 games heading into Wednesday's game against Temple. A major reason why is that Charlotte has been coming out flat after halftime, being outscored 31-16 before the first media timeout in those three games. Here's a look at some interesting numbers in those losses to UMass, Saint Louis and George Washington:
Halftime score: UMass 44-33.
First four minutes of second half: UMass 13-6.
Upshot: Minutemen eventually went ahead by 20 points before a late Charlotte rally fell short. Final: UMass 85-75.
Halftime score: Charlotte 34-26
First four minutes of second half: Saint Louis 8-6.
Upshot: Billikens went on a second-half tear that eventually led to a 13-point lead. Charlotte rallied, but again, fell short. Final: Saint Louis 68-67.
Halftime score: Charlotte 25-22
First four minutes of second half: GW 10-4.
Upshot: Colonials never allowed 49ers to lead again. Final: GW 60-52.
-- Whether 49ers point guard Pierria Henry -- who dislocated his right index finger Saturday at George Washington -- plays against Temple will be a game-time decision, according to coach Alan Major.
Monday, January 23, 2012
The Atlantic 10's baseball coaches have voted the 49ers to win another the league championship in a preseason poll announced today.
Charlotte, which begins its season Feb. 17 against St. Peter's, has won four of the conference's last five regular-season championships (including last season) and three of the league's last five tournaments (including '11). Practice for coach Loren Hibbs' team begins Friday.
The 49ers (43-16 last season) have several key players back, including pitcher Andrew Smith, a preseason second-team All-American.
The Atlantic 10 preseason vote:
1. Charlotte (43-16/17-7) - 167 points
2. Rhode Island (31-22/16-8) - 140 points
3. Dayton (32-27/15-9) - 129 points
4. Xavier (30-27/14-10) - 124 points
5. Richmond (29-27/13-11) - 123 points
6. Saint Louis (29-26/10-14) - 95 points
7. Fordham (31-23/12-11) - 80 points
t8. La Salle (28-26/13-11) - 74 points
t8. Saint Joseph's (21-31/11-13) - 74 points
10. St. Bonaventure (23-23/13-11) -57 points
11. George Washington (19-36/9-15) - 55 points
12. Massachusetts (17-29/8-15) - 38 points
13. Temple (24-29/4-20) - 27 points
Sunday, January 22, 2012
WASHINGTON -- Observations from the 49ers' 60-52 loss Saturday against George Washington, Charlotte's third straight Atlantic 10 defeat:
-- There never is a good time for a three-game losing streak in the league, but the timing of this one is particularly tough for the 49ers (10-8, 2-3) with Atlantic 10 heavyweights Temple (Wednesday) and Xavier (Saturday) coming to Halton Arena next week. So what's been the problem? Finishing: Each game was winnable in the second half.
49ers coach Alan Major continues to say the 49ers are learning how to stay tough and to play a full 40 minutes. His team has been tied or ahead in the second half of each of the three losses -- 25-22 to start the second half against GW (and tied 45-45 with 5:18 left); 47-46 with 9:03 left against Saint Louis and 69-68 with 4:47 left against UMass.
The 49ers surrendered those leads quickly and never got them back on all three occasions.
Friday, January 20, 2012
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Observations from Charlotte's 68-67 loss Saturday against Saint Louis, the 49ers' second straight Atlantic 10 defeat:
-- Tough day for freshman point guard Pierria Henry, who had eight turnovers (he also scored 10 points, had four rebounds, two assists and five steals. Four of those turnovers came in a stretch in which Charlotte turned it over on seven of eight second-half possessions.
“They did a good job in the open floor, trying to run him down and back-tip (the ball) him,” said coach Alan Major. “He’ll look at the film and see that teams structure their defenses a little bit. He’ll learn from it.”
-- It was “blackout” day at Halton Arena. The 49ers wore black uniforms and asked their fans to wear that color, too. The last time Charlotte wore black, it beat Tennessee last season in Time Warner Cable Arena.
-- Saint Louis’s leading scorers were both substitutes – Cody Ellis, who scored 17 points in 32 minutes and Mike McCall Jr., who had 16 in 30 minutes. They took the places of starting center Rob Loe and forward Dwayne Evans. Billikens coach Rick Majerus’ explanation was that Loe was “soft” and Evans didn’t play well in a recent loss against Temple.
-- The 49ers’ get a break from conference play on Wednesday, hosting Kennesaw State. Charlotte is at George Washington next Saturday.
-- Charlotte’s 54.3 percent shooting was its second highest of the season. The 49ers made 55.8 percent of their shots in a victory against Wright State.
-- Charlotte reserve center Ilija Ivankovic was out for a second consecutive game with a head injury.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
AMHERST, Mass. -- The 49ers are continuing to learn lessons the hard way about how to win consistently in the Atlantic 10. After Wednesday's 85-75 defeat at Massachusetts -- coming on the heels of a 57-52 victory at Saint Joseph's -- Charlotte found out about how rough starts can hurt you.
"We didn't play well in the opening segments of each half," said coach Alan Major. "They scored 25 of their 85 points then, and that's always going to hurt you."
The Minutemen opened the game by taking a 21-6 lead. After taking a 44-33 lead at halftime, UMass scored the first seven points of the second half and stretched the lead to 20 before a furious 49ers comeback.
Next up for Charlotte (9-7, 2-1) is a visit Saturday from the league's top defensive team, the Saint Louis Billikens. And the way coach Rick Majerus' team plays defense, if Charlotte falls behind by 20 points in the second half (as it did against UMass), the 49ers might not get a chance to rally and take a lead late in the game (like they did against UMass).
"I was proud of our guys and how they didn't tuck in like a lot of people would, down 20 against a really good team at home," said Major.
Still, the 49ers have already won as many conference games as they did all last season. The lessons continue.
-- The 49ers, who entered the UMass game among the country's leaders in steals (9.4 per game), had 13 against UMass. Freshman guard Pierria Henry, who was averaging nearly three a game and was second in the Atlantic 10, had two more against the Minutemen.
-- Although Major credited his team's second-half rally against UMass to defense, the 49ers allowed the Minutemen to shoot 64 percent through the game's first 24 minutes.
-- Forward Javarris Barnett, who entered the game averaging 11.4 points, had just five against UMass. Normally an excellent 3-point shooter, Barnett was just one-of-five from beyond the arc.
-- Charlotte continues to take better care of the ball than it has in recent memory. The 49ers had 12 turnovers against UMass, have had more assists than turnovers in five of their last seven games.
-- Center Chris Braswell had the best game of his 49ers career against UMass. The 6-8 junior scored a career high 31 points, making nine of 15 shots (including three-of-five 3 pointers), 10 of 11 from the line and pulling down nine rebounds.
AMHERST, Mass. -- What to watch for in tonight's 49ers-Massachusetts game at the Mullins Center:
-- The Minutemen (12-4, 1-1) are the second-highest scoring team in the Atlantic 10 at 77.2 points per game. Charlotte's defense, much of it man-to-man, slowed down another high-scoring team in Saint Joseph's on Saturday. The 49ers will have to contain UMass guard Chaz Williams, who averages 15.7 points, 5.9 assists and 2.5 steals. He's got a 1.8 assist-turnover ratio.
-- UMass is tough on the boards, averaging 41.2 per game. The Minutemen do that by committee, though. They don't have a player ranked in the top 15 in the league in rebounding overall. Sean Carter and Terrell Vinson each average 6.1.
-- The road has not been a bad place for Charlotte (9-5, 2-0) this season. The 49ers are 5-3 away from Halton Arena -- including the 57-52 victory against St. Joe's -- so this is Charlotte's ninth road game in 15 games. Four of Charlotte's next five are at home (Saint Louis, non-conference Kennesaw State, Temple, Xavier; with a trip to George Washington on Jan. 21) Incidentally, the only time the 49ers have started 3-0 in Atlantic 10 play was in 2005-06, their first season in the league.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
49ers freshman point guard Pierria Henry is ranked second in the Atlantic 10 in steals (2.8 per game) and is now fifth nationally (he's also averaging 7.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists). Here's what the two Atlantic 10 coaches who have already faced the 49ers and Henry have to say about him (these quotes, and a lot more) will be in a profile of Henry I'll have in Saturday's Observer:
Phil Martelli, Saint Joseph's: "The first thing is he brings size (6-feet-3) to the point-guard spot. If you don't have a tiny great (point guard), you need to have someone there with some size. He has a feel for the position. He wants to get in the lane and he wants to spread the ball around. He's not enamored of the 3-point line, like a lot of young players are today. I thought he was very, very committed to defense in our game. That's something that's hard to pick up on tape.
"He's got a really bright future. If you think about those guys playing off him -- (Derrio) Green and (Deuce) Briscoe with their quick release(s) and how they want to play through (Chris) Braswell. He can see over defenders and put the ball comfortably where they want it.
"And when he goes to the basket, he's not going there to get fouled. He likes to be creative, take a bump. He plays a lot older than an 18- or 19-year old freshman."
Chris Mooney, Richmond: "He sets the tone for the team. He likes to pick up full-court, and that shows that he wants to defend, that he's anxious to play defense. When you have an aggressive player and he's playing that point-guard position, it's very important because it's a leadership position. He has a knack for the position and works hard at it, too."
Saturday, January 7, 2012
PHILADELPHIA -- 49ers freshman guard Pierria Henry is your early favorite for Atlantic 10 rookie of the year. He had another impact game in Saturday's 57-52 victory against Saint Joseph's, hitting the clinching free throws after a key steal, scoring 11 points, grabbing five rebounds and committing no turnovers. His four steals will keep him among the nation's leaders (he entered the game averaging 2.8).
-- Charlotte junior guard Jamar Briscoe passed the 1,000-point mark for his career Saturday with his 11 points against Saint Joseph’s. Briscoe now has 1,008 points (535 came his first season of college ball at N.C. Central, where he was the nation’s second-leading freshman scorer).
-- Next up for the 49ers is a trip Wednesday to Massachusetts. The Minutemen (12-3, 1-0 A-10) play at La Salle on Sunday. They're another of the several teams in the league that have made big strides this season (Charlotte, Saint Joseph's and La Salle) among them.
-- The 49ers had 13 steals and forced 16 turnovers against the Hawks. Charlotte scored 18 points off those turnovers, and had a maddening stretch in the second half where it had trouble converting them -- or making any kind of basket, for that matter. The 49ers went nine minutes without a field goal.
-- The 49ers pride themselves on getting loose balls and doing the “little things.” That was apparent in the first half when Pierria Henry and Chris Braswell got around Saint Joseph’s box-outs and corralled rebounds off 49ers missed free throws.
-- Best looking shoes, or at least most noticeable: Briscoe’s Day-Glo green Nikes.
-- Best dunk: A twisting alley-oop by Hawks center C.J. Aiken, who had to reach back to grab the pass, but threw it down anyway.
-- Freshman guard Terrence Williams (West Mecklenburg High) is picking up the minutes left by the departed Luka Voncina. Williams played 16 minutes against St. Joseph’s and had seven rebounds, six of them defensive.
-- Derrio Green is now tied with Rodney Odom for 29th on Charlotte's career scoring list with 905.
-- Saint Joseph's freshman guard Chris Wilson, who played 24 minutes against Charlotte, is from Fayetteville's Terry Sanford High.
PHILADELPHIA -- The Charlotte 49ers held off a Saint Joseph's rally and survived a shaky shooting day, but had enough at the end to beat Saint Joseph's 57-25 Saturday at Hagan Arena.
The victory moved to 49ers to 2-0 in Atlantic 10 play (9-5 overall) and dropped the Hawks to 11-5, 1-1.
The 49ers shot just 33.9 percent, and managed to overcome a Hawks team that blocked eight Charlotte shots.
Charlotte led by as many as 13 points in the first half, but saw the lead evaporate in the second half as the 49ers went without a basket for nine minutes. The Hawks led by as many as five points with 6 minutes, 36 seconds left.
Guards Pierria Henry and Jamar Briscoe (11 points each) led Charlotte, which plays at Massachusetts on Wednesday. Henry had a key steal late and his two free throws with 7.7 seconds left iced the game for Charlotte.
Carl Jones' 14 points led the Hawks.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
The 49ers announced the hiring of three assistant football coaches today -- Phil Ratliff (offensive line, recruiting coordinator), Napolean Sykes (linebackers) and Joe Tereshinski (inside receivers).
Ratliff confirmed his hiring to The Observer in December. He's a former tight ends coach at Marshall and James Madison who will be in charge of Charlotte's recruiting. He was a player at Marshall when 49ers head coach Brad Lambert was a Thundering Herd assistant.
Sykes, a linebacker at Wake Forest under Lambert, has been at Navy the past two seasons, coaching the Midshipmen's outside linebackers and secondary. He also coached one year at Charlotte's Mallard Creek High. Tereshinski, a former Georgia quarterback, has been a graduate assistant at Wake Forest since 2009.
Ratliff, Sykes and Tereshinski join a 49ers coaching staff that already includes offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen, defensive coordinator Bruce Tall and secondary coach James Adams. Here's what Lambert had to say about the three newcomers:
“He played for us at Marshall and he was a very intense player. He will bring that intensity to the offensive line. He’s coached at all levels: high school, FBS, FCS. He’s recruited the Charlotte area in particular for a number of years and that’s very important to us. The other thing we love is he’ll do a great job with the guys, handling the players and do a great job representing our university with his integrity and character and the type of guy he is.”
“We recruited Napolean to Wake and he played linebacker and he’s one of those guys – like James Adams – that sat in my office and he knows how we want the players treated. I saw him as a coach and a player and how he relates to players. He coached high school ball in Charlotte so he brings a lot to the table because of his coaching experience in Charlotte. He’ll do a phenomenal job coaching our linebackers.”
“Joe comes from a long line of football players – he’s been around the game his whole life. I got to know him when I was at Georgia. I coached with his father and had a chance to recruit and coach his brother John. Joe’s a high-character guy. (After graduation) he got into the business world – but he knows what he really wants to do. His passion really is football. He knows that and that’s exciting for me. I had a chance to work with him at Wake. He has a great wealth of knowledge offensively. He played quarterback at the highest level and can bring a great perspective for our receivers from a quarterback’s standpoint. He’ll be a great asset to our wideouts because he knows what the quarterback’s thinking. He has great contacts and relationships and knowledge in the Georgia area and he will represent Charlotte in first class manner.”
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
The short-lived Charlotte 49ers basketball career of Luka Voncina appears to be over.
Voncina, a sophomore guard who left the team two weeks ago to attend to a family issue in his native Slovenia, informed 49ers coach Alan Major on Tuesday that he would not return to Charlotte.
"Although we are disappointed Luka will not be returning, we wish him nothing but the best in his future and understand that he wants to support his family,” Major said in a statement. “We appreciate his efforts and though our basketball relationship is over our friendship will continue."
Voncina arrived in Charlotte as a freshman in 2010, but didn't play last season because of eligibility issues that couldn't be resolved between UNC Charlotte and his school in Slovenia.
With those issues resolved, Voncina began this season as a solid contributor in the 49ers backcourt, averaging 3.0 points and 0.8 rebounds in eight games. He averaged 15.6 minutes per game, shooting 36. percent from the field and 31.3 percent from three-point range.
Kevin Langan has been named the 49ers’ new men’s soccer coach.
Langan, a 49ers assistant since 2009, replaces Jeremy Gunn, who resigned recently to become coach at Stanford. Langan was the program's associate head coach in 2011.
Langan inherits a program that was one of college soccer’s biggest stories last season, when the 49ers advanced to the championship game of the NCAA tournament’s College Cup, losing 1-0 to North Carolina.
Eight starters will return next season for a 49ers team that is bound to have high expectations.
“I am extremely excited and honored to become the head coach of the Charlotte 49ers soccer team,” Langan said in a statement. “I would like to thank athletic director Judy Rose, Senior Associate Athletic Director Kim Whitestone and the university for giving me the opportunity to lead the program onwards. I would also like to thank the current players, alumni and the Charlotte soccer community for the fantastic support I have received over the past few weeks; it has all been quite humbling to be honest.”
This is Langan’s first collegiate head-coaching job. He came to Charlotte in 2009 after spending four years as the head boys coach of the Classics Elite Soccer Academy in San Antonio.
Langan came to the United States in 2004 from the University of Bath in England. Raised on the Channel Island of Jersey, Langan played professionally for England’s Bristol City and represented England in two World University Games, captaining the team in 2003. He also played for England’s “futsal” (indoor) team.
Langan played for two seasons as a graduate student for Incarnate Word, a small college in San Antonio, helping the Cardinals to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight in 2004.
Langan is the seventh coach in the 49ers’ 36-year soccer history. Gunn was 64-26-14 in five seasons at Charlotte.
Sunday, January 1, 2012
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Observations from the 49ers' 67-58 loss against Memphis at FedEx Forum:
-- The 49ers (7-5) take a three-game losing streak into Atlantic 10 play, which begins Wednesday at Halton Arena against Richmond. And although toughness and grit don't necessarily help with a team's shooting, those characteristics did surface against the Tigers. They weren't there in recent losses against Arkansas and Miami. Charlotte, despite having 13 shots blocked and shooting 24.6 percent, stayed with the Tigers for most of the game.
The 49ers somewhat countered all those blocks with 10 steals and somewhat countered their shooting woes by making 77.3% of their free throws and nine 3s.
Coach Alan Major said the 49ers got complacent during their recent five-game winning streak. If that's the case, there's a huge lesson for a team that's still got a lot of growing up to do.
"I think we got some of that edge back tonight," said Major.
-- That said, the 49ers have now shot less than 35 percent in three consecutive games. DeMario Mayfield is eight-of-32 (25% ) in those games, and many of those have been layups or point-blank shots. Mayfield is active defensively and disrupts a lot of things, but he's not taking advantage at the offensive end. He's also making well under 50% of his free throws.
-- Braswell said the 49ers expected Memphis to block shots (the Tigers averaged 6.8 entering the game).
"We knew they'd be blocking shots," said Braswell. "We emphasized it in practice -- pump faking, getting guys in the air, trying to get a foul in the air. I guess guys were still trying to lean away, and got their shots blocked. We went away from that."
-- Derrio Green was effective against Memphis, scoring 12 points on four-of-nine shooting (two-of-six from 3-point range). And although Javarris Barnett had an off-night offensively (five points), he led Charlotte with nine rebounds.
-- Major said he hasn't heard from guard Luka Voncina, who has missed four games because of personal problems he's now dealing with in his home of Slovenia. Doesn't sound like he'll be back by the Richmond game.