Saturday, March 5, 2011

Looking back; looking ahead

The Charlotte 49ers' season opened their season with a loss against Gardner-Webb and ended it Saturday with another against Saint Joseph's.

In between, it was a lot of the same, translating into a 10-20 overall record, 2-14 in the Atlantic 10.

Except for a four-game winning streak in December, the 49ers never found much traction this season, having to figure out new coach Alan Major's system and playing without two of their top players -- Shamari Spears (kicked off the team in December) and Phil Jones (declared academically ineligible in January).

Then there were early-season injuries to guard Charles Dewhurst and forward K.J. Sherrill and the season-long ineligibility of freshman point guard Luka Voncina.

The high points: A four-game winning streak in December that included victories against Tennessee and Georgia Tech. An upset of Xavier at Halton Arena.

The lows: Losing the season opener against Gardner-Webb and the sum of the Atlantic 10 season, capped by Charlotte's failure to make the conference tournament.

Saint Joseph's coach Phil Martelli said Saturday he was impressed with how the 49ers kept playing hard -- something he probably had also noticed from watching tape of earlier games.

But, let's face it, that's what an opposing coach says when he can't really find anything else nice to say about the opposing team.

Looking ahead:

-- The 49ers will return four starters (if you count Derrio Green instead of senior Charles Dewhurst as a starter this year). With this kind of team, is that a good or bad thing?

 -- Luka Voncina and transfer DeMario Mayfield will be eligible. Four freshmen are coming in.

-- It's going to be important for center Chris Braswell to get stronger inside. He's got to be able to get to the rim with more authority.

-- Forward K.J. Sherrill and wing Javarris Barnett need to take the next step. Sherrill can be a force inside. Barnett had moments of brilliance, but couldn't sustain them. He can be that rare inside-outside threat with his shooting touch and 6-7 frame.

-- Don't be surprised to see the starting backcourt of Green and Deuce Briscoe be pushed -- hard -- by Mayfield and Voncina next season. Also, expect 6-3 guard Pierria Henry, one of the top prep players in West Virginia, to be a factor.

-- The front court will get some depth from 6-9 freshman Mike Thorne. Two other recruits -- forward E. Victor Nickerson and guard Terrence Williams (West Meck) -- will give Major the kind of depth he didn't come close to having this season.


Anonymous said...

I am going to erase this season from my memory bank....immediately. I predict a more competitive team next year.

Anonymous said...

GO NINERS!! Looking forward to next year! NINER NATION is behind you!

Anonymous said...

Until Major proves he can coach, why look anywhere? This was a mistake. I don't care what anyone says. You don't hire a guy who has never been a head coach -- never even been more that a 3rd assistant -- to coach this program.

This is what you get: player exits, bad shots, close losses, really, really bad home losses, a losing record in Halton Arena, tons of excuses for self-inflicted player roster setbacks, 8 straight losses to end an abysmal season and losers of 12 of 13.

Freaking disgusting. And, that is with Major inheriting 4 starters for a team that won 19 games.

Sad. Sad. Sad.

Anonymous said...

Your knowledge of what really went on this season is Sad. Sad. Sad. Go pull for another team, at least until they lose too. Tough year Niner Nation!

Anonymous said...

coming into the season, all the Lutz haters were chomping at bit for Major to be a big man coach...Chris Braswell regressed this year.

Judys Helmet said...

anon @ 10:02 = truth

Anonymous said...

Major can't coach! The players aren't that bad. NO WAY they should finish 13th in the A-10. Wonder if players will transfer out....hmmmm

Drew Polly said...

The next two years will be interesting as Major brings his own recruits in. Lutz didn't leave him much to work with, and it showed. The boys inability to play consistently- take good shots and get defensive stops during A-10 games has to change....I wouldn't be surprised if 2 or 3 of the freshmen were starters by January of next year.

Dowless said...

It is not neccesarily that the players aren't good players, or that Major sucks as a coach. The problem was the players do not fit the coaching style. Major style turns Defense into Offense and these guys are all offense 1st, run the floor type players. Major couldn't switch to a running offense because there was no depth. The niners will be better next year, but I don't think the incoming players will make them contenders at that point. I'm afraid that it will take a couple of classes to get back to championship caliber. The recruiting has definitely improved over the last 3 to 5 years.

Anonymous said...

Dowless: How do you know the recruiting has improved over the last 3-5 years? Do you see anyone coming in the level of Braz or KJ, athleticslly at 6-8, 6-9? I don't. I see a goot "get" from Charlotte and a project from Fayetteville. That's not enough.
(BTW, Major is considered a big man coach. How dod Braz take a step back this year? He got soft and was foul prone.)

DrewPolly: We don't have 2-3 years. We are such a sorry A-10 program now WE are bringing the league down.

This program couldn't win the Big South right now. Coastal already beat us once and Gardner-Webb destroyed us in the 2nd half, without Phil and Shamari. They would get humbled quickly in the SoCon. Davidson had its way with us and CofC, Wofford and Furman with toy with us.

I used to type "we", but Major took care of that for me.

Anonymous said...

"I used to type "we", but Major took care of that for me."

Good riddance.

Show me what 1st year coach who replaces a fired coach doesn't struggle year one?

Marshall was a God at Winthrop and was only 8-20 in his 1st season at Wichita State, .500 the 2nd season, and in 3rd season they are looking at a possible at-large bid.

It takes time to rebuild. I don't understand how that is so hard to grasp.

Anonymous said...

I hope your right because this season was a total disater. In fact this team has to qualify a one of the top 10 worst Unc Charlotte teams of all time. Look it up, there are not many that finished with less than 11 wins and just 2 conference wins. In fact, all of Lutz's squads finished better than this team including 2009 when they finished 5-12 and 11-20 overall.

Jeff said...

Bottom line....our "big man" coach took a decent front line and dismantled it ! Took an all A10 freshman and turned him backwards.
He's the one who needs to grow.....does anyone else think he's bit off more than he can chew ?!?! THe only one who improved off this roster was Trevin Parks !

Anonymous said...

Cut the CURSED loser "Charlotte 49er" crap and use the correct UNCC 49er or UNC-Charlotte 49er namesake. Either one will suffice. Stop stuffing this trash down throats and ditch the phony gimmick. The are 90% of 75,000 alumni detest this Rose mindwash and realize she is a clueless tyrant who needs to be replaced.

Stop being so moronic and insecure. Rose hired an inexperienced 2nd rate as usual for football. Her track record is clear and the Major boondoggle was a major joke. Losers always flub everything.

Get out of the far flung A-10 and get in the Southern Conference for routing for all UNCC sports to save millions in expenses. No brainer. Do something right for a change and stop with the embassassing loser lunacy.

The alltime savior preface that will never change is UNC UNC UNC UNC UNC UNC UNC UNC UNC UNC UNC UNC...

Freedom Huggins said...

@7:58 AM


49RFBN said...

Anon 7:58

Thanks for the insightful commentary Tyrone Biggums. You can get back to smoking those rocks now.

Anonymous said...

You know. I dont get why so many doubt Major after one season. Yes, I am angry too, but I also realize his best scorer was kicked off because he was a distraction (to put it nicely). He also had key players injured, plus the NCAA blocked Luka due to discrepancies over his grades in Slovenia transferring here.

What is a guy to do with that? We dont have a program built up yet that has depth to overcome all of that BUT the returning talent plus the incoming recruits next year should change that. I think next year we will finish at or slightly above .500 but if we dont, THEN I will be concerned.