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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

September 12th, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball

 

Charlotte 49ers

 

Overall Rank: #60

Conference Rank: #4 A-10

 

2005-06: 19-13, 11-5, 2nd  

2005-06 postseason: NIT

 

Charlotte put together an average season last year based on their standards.  With three starters gone and an inexperienced frontcourt, this may be Coach Bobby Lutz’s toughest coaching job in years. 

 

Who’s Out: The absence of Curtis Withers and Chris Nance leaves some major holes in the paint, especially in the rebounding department.  Withers, who averaged 16.1 points and 11.3 rebounds as a senior, was a monster on the glass.  Nance tacked on 4.2 points and 4.7 boards and complimented the skills of Withers quite nicely.  Seldom used forward Tripp Miller has also run out of eligibility.  On the perimeter, the losses don’t look much better.  Point guard Mitchell Baldwin started 31 games and averaged 4.5 points and 4.4 assists.  Sixth man Marcus Bennett provided a consistent spark off the bench and ranked fourth on the team in scoring with 8.7 points per contest.

 

Who’s In: Yet, for every loss there is a newcomer ready to fill in.  Point guard Carlos Williams is likely to step right into a starting role.  Ranked as one of the best junior college point guards in the nation, Williams has the ability to do just that.  The 6-1, 190-pounder is a tremendous passer and if he can adjust to the level of play quickly, the 49ers will be in good hands.  The biggest questions are up front where David Booker hopes to have some answers.  Booker can help out a little on the glass, but isn’t expected to make a huge impact as a freshman.  E.J. Drayton returns after receiving a medical redshirt and only playing in seven games for the 2005-2006 campaign.  Two years ago the 6-8 forward averaged 8.7 points and 4.6 rebounds and his experience should get him a starting nod.  The depth on the wings will not be a problem with the addition of Sean Phaler, Charles Dewhurst and Ian Andersen.  Phaler, a former UCLA recruit and New Mexico player, is a tremendous scorer.  Even at 6-9, the Anaheim Hills, California product has the ability to knock down the long ball with ease and smoothly work his way through traffic.  He may be relegated to the bench this year, but he will contribute right away.  Wilderness can use a little improvement on his jumper, but the freshman has a knack for getting to the basket and has the body to battle in the A-10 immediately.  Dewhurst is another athletic wing who has good size and will battle for minutes.  Andersen gets lost in the list, but he is a smart player and a hard worker who can contribute on the defensive end this season.  What the 49ers really need is a quality big man to provide some depth up front.  And the late pickup of Phil Jones will provide just that.  The 6-10, 255 pound center is a true post player and doesn’t have any problems finishing under the basket.  Jones averaged 19.0 points, 10.2 rebounds and 5.3 blocks at Laurinburg Prep in North Carolina last year and some quality minutes off the bench this year will greatly help out Charlotte.

 

Who to Watch: A 49er has led its conference in three point field goals the last eight years.  With De’Angelo Alexander and Leemire Goldwire, you can put your bet down that a 49er will lead the league again for the next two years.  Alexander was the honoree of that award last season, draining 3.0 long balls per contest.  The 6-6 wing averaged 17.0 points and 6.1 rebounds per contest en route to first team all A-10 accolades.  Goldwire knocked down 2.6 three balls as a sophomore last year, good enough for third in the conference.  The Palm Beach Gardens, Florida native averaged 13.4 points and a team high 1.8 steals and is becoming a leader both on and off the court for Charlotte.

 

Final Projection: Returning seniors Antwon Coleman and Courtney Williams are expected to help fill in for Withers under the basket.  Coleman is a solid rebounder and averaged 3.6 points and 3.4 boards off the bench last season.  At 6-7 and a slimmer 265 pounds, he uses his body well to get grab some rebounds and, with a little less weight, it is hoped he can keep up with Charlotte’s up-tempo style.  The players departing look bad and will keep preseason expectations relatively low, especially in what looks like a tougher A-10, but Charlotte has plenty of talent to make a run at the NCAAs.  The only questions are up front and if a big man or two perform better than expected, Charlotte could be dancing.  If not, the opposing defense will guard the perimeter and that would be trouble for Alexander, Goldwire and 49er fans everywhere.

 

Projected Post-season Tournament: NIT

 

Projected Starting Five:

Carlos Williams, Junior, Guard, DNP last season

Leemire Goldwire, Junior, Guard, 13.4 points per game

De’Angelo Alexander, Senior, Guard, 17.0 points per game

E.J. Drayton, Senior, Forward, 3.6 points per game

Antwon Coleman, Senior, Forward, 3.6 points per game

61 South Carolina » Complete List » 59 Virginia Tech

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