First preview

Charlotte's Jared Garcia fights for the ball in a exhibition game against Georgia on Oct. 24, 2021.     

After downing Georgia in the exhibition game on Oct. 24 with a score of 76-65, the Charlotte men's basketball team has built up plenty of anticipation heading into the 2021-22 season. The 49ers kick things off with a home matchup against Monmouth on Nov. 9.

Coming into this new season, there are a lot of differences from the last. The limitations Covid brought upon last season have been less prominent, and the reintroduction of fans in the arena will be a game-changer for the team.

"To be honest, I'm just excited to be starting the season on time, with fans, and without Covid issues on our roster and our team," said head coach Ron Sanchez. "I'm just thankful for all of the efforts put forth by so many people who could give us an opportunity to compete [and] to start the season off this way."

The two teams have yet to face one another since Nov. 19, 2007, with Monmouth taking the lead in overtime with a close game of 58-56. The game was a part of the Paradise Jam that took place on the US Virgin Islands.

The Monmouth Hawks' overall record last season sits at 12-8, and they have ten returning regular season players from last season's roster. Last season, the Hawks won their conference's regular season for the third time in six seasons. According to the Hawks Athletics page, fifth-year players George Papas and Marcus McClary are the top two returning scorers.

The 49ers have nine returning players on their roster this season, one of which being junior Jahmir Young, who had a notable season last year. Young played and started in all 25 games of the 2020-21 season. He put up a total of 813 points and played a total of 1873 minutes.

With a stellar season last year and an upperclassman title to his name, Young is seen as a leader of the team this year.

"He's such a hardworking kid," said Sanchez. "As an upperclassman, [he can] impact others in a way where he allows them to elevate their game and be at his play. His leadership is not going to just show on the scoreboard, it has to be a lot more than that. He now has to make others around him better."

The team has five transfers on their current roster and plan to use that their advantage. Having these transfers on the team presents the opportunity for them to be leaders and share their experiences with the younger players and elevate the level of talent on the team.

The home opener will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 9, at Halton Arena at 7 p.m. and will be available for streaming on CUSA.TV.

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