The Charlotte 49ers men’s basketball team will look to their seniors to provide a great deal of leadership during the course of the upcoming season, as they look to navigate COVID-19 as well as a successful 2020-21 season.
Many obstacles may arise this season, but the 49ers hope to play a full and successful season.
With a lot of experience, senior Milos Supica is up for the task to navigate this uncertain season.
Milos Supica was born in Serbia, however he played high school basketball at Freedom Christian Academy in Fayetteville, NC. In his senior campaign, Supica averaged 21.3 points and 11 rebounds a game, along with 2.4 blocked shots per game. He was awarded all-state honors as well as being named in Charlotte Observer’s top 25 recruits of the 2017 season in North Carolina.
Supica has made steps throughout his 49er career to be a proven leader.
Supica saw action in 28 games and started in eight his freshman year, contributing two double doubles as well. In his sophomore year, Supica played in 29 games and started in 18. He grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds in a win against Oklahoma State. In his junior season, Supica saw action in all of the games that season, scoring double figures in more than six games. He had 10 games with more than five rebounds.
Being a senior during a pandemic isn't an easy task. Supica is well aware of that and ready for the task.
“Being a senior this year will be very different because of COVID. It is a challenging time for sure. I feel like setting an example for the team is important,” Supica said.
Supica said that following the protocol’s the University has implemented is important as well.
COVID-19 has caused many challenges for athletes across the country, from cancellations to postponements of events. Challenges that student athletes face everyday is something that they have never had to experience before. Supica felt that it is a very odd time that we are navigating.
“We’ve never seen a time like this and it presents a lot of challenges. We all have to be very careful because if one player gets COVID, then practice gets canceled and potential postponement to the start of the season too,” Supica said.
Being cautious is the most critical component in all of this. Players must follow the guidelines in order to be safe and stay healthy.
COVID-19 has also changed the way in which the conference has done their scheduling this season. As a brief description, during the conference season, a team will play the same opponent twice in a row at the same venue. These games will also be played back-to-back.
Supica knows the new schedule format won’t be easy by any means.
“It is going to be hard to play a team, and turn around and play them again with little preparation or rest.”
Managing the new schedule will be a challenge that Supica as well as the rest of the team will be facing this season, but he believes that they are prepared for the challenge.
As many will recall, the 2019-20 basketball season was abruptly interrupted by COVID-19, causing many cancellations of conference tournaments, as well as the NCAA tournament. As Supica, the news was crushing as the team was close to the end of a great year and a chance at winning a conference championship ripped from them.
“It was very disappointing. We were actually in a shoot-around when we were told that the tournament was canceled,” Supica said when asked about the disappointment of the C-USA tournament being cancelled last season.
With COVID-19 still very much a threat it will be crucial for athletes to be safe so that they can have a conference tournament at the end of this season.
“We look to play well and make a run for the championship this year. Hopefully we can play a full season so that we can play a tournament this year.”
At the helm of every great team is a great coach. Head coach Ron Sanchez for the 49ers has had great success in his few years with the program so far. He has recruited many top tier players and brought in many transfers to the program as well. His leadership this far will be crucial this season.
“Coach is a phenomenal guy. He is never going to embarrass any of his players. He is a great leader and has had a big impact on my development as a player,” said Supica.
Supica and the team will look to improve upon what was a terrific season last year, and get back to the conference tournament with a chance to play for a C-USA championship. Supica’s leadership on and off the court will be something that is crucial to the 49ers success this season.