Men's basketball

Charlotte's Jahmir Young drives to the basket for Charlotte. 

Before we dive into the analysis and the takeaways, let's admire the fact that basketball is back with fans. This is something that the players have missed as well as the coaches too. Nonetheless, Charlotte used the energy that the fans inside Halton Arena gave them to rally from down 10 points to win by 11 in their first game since the C-USA tournament last year.

Here are three takeaways from the exhibition and the outlook on the 2021-22 season for the Charlotte 49ers.

Charlotte's defense looks better than it did a year ago

Everyone knows by now that Charlotte is a very defensive-oriented team. They play a tight pack-line defense that many teams struggle to play against. This was apparent against Georgia as well, as the Bulldogs led most of the first half until the 49er defense got their feet under them and started forcing turnovers and causing havoc on the defensive end.

It was not pretty early on as the Bulldogs were able to get easy penetration and score several baskets in the painted area. However, Head Coach Ron Sanchez settled his team down, flipped the script in the last five minutes and changed the first half. He feels like the defensive presence of one particular player was the key in the turnaround.

"I think Marvin Cannon did a great job of igniting our defense," said Sanchez. "Especially in the first half, he helped build some momentum that we were able to take into the first part of the second half as well."

Towards the end of the game, it looked like last year's problems, giving up leads in the second half, were going to come back to haunt the team. However, the defense stepped up big and forced some errant Georgia turnovers, and Charlotte was able to seal the victory.

The correct moves were made in the offseason

Charlotte brought in a handful of transfers over the offseason, and there were a few stood out in the exhibition. 

"One thing that I will give them credit for is how hard the play and the effort they are putting in," said Sanchez. "This is something we are demanding and requiring, but it is in them."

Clyde Trapp finished the game second in scoring, and coming from a team like Clemson in the ACC, what he brings to the table is leadership and a knowledge of what it is like to play tough opponents every game.

Austin Bulter, who was formally at Holy Cross, is a vocal leader on the floor, and he played with a ton of energy.

"I think Austin does a terrific job of just injecting people with his level of energy," Sanchez said.

Another transfer to mention, who made an impact in this game, is Robert Braswell. He is a stretch four who is also quick enough to play the three-position. He comes from Syracuse, where their defensive scheme looks a lot different than the pack-line of Charlotte. Syracuse plays a 2-3 zone and Braswell has made great strides to learn this new system he isn't accustomed to, even since the first practice.

Jahmir Young is going to be in the hunt for C-USA player of the year

With all the transfer additions coming in, there was some speculation about how much production would be taken out of the hands of Jahmir Young. So far, the answer to that is simple: none. Young finished with 30 points in the game and looked like his usual self, knocking down threes, driving and dishing, and even finishing through contact.

The addition of the transfers has Young excited for what this team can accomplish.

"I feel like they are great additions to the team," Young said. "I think this is a very special team that we got here. I feel like Braswell stretches the floor for us, AB (Austin Butler) is a good hard worker, and Clyde just bringing leadership and chemistry."

One thing to note about Young is that he is very selfless and he does not like to discuss his success much. Instead, he stays focused on the team goals, and this is what Sanchez needs from his best player.

Looking ahead

Even though the win does not count towards the team's record, it gives the 49ers a boost of confidence heading into the regular season. 

This upcoming week, Charlotte will travel to Wofford for a closed scrimmage where no media will be in attendance. After this, it is time to get the regular season going on Nov. 9 against Monmouth at 7 p.m.

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