It didn’t look pretty starting out for Charlotte as their first two games of the season were canceled. Contests against Tennessee and VCU were canceled due to COVID-19 implications and neither were rescheduled.
Once the 49ers took the court there was some rust evident but the guys eventually got going in the right direction with wins against SC State, Davidson, NC A&T and George Washington. Charlotte enters conference play with a 4-3 record. There is a good bit to take away from the non-conference.
Here is what we learned from the 49ers' non-conference games.
Jahmir Young will compete for C-USA player of the year
What is to be said about Jahmir Young that hasn’t already been said? He is the backbone for the 49ers and has proved to be just that in the non-conference. After a Conference USA freshman of the year campaign, Young is looking to add more hardware to the trophy case. In the non-conference slate, Young posted 18.9 points and 5.7 rebounds per game with 2.8 assists per game as well.
When Charlotte needs a bucket, you can bet a heavy amount of money that it will be Jahmir Young getting it for the team. He is a rock solid player with not many flaws in his game. He shoots the ball at a 48% clip and 36% from three-point range. Young had four games in non-conference play in which he scored over 20 points with his season high being against NC A&T where he had 27 points.
Young has already asserted his dominance on the court and will look to continue his stellar play into conference play, as well as push for the C-USA player of the year.
Charlotte’s interior play will have to improve in C-USA play
Losing a key player in Amidou Bamba after last season was crucial for the 49ers interior game, but Milos Supica has stepped up to the plate. While there is a learning curve, there are the keys in place to improve going forward.
Charlotte will need to rebound better against taller teams. In games where they played against taller big guys, Charlotte has had a hard time to rebound the ball. ECU and App State outrebounded the 49ers and their forwards and centers were, in both cases, taller than Charlotte’s forwards and centers.
It could just be issues in boxing out, but this will be key moving into the conference season.
Charlotte will need to spread the ball around moving forward
Besides Jahmir Young, there is only one other person that averages in double figures in points and that is Jordan Shepard. Even Shepard’s numbers are down from last year, so this poses a question; is Jahmir doing too much, or does he have to?
While the 49ers have a phenomenal defense, their offense only averages slightly over 66 points per game. Jahmir averages 18.9 and Shepard averages 12.6, so when two of your players average just under half of your total points per game, it makes me wonder, where are the other players and what is holding them back from producing points?
It could be a game plan issue or a lack of confidence in some of the 49ers’ younger guys but it is something that coach Sanchez and the team will need to figure out heading into C-USA play.
The 49ers are in a good spot heading into conference play. Sanchez will be sure to fix any errors that he sees and has seen in the non-conference and have the guys ready for their conference opener against Western Kentucky on New Years day.