Charlotte 49ers junior shooting guard Shawn Lester is leaving the basketball program to pursue a career in professional basketball, the school is announcing Thursday.
Lester, Charlotte’s second-leading scorer last season (11.9 points per game), is in the process of hiring an agent and will look to sign with a team overseas.
Lester played just one season at Charlotte out of Mooresville High. He was academically ineligible in 2012-13.
“Although we are saddened that Shawn will not be with us, we are fully supporting him and his family as he makes this transition,” 49ers coach Alan Major said in a statement. “We thank him for his efforts, and he will be a Niner for life.”
Lester also averaged 4.2 rebounds in 31 games as Charlotte’s sixth man last season. He had 21 double-figure scoring games and was named to the all-tournament team at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, an event the 49ers won.
“I would like to thank my teammates and coaches for their support,” Lester said in a statement. “This was a very difficult decision for me and my family. After much consideration and talking with my family and coaches, I feel it is in my best interest to begin my professional career.”
Lester would have competed for playing time in a crowded 49ers backcourt that includes returning starters Pierria Henry and Terrence Williams, Florida-transfer Braxton Ogbueze, freshmen Keyshawn Woods and Torin Dorn and sophomore Ivan Benkovic.
Lester is the third player from last season’s 49ers team to leave the program prematurely. Guard Denzel Ingram and forward Marcus Bryan both transferred to UNC Wilmington. Two other players, forwards E. Victor Nickerson and Darion Clark, transferred after the 2012-13 season.