College Sports

Charlotte 49ers make Basketball Madness appearance

Charlotte 49ers men’s basketball coach Mark Price talks to the crowd under the new scoreboard at Halton Arena during the annual Basketball Madness on Thursday.
Charlotte 49ers men’s basketball coach Mark Price talks to the crowd under the new scoreboard at Halton Arena during the annual Basketball Madness on Thursday.

Last year, Charlotte men’s basketball coach Mark Price was more of an onlooker at the 49ers’ annual Basketball Madness.

Price was more of a participant Thursday night at Halton Arena.

The annual introduction of Charlotte’s men’s and women’s basketball teams drew 1,000-plus fans to Halton, where – among other things – Price took on several of the 49ers’ players in a 3-point shooting contest.

“Last year, this was one of the first things I was part of as part of the program,” said Price, a two-time winner of the NBA All Star Game’s 3-point shooting contest. “So I was kind of in observational mode, trying to figure out what it would be like.

“But now I know what to expect from it. It’s fun for the kids and the players. It’s more their night, but I’m honored to participate in it. We’re just going to have some fun, and hopefully get the students out and generate some excitement about not just the men’s team, but the women’s as well.”

Even though this is her sixth Basketball Madness, Charlotte women’s coach Cara Consuegra said it hasn’t lost its appeal.

“It really doesn’t,” Consuegra said. “Madness is one of our favorite nights of the year. … The teams might be a little bit different, but the excitement every year … it’s a lot of fun for them, because their personalities come out and the fans get to see what they’re really like.”

White on the mend

Sophomore guard Andrien White, one of three returning starters on the men’s team, returned to practice this week.

White broke a bone in his left foot during Charlotte’s exhibition tour in Canada in mid-August, and has been in a walking boot during the first two weeks of practice. While not practicing at full speed yet, White should be at or near full speed for the season opener, Price said.

“He’s not full-out, but he’s ahead of schedule,” Price said. “He’s such a worker and kept himself in such great shape that I’ve been surprised at how well he’s done.”

By the numbers

215 – Points senior guard Braxton Ogbuese, a Charlotte native, needs to score to become the 26th player in 49ers history to reach 1,000 career points.

91 – Wins by Consuegra in five years as Charlotte’s women’s coach, two shy of tying for No. 2 in career wins with current 49ers athletics director Judy Rose.

Double debut

Charlotte’s men’s and women’s basketball teams will open the 2016-17 season Nov. 11 with a doubleheader at Halton Arena.

The women will host Wisconsin at 5:30 p.m., followed by the men’s game against Newberry at 8 p.m.

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