The Charlotte 49ers played a brief Green-White scrimmage Wednesday at Halton Arena – with the Green team winning 34-33 behind center Jailan Haslem’s 13 points and eight rebounds.
Here are five takeaways from the scrimmage, as the 49ers (13-17, 7-11 Conference USA last season) prepare for their season opener Nov. 10 at home against Division III Methodist:
Solid, experienced core
For the first time in coach Mark Price’s three seasons, the 49ers will have a group of experienced, talented players from which to build. Junior guards Jon Davis and Andrien White (12 points for the White team) have started since setting foot on campus, and 6-foot-7 senior guard Austin Ajukwa was a key contributor last season after transferring from Clemson. Sophomore forward Najee Garvin (12 for the White team) is also back, as is senior guard Hudson Price.
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With the exception of Price – a grad student now who missed the scrimmage because he had a class – the other four set the tone of the scrimmage. Davis, who has made at least one preseason All-Conference USA team, finished with four points, three rebounds and an assist.
The missing piece?
Haslem, a 6-10 junior-college transfer from Gordon State (Ga.) immediately made his presence felt, dominating the inside, including a strong move early when he hit a short hook shot over freshman Bryant Thomas. Haslem gives the 49ers an inside presence they haven’t had since the 2015-16 season (Mark Price’s first) with rebounding machine Joseph Uchebo.
“I don’t know if anybody can rebound like Joseph did, but big Jailan is a piece we didn’t have last season,” Price said. “He’s a big, physical player who has a great attitude. He knows what we need from him.”
Price said he hopes there is enough talent on the roster for him to play a nine-man rotation. That means two freshmen from Serbia, 6-8 guard Luka Vasic -- who drained a 3-pointer off a fast break Wednesday -- and 6-9 Milos Supica – will need to develop quickly. Supica didn’t play Wednesday because of an illness.
Price – who observed the scrimmage while assistants Houston Fancher, Ivo Simovic and Andre Gray coached – said he was pleased with the game’s pace. But the coaching staff wanted the players to remember to keep things within a team-first framework.
“I don’t want to see that one-on-one stuff,” Fancher said to one of the young players during a timeout. “You haven’t earned that yet.”
The 49ers are reportedly in the running for top-100 recruit Filip Petrusev, a 6-11 power forward from Serbia. The 49ers might have a pretty good shot at Petrusev: He’s buddies with Vasic and they were teammates last season at Avon Old Farms School (Conn.). Petrusev has since transferred to Montverde (Fla.) Academy.
David Scott: @davidscott14