College Sports

Finally, coach Mark Price has experienced Charlotte 49ers team that’s ‘really close’

Now in his third season, Charlotte 49ers basketball coach Mark Price will lean on guard Jon Davis and Andrien White to lead a more experienced team.
Now in his third season, Charlotte 49ers basketball coach Mark Price will lean on guard Jon Davis and Andrien White to lead a more experienced team. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

Jon Davis and Andrien White didn’t have a whole lot of time to adjust when they came to Charlotte to join Mark Price’s first 49ers team back in 2015.

Price threw both guards into the fire right away and watched as they experienced the ups and downs that went along with playing as freshmen.

The decision Price made back then had him feeling pretty good about Charlotte’s prospects heading into his third season, he said at Conference USA media day on Monday.

Both Price and Charlotte women’s coach Cara Consuegra appeared at the event.

“It definitely feels good to have that kind of experience,” Price said. “They have had two years to take some lumps and learn from it. I sense a hunger to take that next step.”

Davis and White, both 6-3, are a big part of Charlotte’s plans after solid sophomore seasons. Davis averaged 19.6 points last year and was one of 10 players included on C-USA’s preseason all-conference team.

White averaged 11.3 points and is another key member of Charlotte’s veteran core. Senior guard Austin Ajukwa is also back after averaging 11.4 points, giving Charlotte three returning starters who averaged double figures in the 2016-17 season.

“People look at our record,” Price said. “It doesn’t show we took a jump, but we made significant improvement. We won 13 games, but were really close to being an 18-19 win team last year.

“The next step is to close out games.”

Consuegra also believes she has a team that is ready to take a step forward after a 21-10 season that ended with a disappointing loss to Louisiana Tech in the conference tournament.

Like Price, she believes she has a solid core, led by junior guard Laia Raventos and sixth-year senior forward Nyilah Jamison-Myers.

Jamison-Myers was a member of the preseason all-conference team. The 49ers were picked to finish fourth in the preseason coaches’ poll.

“We have two good players to build around at important positions,” Consuegra said. “If I had to pick two positions to build around I would love to have a really good center and a really good point guard. We have both.”

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