College Sports

Sizing up the Charlotte 49ers’ basketball roster

Charlotte 49ers coach Ron Sanchez is expecting big things from forward Milos Supica (15) next season.
Charlotte 49ers coach Ron Sanchez is expecting big things from forward Milos Supica (15) next season. DavidsonPhotos.com

The addition of two graduate transfers has finished what’s a near complete makeover of the Charlotte 49ers’ men’s basketball roster.

Only four scholarship players remain from the young and thin 49ers who went 8-21 and failed to qualify for last season’s Conference USA tournament. But new players like grad transfers Amidou Bamba, a forward from Coastal Carolina, and guard Drew Edwards (Providence) will help give second-year coach Ron Sanchez more options than he had during the first season of his rebuilding job at Charlotte.

Despite the loss of two starters (including point guard Jon Davis, who ended his career as the 49ers’ third all-time leading scorer) and two others who transferred out, that’s encouraging news for Sanchez, who will use his full complement of 13 scholarship players next season.

He only had eight at his disposal last season after two players were thrown off the team in October and a third (Luka Vasic) suffered a season-ending knee injury during the summer. So, due to graduation and transfers (Dravon Magnum and Jaylan McGill), nine new players have been added.

Here’s a snapshot of Charlotte’s 2019-20 roster:

Returning

Sophomore guards Cooper Robb, Malik Martin, Brandon Younger; junior forward Milos Supica: All four were significant contributors last season. Martin was the team’s second-leading scorer (9.4 points per game). Robb can play both guard spots, and Younger often brought the ball up court. Supica led the team in rebounding (4.7 per game), but Sanchez would like to see him double that number next season.

Redshirts

Junior guard Jordan Shepherd; freshman guard Tyler Bertram: Shepherd, a native of Asheville, sat out last season after transferring from Oklahoma, where he backed up Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young. Shepherd will compete with true freshman Jahmir Young for the starting point guard spot. Bertram enrolled at Charlotte last year but didn’t play. He might be the team’s best pure shooter.

Grad transfers

Senior forward Amidou Bamba; senior guard Drew Edwards: The 6-foot-8 Bamba, who played three seasons at Coastal Carolina (averaging 5.5 points and 3.8 rebounds last season), will give Charlotte some much-needed muscle inside. Edwards wasn’t a starter during his three seasons at Providence, but he was a solid member of the Friars’ rotation. He missed most of the 2016-17 season with a knee injury. The 49ers haven’t announced the additions of Edwards and Bamba. Edwards said on Twitter he had committed to Charlotte; a source close to the 49ers basketball program confirmed Bamba’s decision to the Observer.

True freshmen

Guards Jahmir Young; forwards Caleb Stone-Carrawell, Brice Williams; center Anzac Rissetto: Young might be the most scrutinized of the newcomers as the 49ers look for a replacement for Davis. A product of DeMatha High in Hyattsville, Md., Young ended his prep career as one of the top point guards in the nation. Stone-Carrawell (Cox Mill) and Williams (Hopewell) are solid local recruits for Sanchez. Rissetto (6-10) was a member of New Zealand’s U-17 team.

Back from injury

Sophomore guard Luka Vasic: Vasic would have challenged for a starting spot last season until hurting his knee in the summer. He averaged 3.8 points (making 40% of his 3-pointers) as a freshman.

David Scott: @davidscott14
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