Charlotte’s season hasn’t exactly gotten off to the greatest start.
Wait. Hold on. Let me go back. That’s not exactly correct.
It’s difficult to imagine Charlotte’s season starting any worse.
The 49ers were not a bad basketball team last season. They started the season off 18-5 — which included wins over Louisville, Richmond, and Temple — and seemed a lock to make the NCAA Tournament so long as they didn’t collapse down the stretch.
Guess what happened?
They collapsed down the stretch, losing seven of their last eight games and, eventually, their head coach. This season, Bobby Lutz was replaced with Alan Major, the 49ers returned the majority of the talent that got them to the brink of the NCAA tournament, and some (including this guy right here) thought that this was a team capable of making another run at a tournament spot.
Count that one in the miss column. Charlotte is currently 4-6 on the season, which includes losses to Gardner-Webb, Coastal Carolina, Davidson, East Carolina, and Oregon State. The 49ers have also had to deal with a myriad of suspensions this season, including to leading scorer and preseason second team all-Atlantic 10 member Shamari Spears.
Well, Spears is no longer suspended. He’s gone. Here’s Major from a Charlotte press release:
“After much consideration, it is the decision of our coaching staff that Shamari Spears and our team part ways at this time,” said Major. “We want to wish him the best in his future endeavors and we will continue to move forward as a team. In those efforts to move forward, no further comments will be made regarding this matter.”
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however. Spears has been a problem before. He transferred to Charlotte after he parted ways with BC, where he had his share of issues as well.
Regardless of how you slice, Charlotte is a bad basketball team this year. Green Tinted Glasses, a Charlotte basketball blog, takes you through the details, but Spears might not have even been as valuable as his numbers suggest. Putting up impressive scoring numbers is one thing, but if you aren’t rebounding, you aren’t playing defense, and you ignore every play that is called, you aren’t necessarily helping the team win games.
Could this end up being an addition by subtraction?
At the very least, I know this — Major now has a reason (excuse?) for why his team is playing this poorly.
Lutz is still owed $950,000 over the next four years. Major’s contract is worth as much as $3 million over the next five. That’s a lot of money to spend for a 4-6 start.