Will a stronger hometown flavor improve Charlotte’s basketball hopes?


In many of the nation’s basketball hotbeds, a point of emphasis for college basketball coaches is to keep their area’s top talents home. In Charlotte that’s been a task far easier said than done however, as many players have decided to play their college basketball elsewhere.

But things may be changing for Alan Major’s program, with Keyshawn Woods’ decision to verbally commit to attend Charlotte being the most recent example of this.

And it’s a new trend which has caught the attention of Langston Wertz Jr. of the Charlotte Observer.

These are some of the area’s top players either choosing to go to Charlotte or coming back, no matter the reason.

Over the next few years, the Charlotte area is going to see an infusion of talent like I’ve never seen in my time here. The kids in middle school and some in elementary school that I’ve seen are simply amazing. I think more than a few will be major college talents.

This “new” Charlotte will be in position to grab a few, and once the “stars” start going, the 49ers become a destination.

Charlotte had just three natives of the city on its active roster last season, and they’ll have two when the 2013-14 season begins (guards Mitch Warner and Terrence Williams; Shawn Lester would make if three if he returns after being academically ineligible last year). But things are changing in that regard.

Transfers Braxton Ogbueze (transferred in from Florida), Bernard Sullivan (Clemson) and Ben Cherry (Tulane) have all joined the program, and the hope for them is that a return home will lead to a more fruitful experience on the court as well.

The Charlotte basketball program is embarking upon a new era, moving back to Conference USA due primarily to their new football program. Facing different opponents means that coach Major and his staff need to take full advantage of the solid recruiting ground right at their doorstep.

With the number of Charlotte-area products on the roster increasing, the next step for Charlotte is to cement itself as a perennial favorite in Conference USA. Do that, and the program’s status with the area’s top prep talent would likely improve.