Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Nagy's Final Stand

Spring with the 49ers brings an array of opportunities. The 49ers track team has enjoyed an embarrassment of riches since joining the A-10 and any chance to watch the fastest man on campus, Darius Law, is worth taking. Baseball continues to be a contender on the conference and national scene -- and a day at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium is a day well spent.

This weekend, softball hurler Emily Jeffery is likely to become the school's all-time strikeout king -- surpassing Kristen Bowen's four-year school record in just three years time. It doesn't seem that long ago that we lauded Wendy Stratton for becoming the school's first to strikeout 400 batters (OK, that happened in 1990, so it was that long ago!). Jeffery, who struck out 11 in a five-inning no-hitter in her last outing, will become the first 49er to strike out 600!

But for now, my attention is on the golf team. They host the Irish Creek Collegiate, Saturday and Sunday, in Kannapolis, and it is our last chance to see senior Corey Nagy compete for the 49ers in the Charlotte area. The Vance H.S. product is a three-time all-America who owns the 49ers career record for lowest stroke average -- which is saying something considering the level of talent the 49ers have put forth.

Nagy owns two of the top five single-season scoring averages and in three A-10 Championships he has finished third, second and first. Strong. He was a freshman on that 2007 team that placed third at the national championships where he finished tied for 35th, individually. In 2008, his 16th-place finish led Charlotte to an 8th-place finish. Last year, the 49ers were eliminated in the NCAA Regionals, but Nagy advanced as an individual to the NCAA Championships, where he placed 36th. He has competed at the All-America Classic three times, winning long drive and putting contests among the very best college golfers in the country.

And in each season with the 49ers, he has earned all-America honors.

This year, in eight events, he has sported four top five finishes and seven top 20 finishes. He is nothing if not consistent.

No fan of golf will regret taking the time to follow Corey around for a few holes. Coaches often talk of special players, special talents. Those that stand out for a variety of unnamed reasons other than the fact that competition after competition they get the job done. For four years, Corey Nagy has been that type of player for the only program in school history that has posted back-to-back top 10 NCAA Championship finishes.

His time with the 49ers is winding down -- but I, for one, will eagerly enjoy some time on the links, watching one of the 49ers best all-time treasures.

Tom Whitestone
Associate A.D./Media Relations

Friday, January 22, 2010

RPI 101: A Guide to Confusion

I don’t claim to be Einstein or a mathematician for that matter, but I have always tried to learn the formulas involved with college basketball RPI aka rating percentage index. A low RPI can keep a team from dancing in March or allow one to make a magical sweet-16 run.

The formulas used by different online services can completely vary and bring into account very different aspects of the game and due to this will allow for drastic differences in rankings. For example take the 49ers men’s team. They are 13-5 on the year with a 7-1 home record, 4-4 on the road and 3-1 in conference games.

According to Real Time RPI, the Niners are the 56th best team in the nation and will finish the season at 19-11 with a 9-7 Atlantic 10 record. However Ken Pomeroy, the mathematical genius that runs KenPom.com, has the 49ers currently at 86th with a projected record of 20-10 and 10-6.

Mr. Pomeroy takes into account much more than your regular RPI, his ratings include; offensive efficiency, defensive efficiency, a team’s consistency, strength of schedule, non-conference SOS and even a team’s luck. I don’t know about you but I have no clue how to put a team’s luck into numbers but I think it has something to with E=MC^2 (not positive about that one).

Anyways back to the Niners, tomorrow they travel to La Salle to play the Fightin’ Explorers. Good Ol’ Kenny has coach Lutz’s team taking down La Salle, 74-73, while Real Time RPI has the Explorers winning 73-72.

With both games being so tightly predicted, what will be the determining factor in the game? Some would say an experienced point guard, but both teams start a senior point guard. Others would claim two big men are key to conference victories, but both teams feature two big men that combine to average near 20 points/game.

Three-point shooting has evolved the college and pro-game since its inception in the early-80s and is the quickest way to rack up points. La Salle comes into the game average .370 from downtown, while Charlotte is shooting the tri-fectas at .306 so maybe that could be the difference.

However, Charlotte proved against St. Louis that it doesn’t need to make three-pointers to register victories in the A-10.

So my mind travels to the one remaining factor that will determine tomorrow’s outcome: Luck.

The Niners boast a .131 differential in luck good for 9th in the nation, while the Explorers are at a meager .025 differential. I know what you are thinking a whole .106 differential and yeah that pretty drastic isn’t it.

I don't know if DiJuan Harris carries around a lucky rabbit foot or if Shamari Spears has a collection of four-leaf clovers in his locker, but the No. 9 Charlotte 49ers will take down No. 113 La Salle Explorers tomorrow because of Ol’ Lady Luck.

-- Patrick McCoy, Charlotte 49ers Media Relations --

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Long Way From Charlotte: Trip to Big Apple

Ok, right from the get-go, get the images out of your head. The bright lights, naked cowboys, ‘Broadway’, MTV, Jay Z, everything bagels and posh Manhattan lofts. I tell everyone I traveled to New York City and this is what they think.

We played in Rose Hill Gym, not Madison Square Garden. We stayed at the Marriott in White Plains, not Center City.

I’m not complaining. My second trip to Fordham was much like the first. A lot of time spent on a bus admiring the scenery from a distance while resting my head in White Plains, NY about 20 minutes north of the Bronx.

We drove by Citi Field, Arthur Ashe Stadium, Yonkers Raceway (A personal highlight for me because of my passion for horse racing. Even though it is harness racing and some of the horses only have three legs), the Manhattan Skyline, Bronx Zoo and flying out of LaGuardia at night can take your breathe away.

While driving through parts of the seven boroughs, hearing whispers between the girls from the back rows of the bus really puts things in perspective.

Many of the girls on our team are from small towns within North Carolina. Tabor City, Marshville and Whiteville certainly don’t sound like booming metropolises because they aren’t. One look out the bus window at any given moment will result in seeing more people than those two ville’s and one city combined.

But the true gem of the trip was Rose Hill Gym. The oldest gym in America. While other schools race to upgrade video boards, sound systems, locker rooms, LED pro tables, elaborate intro videos and flashy signage, the Rams seemingly want no part of it. They will live and die with that gym. The Victorian doors, stone walled interior and endless journey to find a restroom make Rose Hill Gym a treat to enjoy once or twice.

To think Alumnus Vince Lombardi had PE in that gym (I’m making that up, but he could have, the gym was there). It really is kinda neat. In other news, Fordham has a squash team. Really? Squash? I needed to youtube highlights of squash just to figure out what it is? Looks real intense...

Most importantly we picked up a win. A convincing win at that, now we can move on for a three game road swoon. The trip to Saint Louis isn’t too far off. 28 days away. It’s not our next road trip, but the one I look forward to the most every year.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


When junior Byron Dinkins (left) hit his first of two three-pointers in the first half against UNC Wilmington, Feb. 1, 1988 he unknowingly set in motion one of the 49ers most remarkable streaks. (The MOST remarkable is the 61-game home winning streak from 1973-1977, but that's another blog). The previous game, Jan. 30 at South Florida, Charlotte went 0-for-3 from three-point land. Nearly 22 years passed before the 49ers would again go without at least one three-pointer. (It had been mistakenly documented that the last game without a three came February 23, 1989 against Jacksonville, but the 49ers were 4-for-7 in that win and, in fact, hit a three-pointer in every game of the 1988-89 season.)

So we go back to 1987-88. And the start of a streak that spanned four decades.

With Dinkins three with 8:02 left in the first half, the streak was begun. The 49ers would hit at least one three-pointer in the remaining 52 games of the 80's, in all 302 games of the upcoming decade of the 90's, all 311 games of the still distant 00's and four games into the 10's. The streak would span four decades. In game five of 2010, Charlotte would go 0-for-7 from three-point range against Saint Louis and the streak -- the 669-game, 21-plus-year streak -- was broken.

Certainly few would have guessed that a Bobby Lutz-coached team would be the culprit. After all, in Lutz's first 10 years, a 49er had led its league in either three-pointers made or three-pointers made per game, or both. With folks like Diego Guevara, Jobey Thomas, Demon Brown, Brendan Plavich, De'Angelo Alexander and Leemire Goldwire (the individual 49ers who led either Conference USA or the Atlantic 10), firing away, there was little doubt that Charlotte would hit at least one trey. Even with that talent, though, a Lutz-coached team managed just one trey four times, so thanks must go to Dee Tolliver, Brown, Goldwire and Ian Andersen for keeping the streak alive with those lone treys.

But there is plenty of thanks to go around -- to all those three-point shooters -- or at least those that made a three during the streak. The following list includes each of them, whether they were known to knock down triples or were smart enough to call bank (right, Mr. Coley).

Trivia? Most threes of the following list: Jobey Thomas, who holds the school record with 346 threes. Most in a season: 137 by Demon Brown. Most in game: 10 by Brendan Plavich at Syracuse. First three of the streak: Byron Dinkins, 1988. Last: Ian Andersen, 2010 (at Xavier)

Below is a list of all 83 players that hit a three-pointer from during the streak:
Byron Dinkins
Jeff West
Ronnie Bellamy
Dan Plondke (hit his lone three in the 1988 NCAA Tourney game vs. BYU)
Reggie Barnes
Scott Fitzgibbons
Henry Williams
Frank Persley
Sam Robson
Reggie Barnes
Chris Baker
Benny Moss
Kenny Wylie
Jarvis Lang
Delano Johnson
Cedric Broadhurst
James Terrell
Daryl DeVaull
Bershaun Thompson
Rodney Odom
Andre Davis
Bobby Kummer
Shanderic Downs
Rod Howard
Prentice Woods
Bruce Patterson
Ponce James
Roy Wells
Quincy Alexander
DeMarco Johnson
Tremaine Gardiner
Jimmy Fields
Kendell Jasper
Sean Colson
Versile Shaw
Dimingus Bundy
Galen Young
Diego Guevara
Dalonte Hill
Marlon Thomas
Dee Tolliver
Kedric Smith
Jobey Thomas
James Zimmerman
Johnathan Williams
Rodney White
Demon Brown
Kevin "Butter" Johnson
Matas Niparavicius
Curtis Nash
Curtis Withers
Eddie Basden
Vincent Grier
Chris Sager
Mitchell Baldwin
Tyler Best
Brendan Plavich
CJ Pigford
Russ Snyder
EJ Drayton
Leemire Goldwire
De'Angelo Alexander
Marcus Bennett
Jerell Jamison
Carlos Williams
Ian Andersen
Sean Phaler
David Booker
Kyle Church
Lamont Mack
An'Juan Wilderness
Michael Gerrity
Charles Dewhurst
DiJuan Harris
Charlie Coley
RaShad Coleman
Phil Jones
Javarris Barnett
Shamari Spears
Derrio Green
Shamarr Bowden
Gokhan Sirin
Colby Lewis
Tom Whitestone
Ass't A.D./Media Relations

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Long Way From Home - Headed to UT

On the road again with the men's hoop team. This time climbing the mountains en route to Tennessee. Some snow in the fields that occupy our scenery but so far a beautiful day for a drive, albeit a long one.

Practiced early at Halton and were on the road by noon or thereabouts.

Guys are in every form on the bus. Sleeping, listening to tunes, talking, resting, trying to get comfortable. "Pelham 123" is playing on the DVD system. Denzel and Travolta. Pretty good stuff.

The movie is set in N.Y. Subways, cabs, traffic jams. Seems as if everything is moving 100 mph.

Here on the bus, it's much different.

The climb up the mountain is anything but fast-paced. DiJuan Harris would never make it as a bus driver. He's more like the motorcycles dodging traffic on the DVD.

Outside the view is anything but jammed. Lone homes dot the hillsides. Some cows and horses wander the brown ground. A hawk flying high in the distance. No crowds, no loud noises, save for the occasional cackle from the back of the bus.

I've got Southside Johnny on my Ipod -- and that's the only thing other than the movie that can even remotely stir images of NYC.

Endless trees. Endless roads. And from the mountain ridges some endless views.

Tennessee awaits. A great opportunity to wrap up the non-conference season. It may be a long drive. But it will be worth it. The Niners 4th crack at a top 20 team. So far, 1-2. Another game that will help this young team grow -- and grow fast for the A-10 play that awaits just around the corner.

For now, though, its time for a new DVD -- the one about the hoops team from New Orleans that tried to make a season for itself following Katrina. And outside, flurries have started to fall and the brown ground is getting whiter.
Tom Whitestone
Assoc. A.D./Media Relations

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Long Way From Charlotte: Trip to Hokie Country

Hope everyone had a great holiday and is properly preparing for a fun yet safe celebration of the new year. ’09 has been a good one, hopefully ’10 will be even better!

Just so happens that the women’s basketball team is up here in Blacksburg, Va to close out the decade, the same place they closed out the last decade (’99-00). Little fun fact for ya! The team ended up losing to the Hokies in the final of the Hokie Hardwood Classic. I’m writing this a few hours prior to our rematch inside Cassell Coliseum with VT.

We bused a few hours up the road. Trip went quick due to the fact I slept and fingered through my IPOD touch, surfed the net, checked emails and listened to a little MGMT. Buses are now equipped with WI-FI, who knew?

Anyway, here are some pics of Cassell Coliseum (again I don’t know what makes a coliseum, a coliseum? But it’s a pretty neat place.) No 100 or 200 levels, it’s just one big never ending section. And the basketball teams, much like the football team comes out to ‘Enter Sandman’, check the video. The place was far from full yesterday, but when you pack 9,000 in that arena I’m sure its rocking just like the football stadium.

On a more solemn note, after shootaround we had the bus driver stop at the Virginia Tech Memorial, which honors the victims of the April 16th, 2007 shooting on their campus. Stones engraved with the victims names and a sealed case displays photographs of the ones who lost their lives that day. Certainly a beautiful memorial and a constant reminder to Va. Tech students of that tragic day in Blacksburg. Certainly classifies as one of those 'I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news' moments in my life. Especially considering I was a student at UNC Charlotte in 2007 and to think something similar could happen is certainly numbing.