Point guard Jon Davis and center Jailan Haslem are the only seniors on the 2018-19 Charlotte 49ers men’s basketball team. They are hoping to be competitive and have a memorable senior year.
Davis, a 6-foot-3-inch guard from Upper Marlboro, Maryland, is going into his fourth year at Charlotte. Last season he averaged 17.6 points per game, 5.5 assists per game and 3.8 rebounds per game. Davis was also named to Conference USA’s preseason all-conference team.
“I always want to win games. My individual goals are my team goals. One does not go without the other. My individual goals don’t mean anything if the team doesn’t achieve anything. At this point, I’m just worried about getting wins.” Davis said.
Davis is trying to be the best leader he can for the rest of the team and is looking forward to playing with the freshman.
“In the past it’s been by example, but seeing in how I’m 4-5 years older than some of these guys, I’ve turned into a vocal leader. I’ve been talking a lot more. I have a lot of basketball knowledge that I will like to pass on to the younger guys,” Davis said. “I just want to leave a lasting impression on them. I want them to leave here saying that I was one of the better leaders they’ve had. I want them to try to walk in my footsteps. I want them to try to break some of the records that I have here, and I want them to have individual success along with team success in the future.”
As far as playing for Charlotte’s new head coach, Ron Sanchez, Davis is excited to play for him and thinks Sanchez is perfect for what the 49ers are trying to do.
“Coach Sanchez’s impact exceeds on the floor. On the floor, he brings the pack-line defense which is really going to help us out a lot and he brings a lot of things that he learned from Tony Bennett. He has brought a culture with him,” said Davis. “He’s told us that we are going to be good students, good people, and we’re not just going to be basketball players. There’s a lot more to us being a good team then just performing on the floor and that the little things outside of basketball are what matters.”
Davis declared for the 2018 NBA draft without an agent and decided to withdraw from the NBA draft and return for his senior season. He worked out for the Charlotte Hornets, Brooklyn Nets, Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder.
“I knew probably ninety-eight percent that I was coming back to school. I did it for the experience to try and see where I’m at and try to get some feedback from different teams. I got great feedback when I went against some of the better guards in this year’s draft.” Davis said.
Although it is always hard for a collegiate athletic career to come to an end, Davis is looking forward to his future after college.
“Wherever God takes me, hopefully I will be blessed enough to play professionally at some level. If not the NBA, I wouldn’t mind overseas. I would play anywhere because I just like playing basketball.” Davis said.
The other senior, Haslem, a 6-foot-10-inch center from Warner Robbins, Georgia, is going into his second year at Charlotte. Last season he averaged 4.9 points per game and 4.4 rebounds per game.
Haslem had his first career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds against Marshall last season. The powerhouse started his college basketball career at a junior college called Gordon State College.
“The biggest difference would be the talent level and the energy. There is talent in junior college, but the talent here is way different.” Haslem said.
Haslem has been working on his defense during the offseason, working to stay more controlled and utilize his skills.
“My point of emphasis for improvement has been my defense. Last season, I got into a lot of foul trouble early in games and I think that hurt the team a lot because I wasn’t out there to be a rim protector,” Haslem said. “I’m not expecting much this season but to be competitive. I just want us to play hard and go out there and set the tone for what Charlotte basketball is going to be in the next couple of years.”
Davis’ and Haslem’s goals are to have a competitive season and to make Charlotte men’s basketball far more relevant again.