Charlotte guard Shawn Lester leaves team to turn professional

Shawn Lester will likely be suiting up overseas this season. (USATSI)
Shawn Lester will likely be suiting up overseas this season. (USATSI)

Charlotte guard Shawn Lester has left the team, the school announced on Thursday night. Lester will sign with an agent and attempt to find a team overseas to sign with, according to David Scott of the Charlotte Observer

Lester, Charlotte’s second-leading scorer last season (11.9 points per game), is in the process of hiring an agent and will look hope to sign with a team overseas.

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Lester would have competed for playing time in a crowded 49ers backcourt that includes returning starters Pierria Henry and Terrence Williams, Florida-transfer Braxton Ogbueze, freshmen Keyshawn Woods and Torin Dorn and sophomore Ivan Benkovic.

Lester is the third player from last season’s 49ers team to leave the program prematurely. Guard Denzel Ingram and forward Marcus Bryan both transferred to UNC Wilmington. Two other players, forwards E. Victor Nickerson and Darion Clark, transferred after the 2012-13 season.

49ers' coach Alan Major just returned from a leave of absence after an offseason in which he had two eye surgeries and one heart surgery. Major should have had a large contingent of returning players from last season's 17-14 squad, but the three departures have hurt the program in that regard. 

Even with the loss, they'll still have four returning starters and should be successful within league play. Conference USA is largely up for grabs beyond Louisiana Tech. Plus, the team has Florida transfer Braxton Ogbueze entering the fold and freshmen Keyshawn Woods and Torin Dorn Jr. should compete for playing time in Lester's absence. 

But still, the 49ers could have used Lester to make a strong showing and potentially reach the postseason.

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