Charlotte, NC – Charlotte 49ers head men’s basketball coach Alan Major has announced that 7-foot center Benas Griciunas (Bennis (like Dennis) Greh-see-O), a member of the Lithuanian U-20 National team, has transferred from Auburn University to Charlotte. Griciunas, who is from Silute, Lithuania, will sit out the 2014-15 season in accordance with NCAA rules and have three years of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2015-16 season.
“We are very excited to have Benas join the Charlotte basketball family,” Major said. “He will give us added post depth in the future. Benas has a unique skill set with his size and ability to shoot the ball. He is also a high character young man who is committed to his education and winning.”
Last season, as a freshman at Auburn, Griciunas saw action in 12 games with one start against Illinois, December 8, 2013. He averaged 2.0 points and 1.8 rebounds per game. He scored a season-high eight points and grabbed three rebounds against Jacksonville State, November 11, 2013. He grabbed a season-high five rebounds against Arkansas Pine Bluff, December 30, 2013.
“Charlotte is a great school academically and has a great basketball program,” Griciunas said. “Charlotte has a great coaching staff and it is a place that will help me develop on and off the court. I am ready to help the team win and do something special in Conference USA in the upcoming years.”
Griciunas played three years of high school basketball at national prep power Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nevada. He was a three-star prospect coming out of Findlay Prep. In spring 2013, he scored a team-high 27 points on 5-of-6 three-point shooting to lead a National All-Star squad in a 119-109 loss to Team Memphis in the fourth annual Jack Jones Shootout at Memphis University School. Griciunas also won the 3-point shooting contest prior to the game. In the 3-point contest that lasted three rounds, Griciunas made 14 treys in the first round followed by 13 in the second round and 13 in the championship to defeat 6-foot-6, Nick King, who played at the University of Memphis last season.
Griciunas is currently playing for the Lithuanian U-20 National Team. Griciunas has played for the Lithuanian U-18 and U-19 national teams as well.
Griciunas joins a 49ers recruiting class that includes two Charlotte prep standout guards in 6-foot-5 Keyshawn Woods and 6-foot-4 Torin Dorn.
Griciunas joins Jermain Parker (1992-95), Alexander Kuehl (1996-97), Wade Helliwell (2000) and Martin Iti (2004-05) as the only seven-footers to play for the 49ers.
The 49ers men’s basketball program, which has averaged 19 wins over the last two seasons, returns 10 letterwinners and four starters from a squad that defeated top 15 Michigan to capture the Puerto Rico Tip-Off title.