For every phase of his basketball career, Jamar Briscoe considers himself in "the show-me stage."

At Cardinal Gibbons, the pint-sized point guard had to show Baltimore basketball observers he could run a team and score at will. At North Carolina Central, the 5-foot-10, 165-pound freshman had to show he could play at the Division I level. Now Briscoe, who sat out last year after transferring to Charlotte, must show a new coaching staff that's he's capable of performing in the Atlantic 10, arguably the top mid-major league in the country.


"The new staff, they weren't familiar with not one of us. They had never seen us play," Briscoe said. "But everything was the show-me stage. We had three weeks before the end of the year to show what we can do. … In Baltimore basketball, that's just kind of how it goes. It's showing what you can do. I'm just used to that. Every time you go at a guy, you still have to show someone what you can do. I didn't want to be in a bad situation when it came down to that. So I was prepared. So it really wasn't a problem for me."

Briscoe's college hoops debut during the 2008-09 season couldn't have gone much better. After accepting a late scholarship offer from North Carolina Central, a DI independent in Durham, Briscoe thrust himself into the Eagles' starting lineup and finished the year as the nation's second-leading freshman scorer at 17.8 points per game.After his freshman season, Briscoe decided to jump up a level in the college basketball ranks, settling on Charlotte as his destination. He spent the past year redshirting for Bobby Lutz, who was fired after 12 seasons in March. Taking Lutz's place was former Ohio State assistant coach Alan Major, who was hired as the 49ers' new coach in April. For Briscoe, that meant entering the show-me stage all over again.

"I really didn't know anything about him," Major said. "I think he wasn't a guy that I knew in terms of recruiting or anything like that. Him being an East Coast kid and me being at Ohio State, you pretty much focus on the Midwest guys. But they told me he sat out the year before and had gone through the year, practicing every day. I know that will do nothing but help his adjustment, but just as I was getting to know him the last five months, I really enjoyed it. Probably my favorite thing about him is he truly loves the game. He loves basketball. He loves to play. And he wants to be a student of the game. He's kind of got that fire to want to improve. I think when you have a guy like that, it's a great thing."

Darrell Corbett has known all about those basketball-related tendencies for years. The Nike Baltimore Elite coach recalled Briscoe battling Malcolm Delaney (Virginia Tech) and Sean Mosley (Maryland) throughout his youth, first with the Mount Royal basketball program when the trio of guards was in elementary school, and later in the hotly contested Baltimore Catholic League.

A Baltimore Sun second-team All-Metro selection as a senior, Briscoe was one of the BCL's most prolific scorers, and Corbett said he also fared well on the AAU circuit. Still, Briscoe's college options were limited coming out of high school.

"I think Jamar got overlooked his last year at Gibbons. I think he kind of got overshadowed," Corbett said. "There were a lot of talented guards he was going up against at Gibbons. Gibbons at that time was competitive, but not winning. But he kind of got lost and everyone was overlooking him. … We always had a feeling he could go higher than he did. Someone had to see his potential [for him] to actually get his shot. Someone had to look at his overall game, not his size. But the kid can flat-out play."

Corbett's assertion on Briscoe's game is something Major's just now discovering. Per NCAA rules, coaches aren't allowed to observe offseason workouts and pickup games, but updates on the progression of players are often relayed to those in charge. Major said Briscoe quickly developed a reputation on the team as a "basketball junkie" who was always in the gym, in the weight room, or watching game tape.

While Briscoe's work ethic has been impressive and his transition to fitting in with the team has been seamless, Major is wary of making predictions on how he'll perform. Major does, however, have a role for Briscoe in mind.

"He's going to play a lot of minutes at the point," Major said. "I think the faster he grows and develops, the better it is for us. Practice and skill development are great, but there's nothing like going through a game scenario to improve. And when we start playing games, that'll be his biggest ally in terms of improving quickly. But the good thing is, he's not a guy who's not a threat at the point guard to score. He can make shots and he's got a nice feel for how to play the game. We all want him to adjust and be Jamar and do what he does best and help out the team and show what he can be."

After a year on the sideline, Briscoe is understandably antsy for his sophomore year to begin. He's comfortable with the Charlotte coaching staff and happy about his transfer. While he maintains friendships at North Carolina Central, Briscoe knows he made the move for the right reasons.

"I came to Charlotte to win," Briscoe said. "I want to play in March. That's it. That's my only goal. I want to play in March."