College Hoops in the Carolinas
from the East
Monday, March 11, 2002
By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer
Herrion Hits Recruiting
Trail Looking for Shooters
East Carolina coach Bill Herrion will be shopping for some personnel to
boost his promising program in the weeks and months ahead. The Pirates had
some unexpected highlights during a 12-18 season, their first in Conference
USA, but there is still work to be done to reach the desired competitive
Wins over Rutgers of the Big East and Northwestern of the Big Ten
provided a strong start to the season and were accomplished without Gabriel
Mikulas and Moussa Badiane, who were embargoed by the NCAA for playing in
unsanctioned foreign leagues.
Five league wins at home were significant. Louisville, Saint Louis,
Southern Mississippi, Houston and Marquette, which was ranked No. 9 at the
time of its 51-46 loss in Greenville, can all testify to the homecourt
advantage the fans provide for ECU at Williams Arena in Minges Coliseum.
A needed step for the program is to be able to go on the road and win.
The Pirates haven’t had a true road win since January 20 of 2001, 74-64 in
overtime at American.
The Pirates made the C-USA Tournament, losing 58-49 to Houston in the
“We couldn’t solve their zone,” Herrion said. “What helped us win the
Marquette game, what helped us win the Houston game, what helped us win the
Saint Louis game ... came back and bit us. We just couldn’t make a shot.”
ECU made just 16 of 54 field goal attempts in their tourney appearance,
29.6 percent, which explains in part what will be the recruiting emphasis
for the Pirates in the offseason.
“I think our young frontcourt guys (sophomore Erroyl Bing, freshman
Badiane, sophomore Mikulas) really developed and came along this year,”
Jason Herring, who sat out as a freshman this season, could contribute at
forward next season.
“We think he’s a talented player but until he steps on the court to do it
for real you don’t know,” Herrion said.
Incoming freshman Corey Rouse of Kinston is also part of ECU’s frontcourt
future. Perimeter players will likely be sought with the three remaining
scholarships for next season.
“Preferably a high school or a prep school youngster and then possibly
two junior college perimeter guys,” Herrion said. “What we’re learning in
this league is that everybody has older, more mature players. It’s very hard
to do it with young kids in this league. ... Where we have to improve is in
our ability to score on the perimeter.”
One advantage for teams that aren’t involved in postseason play is that
their coaching staffs have more time to recruit. You can bet the staff at
ECU will take advantage of that.
Some teams from the Carolinas are getting ready for the Big Dance, the
NCAA Tournament. Some others attracted NIT bids. Let’s check ’em out in the
State Line Hoops Report:
JUMP TO THE STATE LINE HOOPS REPORT© CAPSULE ON EAST
State Line Hoops
THE TOP TEN
Duke ... The Blue Devils (29-3) ran through
the Big Four to win an unprecedented fourth straight ACC Tournament
championship. Duke survived North Carolina’s delay game 60-48 in the
quarterfinals, ousted Wake Forest 79-64 in the semifinals and rolled
past N.C. State 91-61 in the final. The Blue Devils returned to No. 1
in the coaches poll with Maryland and Kansas getting beat. Duke was
seeded No. 1 in the South regional of the NCAA Tournament. Winthrop is
their first round opponent on Thursday in Greenville, S.C.
N.C. State ... The Wolfpack’s 86-82 win over Maryland in
the ACC Tournament semifinals helped move State into the ESPN/USA
Today coaches poll at No. 25. But the Pack’s gas tank looked to be
empty in a 91-61 loss to Duke in the championship game in Charlotte.
The Pack (22-10) has until Friday to regroup. That’s when State, a No.
7 seed, will play Michigan State in the first round of the NCAAs in
Washington, D.C. Post defense has to be a concern after Carlos Boozer
of Duke went 11 of 12 from the field in the ACC final.
3. Wake Forest
... The Deacons (20-12) reached the prestigious 20-win plateau with a
92-83 first round ACC Tournament win over Georgia Tech which kept the
Yellow Jackets (15-16) from possibly making the NIT field with a
winning record. A slow start, a subpar game by Josh Howard (5 points)
and foul trouble for Darius Songaila were factors in the semifinal
loss to Duke. Wake is headed for Sacramento, Cal. as a No. 7 seed to
play Pepperdine (22-8) in a first round NCAA game on Thursday.
... The 49ers (18-11) have an interesting bracket as they make a short
trip to Greenville, S.C. for a first round matchup with Notre Dame
(21-10) on Thursday. That winner advances to play the Duke-Winthrop
winner on Saturday. Charlotte beat Tulane 78-69 in the C-USA
Tournament before losing to eventual champion Cincinnati 71-55 in the
semifinals. Jobey Thomas leads Coach Bobby Lutz’s club with a 19.0
scoring average. Cam Stephens is averaging 13.4 points and 9.4
5. South Carolina ... The Gamecocks
(18-14)will play at Virginia on Wednesday night (ESPN 2) in an
interesting matchup in the first round of the NIT. USC coach Dave Odom
was an assistant for the Cavaliers from 1982-89 after he stepped down
as head coach at ECU. Odom had a 17-11 record against Virginia while
head coach at Wake Forest, including 6-6 in Charlottesville. South
Carolina made a nice run in the SEC Tournament with wins over Ole Miss
(69-67) and Kentucky (70-57) before falling to Alabama (65-57) in the
6. UNC Wilmington
... The Seahawks got the Colonial Athletic Association’s automatic
berth with their 66-51 win over Virginia Commonwealth in the league
tournament on March 4 in Richmond as Brett Blizzard, who is averaging
a team-high 17.5 points, had 22 points. UNCW (22-9), a No. 13 seed,
plays Southern Cal (22-9) in Sacramento on Thursday with the winner
advancing to play the Indiana-Utah winner on Saturday. Craig Callahan
averages 13.1 point and 5-2 rebounds for the Seahawks.
7. Davidson ... The Wildcats (21-9)
also got into the NCAA field as a No. 13 seed, gaining entry
automatically by winning the Southern Conference Tournament. Davidson
will play in the West regional in Albuquerque, N.M. on Thursday
against Ohio State (23-7), which is coming off its Big Ten Tournament
championship. Emeka Erege averages 13.6 points and 6.9 rebounds for
8. College of
Charleston ... No NIT bid for the Cougars, who finished
21-9 with a 44-43 loss to Furman in the Southern Conference
Tournament. Jeff Bolton averaged 18.2 points for his senior season,
hitting 80.7 percent of his free throws. Leighton Bowie, a 6-6 junior,
projects as the top returning player for next year after averaging
12.1 points and a team-high 7.0 rebounds this season.
9. UNC Greensboro ... The Spartans
(20-10) got a phone call from the NIT and will play at Memphis in the
first round. James Maye is averaging 14.1 points for Coach Fran
McCaffery, who was in Greenville scouting the Eastern 3-A regional
championship between Winston-Salem Parkland and Greensboro Dudley on
Saturday night. He was likely looking at Parkland guard Ray Bristow
who scored 34 points as the Mustangs advanced to the state title game
with an 81-78 win on a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Javon Scipio.
10. Clemson ... There is speculation
that Larry Shyatt may not lose his job immediately if at all because
the Tigers are involved in a search for an athletic director, who
won’t officially be in place until June 30. The Tigers may wait on the
new AD to define the coaching situation. Renovations to Littlejohn
Coliseum will probably mean that home games will be played in
Greenville, S.C., a circumstance that isn’t the best for bringing in a
new coach. The Tigers were 13-17 with a 91-84 loss to Florida State in
the play-in game of the ACC Tournament.
THE NOT-SO-SWEET 17
11. The Citadel
12. North Carolina
15. East Carolina
... Sophomore Erroyl Bing led ECU (12-18) in scoring (12.6) and
rebounding (8.7). Gabe Mikulas averaged 11.8 points and 6.1 rebounds
after missing the first 13 games due to an NCAA sanction. Kenyatta
Brown, who averaged 11.4 points, tops the group of seniors. Junior
Travis Holcomb-Faye averaged 4.0 assists. Guards Brandon Hawkins and
Bryan Foxx also leave the program. ECU needs to improve its shooting,
38.8 percent for the season. Foul shooting was at 69.0 percent and the
Pirates made just 31.0 percent of their 3-point tries. ECU finished at
64.4 points per game as a team. ECU finished eighth in the league in
scoring defense, allowing 70.3 points per game, but were last in the
league in opponent’s field goal percentage at 45 percent. The bottom
line for the Pirates is good. A lot of veterans coming back and five
league wins means the program is two years ahead of where many
analysts thought it was.
17. Appalachian State
19. Western Carolina
20. South Carolina State
21. UNC Asheville
22. N.C. A&T
24. Charleston Southern
26. High Point
27. Coastal Carolina
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