College Sports in the Carolinas
from the East
Thursday, May 22, 2003
By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News &
Herrion tracks personal
favorite in NBA action
East Carolina basketball coach Bill Herrion is a San Antonio Spurs fan
because of Malik Rose, who played for Herrion at Drexel. Rose was a hometown
product of Philadelphia’s Overbrook High, the same institution that produced
Rose isn’t nearly as big as Chamberlain but that didn’t stop the Spurs
from matching him up defensively on mammoth Shaquille O’Neal in the Western
“Yeah, I’ve gotten interested in the Spurs because of Malik,” Herrion
said “He’s the ultimate role player, a great team guy.”
Herrion said former Dragons assistant Walt Fuller, who is now on Pete
Gillen’s staff at Virginia, recruited Rose to Drexel.
“Walt found him and he was not a great player in high school, ”Herrion
said. “But he was a tremendously hard worker with a big heart. He made
himself a player. He wasn’t heavily recruited. He only visited three schools
— us, Lafayette, which is in Pennsylvania. They’re in the Patriot League.
They don’t even give scholarships. They give financial aid. And Rider
College, which is in Trenton, New Jersey, about 45 minutes from
“He was a 6-5 center in high school and people thought he was too small,
too slow and not athletic enough. But he’s a flat-out competitor. That’s the
great thing about him. You put him in any situation and he’s not going to
complain. He’s a tough, tough kid. He’s listed at 6-7 but he’s 6-5. We
listed him at 6-7 and the Spurs list him at 6-7 but he’s really 6-5.”
Rose was stunned by an inadvertent blow to the back in the first game of
the Western Conference final with Dallas and had to leave the floor. He said
he knew he would play in the second game in the best of seven series when he
got up Wednesday morning. He had 25 points and six rebounds as the Spurs
evened the series.
Tough, tough kid.
ECU’s home games in basketball in Conference USA for next season have
been announced. Dates and the remainder of the schedule will be announced
later. C-USA has eliminated division play for next season, meaning the
Pirates are no longer faced with playing in the tougher American Division,
which also included Louisville, Cincinnati, DePaul, Saint Louis, Charlotte
ECU will now play all league teams once with the exception of UAB,
Charlotte and South Florida. The Pirates will play those three teams home
ECU will play Louisville, DePaul, Memphis, Charlotte, UAB, Texas
Christian, Tulane and South Florida in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.
The Pirates will visit South Florida, Cincinnati, Houston, Marquette, Saint
Louis, Southern Miss, Charlotte and UAB.
“It’s kind of a double-edged sword,” Herrion said. “But at East Carolina,
we needed to go to one division. It’s going to give us a fair chance to
compete and win games in this league. The flip side is that our fans have
been drawn the last two years by Cincinnati, Louisville and Marquette. We
get the biggest crowds for those people.
“I like the schedule. We bring in Louisville next year. (Coach Rick)
Pitino is doing a great job. They’re an NCAA Tournament team, a perennial
power — a Top 10, 15, 20 team every year. Memphis has probably never come to
Greenville. It’s a good split. We get Louisville, Memphis and DePaul this
year and we’ll get teams like Cincinnati and Marquette when it flip-flops
Next year? Will C-USA still have the same membership? More on that in a
Herrion thinks the series with Charlotte is only going to grow in
“As the years go on, that’s gradually going to become a larger rivalry
for us,” Herrion said.
As the years go by and if the 49ers don’t migrate to a basketball
conference and if the Pirates don’t become part of some sort of Big
East/C-USA hybrid league.
Herrion went to the finals of the Big East men’s basketball tournament at
Madison Square Garden during a recruiting trip to the Northeast. He insists
now that it wasn’t some sort of a prophetic scouting trip.
“I can honestly say I had no idea about a lot of this going down now,”
The ACC’s effort to attract Miami, Syracuse and Boston College had not
presented itself at that time in mid-March and the possibility of the
Pirates filling a resultant slot in the Big East had not arisen.
“They don’t want us commenting but obviously there’s a lot of
apprehension and anxiety with a lot of programs and a lot of conferences
across the country,” Herrion said. “Everyone’s waiting to see what Miami
does. Obviously, if they move then the dominos start falling and you have
the trickle-down effect.
“There would be major ramifications for a lot of teams and a lot of
Herrion has read
a report in The Charlotte Observer
that non-Division I-A football schools Charlotte, DePaul, Marquette and
Saint Louis had agreed to stay together regardless of what happened to other
schools in C-USA. Herrion attended the C-USA meetings in Destin, Fla., last
“Supposedly they agreed informally but I didn’t hear any of that,”
Herrion said. “That was news to me.”
ECU’s future conference affiliation could depend on Miami’s future
“I don’t think anybody knows what’s going to happen,” Herrion said. “Once
Miami decides, the ball will start rolling. I think you keep your program in
position to benefit and I think that’s what we will do.”
ECU has one scholarship in men’s basketball that it could award before
next season. Polish seven-footer Lukasz Obrzut
visited ECU but
signed with Kentucky after a
subsequent recruiting trip.
“We rolled the dice with the big kid from Poland,” Herrion said. “We knew
it was a long shot. Greg Herenda (ECU assistant) and I are good friends with
his prep school coach in Maine and I think that’s why we got the first
visit. We weren’t sure Kentucky really wanted him, but obviously they did.”
Herrion said ideally he would like to enroll a frontcourt transfer with
the remaining grant.
“We lose (Erroyl) Bing and (Gabriel) Mikulas (after next season) so it
would be nice to get someone to come in and sit out,” said the Pirates hoops
coach. “They could practice and learn the system and we’d have them in the
It looks doubtful that 6-9 Jason Herring, who hurt his knee in a car
accident last year after enrolling at ECU, will be physically able to play
Two incoming signees, swing players Mike Cook and Frank Robinson, started
summer school at ECU on Tuesday. Point guard Japhet McNeil and forward Keith
Foster are expected to be in for the second summer school session. Foster is
still borderline as far as his academic eligibility for next season.
Send an e-mail message to Al Myatt.
Click here to dig into Al Myatt's Bonesville
02/23/2007 12:41:10 AM