Insights and Observations
Thursday, November 6, 2003
By Henry Hinton
Broadcaster & Owner
of Greenville Cable 7
Healing can begin with hoops
Cable 7 Audio:
Midweek Tailgate with Henry Hinton, Steve
Logan, Mike Steele & guest Jim Leavitt... Select clip...
It had been a long time since I heard a comment like,
“Man, I’m glad basketball season is here.” In fact, I think Oliver Mack was
the shooting guard and Larry Gillman was the coach.
Guess what? I heard it Wednesday.
Now it’s Bill Herrion’s turn to take center stage.
Early returns from those who have seen the 2003-04 edition of the basketball
Pirates have been pretty good. Herrion will put his new team on display
tonight for the first time in a 7 pm exhibition against an amateur group
called the World Young Stars.
Here’s the best thing about playing this traveling
team. It is comprised of 16-18 year old international players who have… get
this… eligibility. Given Herrion’s propensity for foreign players, he may
try to kidnap the visiting squad's best players before they leave town.
No matter what you think of the news, Herrion got the
best gift of all on Tuesday when Conference USA shed itself of Louisville,
Cincinnati, Marquette, Depaul and South Florida.
Losing those teams and adding the likes of Marshall,
Central Florida, Rice, Tulsa and Southern Methodist should add a few wins to
the total at season’s end. All of those teams have had some success in
basketball over the years but there is not one among them to equal those
programs departing for The Big East.
Football is another story. One could easily argue that
C-USA is losing little by trading those departing football members for the
incoming universities. However, former ECU Coach Steve Logan commented on
Midweek Tailgate Show last night
that he feels the conference maintains its substance but does lose something
in the way of “image.”
The irony and hypocrisy involved in this new
arrangement must certainly have not been lost on those folks and fans at
Marshall. While it was never confirmed by any of the university presidents
or athletic directors in the media, it is widely known that Marshall was
given a “thanks, but no thanks” a year ago by Conference USA.
At that point there was a strong sense that Marshall
did not personify the academic culture the conference wanted to present. Um…
OK. Didn’t take long for that theory to take a dive.
When new commissioner Britton Banowsky went shopping he
was looking for the strongest name teams available. Who could argue that
Marshall was at the top of the available heap? Survival will do strange
things to people… and conferences.
Give Banowsky credit. He pulled off a bit of a coup. In
a week where the discussion could just be about the teams that bolted, it
has instead turned to the changes in both leagues.
Good save, Britton. On the conference and the job. (Get
it? He also saved his job.)
I am still astounded that South Florida got the Big
East nod. Speaking with Bulls coach Jim Leavitt on Wednesday night, I got
the sense he feels the same way. Leavitt has done a phenomenal job in Tampa.
Amazingly, he may eventually become a victim of his own
success. Internet junkies and some media writers are beginning to say that
Leavitt is not the guy to take USF into the Big East. Unbelievable!
Perhaps a win over the mighty World Young Stars tonight
can begin to heal the pain of this awful football season.
By the way, if you haven’t already purchased your
roundball season tickets, you can actually check out the available seats on
Saturday morning. The ECU women will scrimmage at 10 a.m. and Herrion’s team
takes the court at noon in a free Purple-Gold exhibition.
ECU staff will be on hand to show you the available
seats and help you pick the best ones for this season.
Oh, yeah, I almost forgot. There’s also a football game
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02/23/2007 10:12:08 AM