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The Bradsher Beat
Wednesday, March 29, 2006

By Bethany Bradsher

Exits pave way for new faces, new possibilities


The revolving door for the major head coaching jobs seems to have stilled, but college athletics is always marked by introductions and departures, by athletes and coaches leaving with unfulfilled potential or new faces coming on the scene with the promise of talent and determination.

Although still unconfirmed by the athletic department in the wake of a report last Saturday by The Daily Reflector of Greenville, it seems certain that the next version of the Pirates basketball team is going to look markedly different than the group that last took the floor.

According to sophomore guard Tom Hammonds, Jr., he is one of seven players who are opting to leave ECU to transfer to new programs.

The other soon-to-be ex-Pirates include starting point guard Japhet McNeil, who holds the school’s single-season assists record and was on course to break the school’s all-time record, Jonathan Hart, Quinton Goods, Nick Mattone, Jeff Robinson and Josh King.

Hammonds knows of one other player who is planning to transfer, he said, but he didn’t want to reveal the name until it was official. Hammonds hasn’t received his release papers from ECU yet, he said, but he expects to get official word this week.

“I just want to go somewhere where the competition is good, pretty much wherever the best fit is,” said Hammonds, who also said that the new coaches have been supportive of his decision. “This year, with this coaching staff, for whatever reason we didn’t click like the last coaching staff.”

Head coach Ricky Stokes declined to comment on specific players’ decisions, but he issued a statement saying, in part: “Several players have expressed an interest in exploring other options. This is an ongoing process and we will continue to counsel each individual player in making the best possible decision for his academic and athletic future.”

Stokes and staff, no doubt, are also counseling targeted prospective players about the upside of factoring an ambitious East Carolina program into their future academic and hoops plans.

Women's golf in the limelight

Two members of the Pirates’ women’s golf program are making an impression this spring — one for her play on the links and one for her survival skills on reality television.

Lene Krog, a freshman from Norway, shot a 71 in the final round of the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic this weekend to claim a share of fourth place in the field of golfers from 17 colleges. It was Krog’s sixth Top 10 finish of the season so far. She finished in front of 23 of the top 50 female collegiate golfers in the nation at the Athens, GA, event.

Krog’s coach, Kim Lewellen, is new to East Carolina but already has something of a following as a contestant on The Big Break V, the Golf Channel’s reality series that offers a spot in a PGA tournament and other prizes to the amateur golfer who outlasts her competitors. Lewellen, who golfed for the University of North Carolina and last coached at The Citadel, is one of five women left in the running out of the 11 who started the show in January.

Each week on The Big Break, contestants first try to win an immunity challenge, and the remaining women participate in various golf challenges to see who will advance. On last week’s show, Lewellen didn’t win the immunity challenge but survived an elimination challenge that had the players take shots from two difficult locations toward the same hole. The contestant with the highest score from the two shots had the leave the show.

Heavy-duty thrower

On the track and field scene, Pirate junior Eric Frasure is making a national impression in the throwing events. After performing well enough in the indoor season to be named an All-American, Frasure led ECU at the Aggie Relays in College Station, TX, over the weekend. At the meet, he won first place in both the discus and the hammer throws and set a new school record for the discus with his throw of 50.46 meters.

Frasure, who finished seventh place in the NCAA national indoor meet in the 35-pound weight throw, also placed second in the shot put at the Aggie Relays, recording a personal-best throw of 15.87 meters.

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02/23/2007 01:12:54 AM

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