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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, April 9, 2013

By Brian Bailey

Brian Bailey

A final look back at 'The Run'


Pirate Radio 1250 & 930 Logo

Brian BaileyReplay Monday night's BRIAN BAILEY SHOW. Brian's guests were ECU senior basketball players Miguel Paul and Maurice Kemp, network color analyst Si Seymour and Farmville Central AD Larry Williford. Eastern North Carolina's longest running sports radio call-in show airs each Monday night from 6:30-7:30 on Pirate Radio 1250 and 930.
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A final look back at 'The Run'
Spied from the Crow's Nest
Web Headlines Roundup
Rice rallies to take series
East Carolina clips Owls in marathon
Error lets Owls fly the coop
ECU Victory Flight Returns Home
Retrace the Pirates' march to the CIT title
Fitting climax for milestone season
Post-game audio: ECU coach Jeff Lebo
Post-game audio: Maurice Kemp
Post-game audio: Miguel Paul
Post-game audio: Akeem Richmond
Final 2013 CIT Scoreboard Wrap-up
ECU's March to the CIT Title
ECU Hoops Schedule
ECU Baseball Schedule
ECU Football Schedule
ECU Recruiting

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

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Even at 4:30 a.m.!

It was a wild scene last Wednesday morning when East Carolina’s CIT championship squad championship squad returned from Ogden, Utah, with that title in hand.

A couple hundred Pirate fans, ECU students and support staff either stayed up all night or got up very early to welcome the Pirates home. It was a scene that reminded me of the Peach Bowl on that first day of January in 1992, when I was on the team charter returning from Atlanta after the greatest win in ECU football history.

This was basketball, where any kind of success has been near impossible to come by.

This year, however, Jeff Lebo and the Pirates gave us a March run to remember in what many hope will be a stepping stone to conference titles and NCAA appearances.

Coach Lebo was stunned upon his arrival back from Utah.

“It’s unbelievable,” Lebo said. “It’s 4:30 in the morning (and) we’ve got a packed housed here. It’s just overwhelming for our kids and our program and we couldn’t have done it without this group of people and the Pirate Nation. We had a lot of games at home and we don’t win those games without their help.

"It’s so nice to see them come out and give us a chance to thank them for their help.”

Maurice Kemp showed the type of class act that he is during the five-game championship streak. Kemp won MVP honors for the tournament and was most humble in doing so.

“This whole postseason has been incredible,” said Kemp. “I really feel like we reached our potential as a team coming down the stretch. We played so hard the whole year and for it to pay off like this is just incredible. We worked so hard. We were so close as a family. ... To share this experience with my brothers, I couldn’t think of a better way to end my career.”

Akeem Richmond took the “shot heard round the Pirate Nation.” His three-pointer as time expired was the game winner in a thrilling 77-74 win over Weber State in that CIT title game.

Richmond had struggled in his past couple of games. When it counted, he found nothing but net.

Despite the struggles, Richmond took that last shot with plenty of confidence.

“My Dad always told me to shoot with confidence,” Richmond said. “If you look at the tape, you can see me running down the court after I shot it because I knew it was going in.”

Lebo decided not to think too much about the future after the CIT run.

“We’re just going to enjoy the moment right now,” he said. “We’ll think about the future here in the next couple of days. We’re just trying to soak it in and my wife tells me to smile and enjoy it and that’s what I’m going to try and do the next couple of days.”

That smile on Lebo’s face may stay for a while.

“I kind of felt like the late, great Jimmy Valvano with nobody to hug,” said Lebo. “It was an exciting game for us (to win) on the road in that environment. They had an unbelievable environment to play in — 10,600 people there. (It) was really sweet for our team.”

Sweet for the Pirate Nation as well and hopefully just the start of much success in hoops for East Carolina.


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Brian Bailey Archives

04/09/2013 01:46 AM


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