Take on Pirate Hoops
From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, February 6, 2002
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9
Hoops Tradition Got Major
Lift from Big Occasion
It was surely one of
the best days in Pirate basketball history.
Granted, this program
has struggled in the tradition department through the years. Case in point,
this was the FIRST ever alumni basketball game.
What an outing it
The guys were great.
I never expected all of the hugs and handshakes that I received from this
outing. Guys were coming up, introducing me to their wives and kids.
You could see the
pride in their faces. They truly missed the camaraderie that comes with
sports and being a member of a team.
Most of the former
players had all picked up a pound or two. I fit right in. I told them, “When
you guys were here and in shape, you thought I was fat. Now, you think I’m
in better shape because I look like you guys!”
Blue Edwards was the
feature attraction. Blue’s acceptance speech when he was named the Colonial
Athletic Association’s Player of the Year back in 1989 brought tears to
those who heard it. Blue continues to be a class act today.
“I really looked
forward to seeing everyone,” Blue said. “This gives us all a chance to come
home, like a family reunion. I think it’s important to the program that the
former players still feel a part of the process.”
On Friday night on
our WNCT-TV 9 newscast, I showed the videotape of Blue when he shattered the
backboard in a preseason slam-dunk competition organized by former Pirate
coach Mike Steele. On Saturday, I asked him to take us back to his thoughts
at the time.
“I knew I was behind
in the competition,” Blue said. “I knew that I had to do something, so I
decided to go for it. I had no idea that the backboard would shatter. I
still have some of the glass from the backboard in my room.”
Blue’s not the only
one with some of that shattered glass.
Some of the guys
looked the same. Lester Lyons, Ronnell Peterson, Alico Dunk and Gus Hill
looked just like they did when they were in school.
Kenny Murphy looked
even better. Murph was a rail back when he played, and now he looked even
smaller. Still, Murphy scored 24 points and hit the game winning three in
the final minute.
“I’ve been playing
with some of the NBA guys in a summer league in Raleigh for the last couple
of years,” said Murphy. “I love the game and have enjoyed playing some great
Coach Bill Herrion
enjoyed the game and saw it as the tip-off of a permanent tradition.
“When I got here, I
couldn’t believe that there wasn’t some kind of alumni game,” said Herrion.
“I think this is very important to your program.”
Ike Copeland played
his greatest three days of basketball in the ’93 CAA tournament. He told me
it was great to play in the arena again, and to look up and see that CAA
championship banner hanging in the coliseum.
Sure, there were some
aching bodies on Sunday. But for these former Pirates, the chance to make
one more “shining moment” in college basketball was an opportunity that they
weren’t going to let slip away.
Pirates Make Special Day That Much More Memorable
East Carolina lost to
Saint Louis by 50 last season, and then by 13 earlier this year.
But Saturday was a
special day for Pirate basketball. Perhaps it was the presence of all of the
former players that caused the basketball to find the rim so many times in
the second half.
ECU played its best
half of the season in beating Saint Louis on Saturday.
The Pirates' zone
defense completely shut down the Billikens' offense. That zone was led by
freshman Moussa Badiane.
Moussa did a great
job inside. At one point, he blocked three shots in about 90 seconds to
really get the crowd into the game.
Moussa says he has
enjoyed playing this year for East Carolina. His English is still a bit
broken, but he says he’s adjusted well. He really enjoys hearing his name
from the crowd after a blocked shot.
“It definitely gets
me going,” said Badiane. “Our crowds have been really good, and I’m glad
that they like what I’m doing.”
Yes, we all like what
“The Moose” is doing.
What a day for Pirate
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02/23/2007 01:22:08 AM