Take on Pirate Basketball
From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, January 8, 2002
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9
Huggins Validates Sour Reputation; Gabe is Back!
Conference USA Hoops a
Hit at ECU
Too bad Bearcat coach Bob Huggins doesn't savor the
'Greenville Experience' as much as the rest of us.
It wasn’t a sellout, but it was a
dynamite atmosphere for hoops on Saturday night. More importantly, when
big-time hoops came to Williams Arena, the Pirates almost pulled the
Cincinnati arrived in town with the
swagger of a nationally ranked team. I had always heard that Huggins lacked
a bit in the personality department. That point was proven at the Friday
It was all Huggins could do to shake my
hand when I introduced myself. He never cracked a smile. He was miserable.
The only positive thing he said about
anything was that he thought that Bill Herrion was doing a good job at East
Carolina. Everything else was lip service. Huggins didn’t want to do an
interview, he didn’t want to be in Greenville, and, at least in appearance,
he could have cared less about East Carolina.
On game night, Huggins was the Bearcats'
sixth man. He was on the court as much as anyone else in the Cincinnati
line-up. I mean he was actually, physically, on the floor when he shouldn’t
Huggins barked and intimidated, trying
to and succeeding in bullying a weak officiating crew from Conference USA.
But even Huggins had to realize that his
team didn’t play the harder of the two teams on the floor on Saturday night.
Cincinnati has more talent then does
East Carolina. But credit the Pirates with giving Bob Huggins something to
think about in the future.
Returns at Last
Gabriel Mikulas, the CAA Rookie of the
Year last season, makes his 2001-2002 debut tonight when the Pirates visit
UAB. Mikulas may not start against the Blazers, but he is expected to get
plenty of playing time.
“We are still talking about what to do
with Gabe,” said Pirate assistant coach Greg Herenda on my radio show on
Monday night. “He may start, or he may come off the bench. We think he’ll be
a bit rusty, but his legs will be fresh, and that could be a big factor.”
Mikulas is the type of player that makes
everybody on the court a little better when he is in the line-up.
Ironically, in his absence, all the other players have gotten a little
better. They didn’t have a choice.
Gabe missed 13 games because of the
NCAA’s red tape. But that’s in the past, and the future begins tonight for
one of ECU's top players.
The Pirates worked out in Birmingham on
Monday night at Bartow Arena. Herenda said the team had a long trip, but
that energy was plentiful at last night’s workout.
How Tough is Winning on the Road?
You just can’t grab a victory on the
road in college basketball, can you?
Or CAN you?
Just when the ACC looked to test that
theory, the league’s top gun was shot down on Sunday in Tallahassee. Who
would have believed that Duke’s Jason Williams would miss six free throws
down the stretch of any basketball game?
Before that, Virginia, North Carolina
and Georgia Tech also lost at home.
Over in Conference USA, UAB was dropping
its opener at home to Louisville.
That means the Blazers will be that much
more in need of a win against East Carolina in tonight’s game. UAB was
picked third in the National Division of Conference USA, while the Pirates
were picked dead last in the American Division.
ECU's level of play against Cincinnati,
though, was not a last place effort, and it will take that kind of effort
and then some to beat UAB down in Birmingham.
If you watch tonight's game on the tube,
stand up and give Mikulas a standing ovation when he enters the game. Or,
better yet, save that for Saturday's home game against Charlotte.
It has been a long 13-game stretch on
the sidelines for the outstanding sophomore from Argentina. Pirate fans
can’t wait to see Gabe back. Erroyl Bing also can’t wait to get some help
Bing scored 17 points against a very
good Cincinnati inside game on Saturday. Bing deserves all kind of credit,
because this Pirate team wouldn’t be close to .500 without Coach Bill
Herrion’s other outstanding sophomore.
The Pirates will be underdogs tonight,
but that appears to be this team’s strength. And finally, this squad is at
full strength with the return of Gabriel Mikulas.
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02/23/2007 01:22:19 AM