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Bailey's Take on Pirate Hoops

From the Anchor Desk
Friday, March 1, 2002
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9


Big Question Mark Removed About ECU Hoops


Another Watershed Event for ECU

The month of March is a celebration of basketball, so what better way to tip off the month then with a look back at East Carolina's own “March Madness.”

Tuesday night’s win over 9th ranked Marquette answered so many questions for this Pirate basketball program.

Bill Herrion may have never doubted himself as a coach, but he certainly had to wonder just what he was getting into at ECU. In fact, everyone who follows the program wondered just how long it would take the coach to make the Pirates competitive in their new conference.

You can stop wondering, because it’s now official. The Pirates can compete in one of the nation’s top basketball leagues.

This first year in Conference USA has had its ups and downs, but the season’s ups have certainly outweighed the downs.

The win over Marquette proved that East Carolina more than belonged.

“I think they are a good basketball team that really played hard,” said Marquette Coach Tom Crean. “I think Bill (Herrion) has done a great job and this team has a chance to do very well in this league over the next couple of years.”

The Pirates' victory was the first in school history over a Top 10 opponent. That’s another reason that you play in a great league if you get the chance. You just can’t beat a Top 10 team if you don’t play one year in and year out.

Sure, the CAA had very good teams. Richmond had a couple of great runs in the NCAA Tournament. But the Colonial Athletic Association will never compete with Conference USA.

C-USA has featured two Top 10 teams for most of the season. The Pirates beat Marquette at home, and played the Golden Eagles tough on the road. East Carolina also played Cincinnati tough at home in their very first game in Conference USA.

“I’m just really proud of this team,” said Herrion. “When we took over, some said that it might take five years to be competitive. I thought, ‘It’s not going to take five years.’ This was a big win in so many ways, but now we want more.”

The more could come in the Conference USA tournament in Cincinnati. The Pirates could be paired against a Saint Louis team that ECU has already beaten, or a struggling Houston team that has also already lost to the Pirates.

“When you get to a conference tournament on a neutral site, anything can happen,” noted Herrion. “I’m just thrilled that these kids are getting a chance to play in the post season tournament.”

ESPN Butchers Pirate Names

East Carolina’s upset over Marquette made national news, though some of the coverage lacked a little in the pronunciation department. Several of the ESPN announcers on SportsCenter butchered several of the Pirate’s names.

Gabriel Mikulas was pronounced mih-KULE-as and mih-KULL-as. Travis Holcomb-Faye was first Travis Holcomb, then Travis Holcomb-Frye. Kenyatta Brown became ka-NATTA and Moussa Badiane became MOOSE-AY ba-DEE-an or MOOSE-AY BAD-ee-AHN.

Give ESPN News some credit though. Their pronunciations were pretty much on the money. Of course, they decided to stick with Holcomb-Faye and Brown as a part of their story, to make it easier.

When you think about it, though, Moussa Badiane’s name has gone through a transformation since his arrival. When I asked Moussa just how his name was pronounced, he said it was MOOSE-ah. He took off before giving me his last name — on purpose.

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02/23/2007 01:22:36 AM

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