Take on Pirate Hoops
From the Anchor Desk
Friday, March 8, 2002
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9
Unique Twist: Losing
Season with a Winning Feel
Herrion's Big Project Gets Off the Ground
season is over.
program, though, is just beginning.
Pirate basketball team didn’t win a championship. But it did so many things
that will help East Carolina hoops to move on to the next level.
Bill Herrion worked
his tail off all year long. Through thick and thin, Herrion never lost focus
and his team played with that same type of intensity.
Though the program
isn’t close to where the Pirate coach wants it to be, the season was a great
ride, an investment that will soon pay dividends in Conference USA.
I remember the days
leading up to the first-ever league game, when ECU hosted Cincinnati. Bill
Herrion was worried. He honestly didn’t know if his team could stay on the
floor with the league’s best team.
give you a dose of “coach-speak”, a line of bull just to be quoted. Herrion
was absolutely honest.
On the record and
off the record, Herrion feared the worst.
“What we have to
find out and find out soon is to what level we are looking at as far as
talent goes,” said Herrion back in January. “Are we one player away, five
players away, can anyone play in this league?”
Herrion’s worst fear
was for a huge crowd to come out for the game, and the Pirates to lose by
forty, or worse.
But on that night,
it was East
took the fight to the Bearcats, building a nice lead in the first half. The
Pirates eventually lost by ten, but some of the questions were answered.
Dance Invitation Might Be in
Store During Mikulas, Bing Era
would be answered in the next several weeks. Could this team win a league
game? Could this team beat a ranked team? Could this team win on the road?
O.K., two out of
three isn’t bad.
Coach Herrion told
me that if the league had offered him five wins in Conference USA before the
season started, he would have taken them and ran.
The Pirates had a
winning record at home in this powerhouse league in their very first year.
The win over then 9th-ranked Marquette was the obvious highlight of the
Winning on the road
is something that mature basketball teams find a bit easier. This is a very
young Pirate squad. Winning away from Williams Arena will serve as the next
big hurdle for this team to master.
Gabriel Mikulas and
Erroyl Bing will only get stronger and better in the off season. These two
young men are the cornerstones of Bill Herrion’s big project.
Moussa Badiane was
an All-Freshman selection from C-USA for 2002. Moussa was a force on
defense, especially when the Pirates ran their 2-3 zone.
Badiane has already
told me that he can’t wait to get into the weight room, to add as much
muscle as possible for next season.
This first ever
experience in the league was a wild ride for sure. Looking back, I think
Bill Herrion can see progress in every corner.
This program has
proven that it can compete in Conference USA. This team will someday compete
How soon that
someday gets here is anybody’s guess. Coach Herrion may not say it, but you
get the feeling that he would like nothing more than to see Mikulas and Bing
lead this team to an NCAA tournament bid before the pair leaves ECU.
It could happen, but
it’s going to take a lot of work.
And that’s Bill
Herrion’s favorite thing to do!
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02/23/2007 01:22:38 AM