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BAILEY'S TAKE ON PIRATE SPORTS
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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
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By Brian Bailey

Motivation key for Pirates and fans

By Brian Bailey
©2007 Bonesville.net
All rights reserved.

THE BRIAN
BAILEY SHOW

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I was very surprised at the crowd on Saturday night at Williams Arena.

After attending Wednesdayís wake at the coliseum, I didnít know what to expect for a 6 p.m. start against a nationally ranked team.

East Carolinaís Wednesday loss to Tulane featured one of the smallest crowds in years. There was no enthusiasm, no fire, and relatively little interest in the program.

Thatís a shame, because East Carolina had a great chance to beat Tulane. The Pirates had a chance to beat Rice the previous Saturday.

East Carolinaís effort, both on the floor and in the stands against Memphis, was good enough to get victories in those other two games.

Thatís the problem that Coach Ricky Stokes and his staff have to figure out. Itís the same thing for the Pirate Nation. How do you get fired up for every team that comes into Williams Arena?

Make no mistake about it. No one is saying the Pirates are overlooking any team. East Carolinaís RPI (Rating Percentage Index) is near the bottom at 318. At this juncture, the Pirates canít overlook any team!

Memphis coach John Calipari even said it. In describing the Pirate effort, Calipari said, ďThey showed no fear. The hard part for coaches is getting players to not only play this intense against big schools, but to go out and play against the other teams too.Ē

Part of the problem continues to lie within Conference USA. Rivalries are formed with schools close in closer proximity. In more compact leagues, players may have been recruited by several schools on the schedule. Former high school rivals may hook up against one another on the collegiate level.

That rarely happens in TEX-USA. Itís easy to say that teams should be fired up each and every time out. But ask yourself this question: Did you really want to see ECU against Rice or Tulane?

Memphis was nationally ranked. John Calipari is a household name. Fans came to see the best that Conference USA has to offer.

I guess itís human nature to feel better about battling and losing to a ranked team as opposed to falling to an unranked team. The bottom line, though, is that a loss is a loss.

I know itís hard to be patient, but we continue to get glimpses of hope for this team.

I really like John Fields. I think heís better at this point than Corey Rouse was early in his career.

The Pirates have several big men who are getting important minutes against great competition. Gabe Blair and Justin Ramsey both battled the best Memphis had to offer on Saturday.

Chad Wynn, a 6-foot-10, 230-pound freshman from Atlanta, is reportedly really playing well at practice. Heís red-shirting this year and will have four years of eligibility after this season.

I also really like Brandon Evans. Heís a thick, tough nosed player who will drive to the basket and even get you a rebound or two.

The Pirates also have four new recruits coming in for next year, led by point guard Brock Young from Raleigh Broughton. Young is having an outstanding year and may be the top point guard in the state.

For East Carolina to win this season in hoops, the team will have to somehow find that same type of energy that it found for Memphis. Itís the same for the fans.

It goes back to what weíve said about football for the last couple of years. Fans have to want to come out and see their team playing, regardless of the opposition.

Itís getting closer in football. Itís still a ways off in hoops.

BB

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04/21/2008 07:04:41 PM

 

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