ON PIRATE SPORTS
From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
By Brian Bailey
Motivation key for Pirates and
By Brian Bailey
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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
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
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.
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