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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, December 16, 2008

By Brian Bailey

Pirates get set for ACC run

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

East Carolina basketball coach Mack McCarthy looks at his upcoming schedule and wonders if his athletics director had a hand in the slate.

The Pirates visit N.C. State tomorrow night, host No. 10 Wake Forest on Monday, and then hit the road to South Carolina, playing at Coastal Carolina and Clemson.

“I think playing three ACC schools out of the next four smacks of having Terry Holland’s finger prints on it,” McCarthy joked. “But I can’t really blame him for this schedule. It will be a great measuring stick for our program to expose our weaknesses and prepare us for the rigors of C-USA play, which starts January 6th against Tulane.”

Last year, East Carolina stunned N.C. State in Greenville. It was ECU’s first win ever against a team from the ACC.

Coach Mac says that game will certainly play a part in this year’s rematch.

“I’m pretty sure last year’s game will result in them taking us seriously,” said McCarthy. “But at the same time, it (last year’s upset win) gave us a level of confidence that not only effects this game but the start of this season for us.”

Sam Hinnant led the way in the upset over the Wolfpack with a career high 30 points. Hinnant’s three pointer with 2:09 left in the game snapped a 64-64 tie. The Pirates went on to win the game 75-69.

“Last year, I got really hot against them,” recalled Hinnant. “It was a great night for me. Hopefully one of us will have a night like that this year. It doesn’t have to be me. We’ve got so many weapons to choose from.”

One thing is very apparent in this 8-1 start. This Pirate basketball team is very unselfish. This is truly a team. It is a young team, but with leaders like Hinnant it can certainly be a winning team.

“We do have a lot of chemistry,” said Hinnant. “Any one of us can score on any night. We are really tight. We’re a family and we love each other.”

Coach McCarthy likes his team’s chemistry. He also says the Wolfpack appears to have things moving in a positive direction.

“They’ve been pressing a lot,” said McCarthy. “They’ve only played one game that was even close. The game in Charlotte against Davidson was the only game that they’ve let any team be in. They are guarding better and they are really up-tempo on offense. They’ve got good chemistry, something that I think was missing last year. This is really a good basketball team.”

I certainly don’t think many thought these two teams would enter this game with a combined record of 13-2. That’s the case, though, and the way the Pirates are playing this should be a most entertaining game!

Happy Birthday to Drew!

My buddy Drew Steele celebrated his 24th birthday on Monday. Drew is the son of former East Carolina basketball coach Mike Steele. Drew is also the star of the annual Drew Steele-Skip Holtz Golf Classic, which in three years has raised over $500,000, which will go towards the Drew Steele Center for the special needs population in Pitt County.

Drew started his day with a “guys only” lunch at Hooters in Greenville. Drew was the star of the restaurant, getting birthday hugs and taking pictures with the staff. It was quite an honor to be one of the “guys” invited to the occasion.

Drew then hosted his annual night of birthday bowling. I couldn’t make that because of my radio show, but word is that it was a great time for everyone.

I’ve written before that Drew has taught me more about life than I’ll ever realize. He is a bright light that shines on everyone he comes in contact with.

Happy Birthday Drew! I’m looking forward to your weekly Saturday morning call for breakfast this week!


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12/16/2008 01:25:17 AM


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