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Henry's Highlights
Thursday, November 6, 2003

By Henry Hinton
Broadcaster & Owner of Greenville Cable 7

Healing can begin with hoops


Cable 7 Audio: Replay Midweek Tailgate with Henry Hinton, Steve Logan, Mike Steele & guest Jim Leavitt...  Select clip...

It had been a long time since I heard a comment like, “Man, I’m glad basketball season is here.” In fact, I think Oliver Mack was the shooting guard and Larry Gillman was the coach.

Guess what? I heard it Wednesday.

Now it’s Bill Herrion’s turn to take center stage. Early returns from those who have seen the 2003-04 edition of the basketball Pirates have been pretty good. Herrion will put his new team on display tonight for the first time in a 7 pm exhibition against an amateur group called the World Young Stars.

Here’s the best thing about playing this traveling team. It is comprised of 16-18 year old international players who have… get this… eligibility. Given Herrion’s propensity for foreign players, he may try to kidnap the visiting squad's best players before they leave town.

No matter what you think of the news, Herrion got the best gift of all on Tuesday when Conference USA shed itself of Louisville, Cincinnati, Marquette, Depaul and South Florida.

Losing those teams and adding the likes of Marshall, Central Florida, Rice, Tulsa and Southern Methodist should add a few wins to the total at season’s end. All of those teams have had some success in basketball over the years but there is not one among them to equal those programs departing for The Big East.

Football is another story. One could easily argue that C-USA is losing little by trading those departing football members for the incoming universities. However, former ECU Coach Steve Logan commented on the Midweek Tailgate Show last night that he feels the conference maintains its substance but does lose something in the way of “image.”

The irony and hypocrisy involved in this new arrangement must certainly have not been lost on those folks and fans at Marshall. While it was never confirmed by any of the university presidents or athletic directors in the media, it is widely known that Marshall was given a “thanks, but no thanks” a year ago by Conference USA.

At that point there was a strong sense that Marshall did not personify the academic culture the conference wanted to present. Um… OK. Didn’t take long for that theory to take a dive.

When new commissioner Britton Banowsky went shopping he was looking for the strongest name teams available. Who could argue that Marshall was at the top of the available heap? Survival will do strange things to people… and conferences.

Give Banowsky credit. He pulled off a bit of a coup. In a week where the discussion could just be about the teams that bolted, it has instead turned to the changes in both leagues.

Good save, Britton. On the conference and the job. (Get it? He also saved his job.)

I am still astounded that South Florida got the Big East nod. Speaking with Bulls coach Jim Leavitt on Wednesday night, I got the sense he feels the same way. Leavitt has done a phenomenal job in Tampa.

Amazingly, he may eventually become a victim of his own success. Internet junkies and some media writers are beginning to say that Leavitt is not the guy to take USF into the Big East. Unbelievable!

Perhaps a win over the mighty World Young Stars tonight can begin to heal the pain of this awful football season.

By the way, if you haven’t already purchased your roundball season tickets, you can actually check out the available seats on Saturday morning. The ECU women will scrimmage at 10 a.m. and Herrion’s team takes the court at noon in a free Purple-Gold exhibition.

ECU staff will be on hand to show you the available seats and help you pick the best ones for this season.

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot. There’s also a football game at 2.

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02/23/2007 10:12:08 AM


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