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View from the East
Monday, July 18, 2011

By Al Myatt

Pirates' Paul hungry for game action

Miguel Paul
(ECU SID image)


Pirates' Paul hungry for game action
Solomon sold on chance to keep catching passes
Summer highlight: Pirates helping Pirates help others
McNeill stays on course with weight loss program
Updated Football Recruiting Thumbnails
Stallworth brings pedigree, power to ECU O-line
Rice, ECU, USM Claim Spots in Final Rankings
ECU should ignore Appalachian
Football impacts the diamond
Holland coaching tree branches out
Connors makes way for movie
Q&A with Brian Mitchell
Q&A with Lincoln Riley
One-on-One with...
(ECU Media Relations Photos)

Bonesville features writer Ron Cherubini conducted Q&A exchanges with East Carolina offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley (left) and Pirate defensive boss Brian Mitchell (right). The net result: candid glimpses into the thinking inside the program heading into next season. Links to the interviews:

Lincoln Riley Q&A
Brian Mitchell Q&A

By Al Myatt
All rights reserved.

Sitting out doesn't seem to be exactly the right term when it comes to East Carolina basketball transfer Miguel Paul. The Pirate point guard, who came from Missouri, has been waiting out the period mandated by the NCAA for transfers to become active, but to imply that he's been inactive would be inaccurate.

Last season, Paul felt like he was part of ECU's first winning season since 1996-97. A lack of playing time with the Tigers was the reason he left Missouri but he's looking forward, not back. That's also the direction he's looking to lead the Pirates as Brock Young's successor.

His time away from active competition has given Paul some perspective.

"It's been real humbling," he said. "It was hard sitting on the bench the whole year. During the game, you see mistakes and things that go wrong. I think it helped me out a lot. I've never gotten to just sit and watch. I'd see certain aspects of the game that will help me next year with my play but it was real hard just practicing. Then when the games come, just sitting on the bench. It was very humbling."

Paul averaged 12.1 minutes at Missouri during the 2009-10 season, playing in 31 games. He averaged 3.5 points and was fourth on the team in assists with 52. He made 38.5 percent of his 3-point attempts. He scored a career-high 15 points against Nebraska and had 14 points in 21 minutes against Chattanooga. He totaled six assists on two occasions.

Paul did what he could to help the Pirates during Jeff Lebo's first season as head coach.

"I felt like I was a real big part of the team's success," he said. "On the scout team, I challenged Brock and Corvonn (Gaines) and them. Sometimes the scout team beat the starters and that just made them work even harder. I believe I was a real big contributor to the team. Even though I wasn't a captain, most of the time I broke the team huddle and stuff and just had a team leadership type role. ... That's how I feel I helped.

"I went and competed every day in practice even though there were days I was just upset that I couldn't play. I didn't let it show. I just played hard in practice and challenged the players who were starters and in the rotation. That led to a lot of success and school history."

ECU's 8-8 mark in Conference USA was its best ever. The Pirates also took their first two wins ever in the Conference USA Tournament and made their first postseason appearance since 1993.

Although Paul has yet to play a minute for the Pirates, he'll be a team captain in 2011-12. After helping Kathleen High to the Florida 4-A state finals as a junior and senior, he chose Missouri over offers from Clemson, Memphis, Miami of Florida, South Florida and St. John's. He averaged 14.0 points, 4.2 assists and 4.9 rebounds for a balanced high school team. He was listed among the top 15 high school point guards nationally.

"I felt like, coming out of high school and the success that I had, I could have had a bigger role and could be a real good player," Paul said. "There was nothing wrong with Coach (Mike) Anderson and his system (at Missouri). I just felt like I deserved more minutes and a bigger role."

Lebo was a big factor in Paul's decision to relocate to ECU.

"It was Coach Lebo, plain and simple," Paul said. "His history, he played guard. He knows from the guard standpoint what's going on. I wanted to embrace that and felt like it would be an honor to play for him. When they heard I was leaving Missouri, they started recruiting me and I accepted, ASAP."

Paul took public speaking during the first session of summer school. He's taking Spanish this session. He's majoring in communications. He aspires to play professionally but when his career is over he hopes to go into coaching or become a broadcast analyst.

Apart from getting ahead academically, the Pirates are working hard on developing their skills this summer.

"The summer workouts are tough but they're going real good," Paul said. "We shoot and lift and we eat every morning."

Listed at 6-foot-1 and 165 pounds, Paul said he's added weight.

"I've put on some weight — not too much — but I think that will help me next year with the long season and the physical play," he said.

Paul said the summer workouts are structured for the Pirates to be off on Wednesdays.

"Nobody takes it (off)," he said. "Everybody shoots all five days. We lift Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Every day we go eat at the dining hall."

Paul feels the time the ECU players are putting in now will pay off later on.

"That's going to help the team in a very big way," he said.

The Pirates are working out at 7:30 a.m. weekdays. The early starts are one reason Paul feels he will make a successful transition from the Big 12 to C-USA.

"The Big 12 had a lot of good guards," he said. "But I believe they had more big men. (C-USA) is a real good, guard-oriented conference. The competition level doesn't drop off that much at all, if any."

Paul is looking to provide whatever the Pirates need in order to continue the positives that were generated last season.

"I'm a good scorer and I can pass but I'll do whatever the team needs me to do to win," Paul said. "We have a lot of new faces who can score and do a lot of things as well. If coach needs me to go out there and distribute and get 10 assists, I can. If he needs me to score 30, I can also do that, or if he wants me to play defense and stop the other team's best player, I'll do that and let the other players score. It's just whatever it is. I'm a team player."

E-mail Al Myatt

Al Myatt Archives

07/18/2011 01:42 AM


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