Bonesville: The Authoritative Independent Voice of East Carolina
Daily News & Features from East Carolina, Conference USA and Beyond

Mobile Alpha Roundup Daily Beat Recruiting The Seasons Multimedia Historical Data Pirate Time Machine SportByte™ Weather
College Sports in the Carolinas

View from the East
Thursday, March 21, 2002

By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer

Special Night in February Helped Sway Rivers


How big was a 51-46 win for the East Carolina men’s basketball team over then-No. 9 Marquette on Feb. 26?

That victory may continue paying dividends for the Pirates over the next four years with the career of incoming freshman Belton Rivers of Frederick Douglass High School in Atlanta.

Rivers made his campus visit to ECU on the occasion of the Pirates’ landmark initial win over a Top 10 team and was impressed enough with the Pirates’ frontcourt and the atmosphere at Williams Arena in Minges Coliseum to make Greenville his college home.

“I picked East Carolina because I felt it was the right decision for me,” said Rivers, who averaged 32 points and five assists, according to Astros coach Frank Robinson.

“I liked the coaching staff,” said Rivers, who stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 190 pounds. “The feel I got from the players was that I would fit in on their team. I like the frontcourt people that they have.”

Capable frontcourt personnel can be a big enticement for guards. ECU’s Moussa Badiane made the Conference USA All-Freshman team as he set a school season record with 87 blocked shots and also a league mark with his average of 3.6 blocks per game.

Gabriel Mikulas followed by his 2000-01 freshman season as Colonial Athletic Association rookie of the year by averaging 11.8 points and 6.1 rebounds. And sophomore small forward Erroyl Bing averaged 12.6 points and 8.7 rebounds.

Rivers was also impressed with ECU’s home court environment.

“I liked the crowd,” Rivers said. “I liked how they stormed the court after the win. It felt like everybody was a family.”

Robinson said Rivers is getting the job done in the classroom as well as on the court. He has a 2.9 grade point average and will be eligible to play next season, according to his coach.

“He’s a leader off and on the floor,” Robinson said. “He comes from a family-oriented background. He has a strong mother.”

Rivers’ mother, Patricia, approved of Belvin’s college choice, according to Robinson. Rivers’ father is deceased.

Other schools who recruited Rivers included South Carolina, Tulane, Kansas State, Rutgers, Appalachian State and Mississippi State.

“He’s got arms like a cannon,”Robinson said. “He can play the point. He can play the two guard. He’s got a nice shot. He can score. He’s very competitive. He doesn’t back down from anything.”

Classes later start means more 3-a-days

East Carolina football coach Steve Logan said ECU’s later start for classes in August may mean as many as 10 days of three practices each for the Pirates. “Normally, we have about four days before classes start but this year we’ll have about a week more which is a good thing for a young team,” said the Pirates coach. More teaching time can only help an offense that will have a first-time starter at quarterback.

Devils start spring workouts

The Pirates’ 2002 season-opening football opponent, Duke, is getting ready to start its official offseason session. The Blue Devils, who have lost 23 straight football games, begin spring practice on Monday (March 25) with a workout in shorts and helmets. They will have 15 practice dates, including a spring scrimmage at Wallace Wade Stadium on Saturday, April 13. The Blue Devils will go in full pads for the first time on Friday, March 29.

Coach Carl Franks will have a youthful squad with just two seniors — quarterback D. Bryant and linebacker Jamyon Small. In comparison with other ACC teams, Duke has by far the smallest group of seniors. Following the Blue Devils are Virginia with eights seniors, Maryland (12), North Carolina (13), Clemson (14), Wake Forest (15), N.C. State (17), Florida State (23) and Georgia Tech (29). ECU had 20 rising seniors on its spring roster. Duke’s projected roster also includes 17 juniors, 29 sophomores, 13 redshirt freshmen and 22 true freshmen.

There will be some changes on the defensive side of the ball after Duke allowed an average of 44.6 points per game in 2001. New defensive coordinator Ted Roof will coach the middle linebackers. Brad Sherrod switches from coaching the inside linebackers to coaching the outside linebackers. Denny Creehan, who coached Duke's outside linebackers last season in addition to serving as special teams coordinator, will coach the Blue Devil secondary.

There will also be some shuffling among playing personnel, including former tailbacks Brendan Dewan and Jamin Pastore, who have moved to linebacker and corner, respectively. Other moves include Chris Best from noseguard to offensive guard, Cory Broadnax from outside linebacker to defensive tackle, Micah Harris from linebacker to defensive end, Chad Rice from linebacker to defensive end, Terrell Smith from corner to safety, Orrin Thompson from defensive end to defensive tackle and Demetrius Warrick from defensive end to defensive tackle.

Rehabilitation from surgery will keep five Duke players on the sideline during spring workouts. That group includes long snapper/fullback Seth Carter (shoulder), linebacker Kurt Miller (knee), linebacker Paul Pugsley (knee), linebacker Jim Scharrar (shoulder) and offensive tackle Drew Strojny (shoulder).

Junior tailback Chris Douglas, who ran for 841 yards last season, is the top returning rusher. Douglas also is Duke’s top returnee in four more statistical categories — receiving (26 catches in 2001), scoring (48 points), all-purpose yards (1,849) and kickoff return yards (775).

Bryant passed for 2,454 yards as a junior and is second only to State’s Philip Rivers in career passing yards in the ACC. Douglas, who has 1,342 career rushing yards, is third among returning ACC rushers in career yards behind Tarence Williams of Wake Forest and Bruce Perry of Maryland.

No one at ECU should take the Blue Devils lightly despite Duke’s recent struggles. They will start getting ready for the Pirates on Monday, are significantly more experienced at the key position of quarterback, will be highly-motivated to break their losing streak and will be playing on their home field when ECU comes to Durham. Duke hosts ECU on August 31.

Send an e-mail message to Al Myatt.

Click here to dig into Al Myatt's Bonesville archives.

02/23/2007 12:58:51 AM

©2001-2002-2003-2004-2005-2006-2007-2008-2009-2010-2011-2012-2013 All rights reserved.
Articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files and other content originated on this site are the proprietary property of
None of the articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files or other content originated on this site may be reproduced without written permission.
This site is not affiliated with East Carolina University. View's Privacy Policy. Advertising contact: 252-349-3280; Editorial contact:; 252-444-1905.