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View from the East
Thursday, May 2, 2002

By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer

Holcombe-Faye paved way for early Foster verbal


Herrion gets jump-start on 2003

Four days after getting the last signature on a scholarship to complete the incoming recruiting class, East Carolina men’s basketball coach Bill Herrion has apparently gotten his first commitment for next year’s class from 6-foot-8 junior Keith Foster of Winston-Salem Reynolds.

Foster averaged 13 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots during his junior season as the Demons won their third straight NCHSAA 4-A championship.

The Reynolds program produced rising ECU senior point guard Travis Holcombe-Faye. That was an important connection for the Pirates in terms of attracting Foster, according to Reynolds coach Howard West.

Holcombe-Faye’s younger brother, Whit, finished at Reynolds this season and has signed with Radford.

“Keith is good friends with Travis and Whit,” West said. “He’s been to Greenville to see Travis play and he liked the campus. He met Coach Herrion and was comfortable with him.”

Foster’s numbers aren’t overwhelming but he plays on a very talented team. He might average more points if he was the go-to guy on a less-talented team. The Demons’ array includes 6-foot-7 Reyshawn Terry, who has offers from N.C. State, Clemson, Wake Forest and Tennessee. Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and Connecticut are also expected to figure in the recruiting battle.

Reynolds forwards Eddie Green and Justin Bohlander are also getting national recruiting attention.

With Foster ostensibly in the bag, Herrion is expected to have two additional scholarships to offer next season. Brahin Howard, a frontcourt reserve last year, is not expected to return because of academic issues.

The Pirates are known to be interested in point guards Jeremy Ingram of Kinston and Casey Long of Fayetteville Seventy-First, who are both currently juniors.

“We’ll probably take a frontcourt player, a point guard and then the best available player,” Herrion said of his plans for next year’s scholarship allotment.

Foster appears to be the frontcourt guy.

Reynolds juggernaut going national     <<< Top of Page >>>

Reynolds should contend for an unprecedented fourth straight 4-A state title next year. West has lined up a challenging schedule that should give his club a chance to develop competitively against some of the best teams in the nation.

The Demons will play in a Texas tournament in December that will include powerhouse Oak Hill Academy of Mouth of Wilson, VA.  Los Angeles Westchester, New York Rice, St. Patrick’s of Elizabeth, NJ, Memphis Washington, Houston Westbury Christian and Seattle Rainier Beach will also be in the field.

Reynolds also has berths in the Dell Curry Invitational in Charlotte and the Primetime Shootout in New Jersey, where it will meet Jersey City St. Anthony, the program that produced former Duke star Bobby Hurley.

West has also contracted for a game to be played at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill against the Akron (OH) St. Vincent-St. Mary’s team that is expected to feature rising senior superstar LeBron James, 6-7. James might not be available, though, because he reportedly has been offered $9 million to play overseas in Italy, a move that would circumvent the NBA’s policy on taking high school underclassmen.

A shoe company is reportedly the source of the overseas hoops offer. James has been projected as a talent the magnitude of Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. The shoe companies are obviously anxious to get him under contract.

Schedule difficulties     <<< Top of Page >>>

One problem with the promise the Pirates showed in winning five Conference USA games last season is that some teams are no longer interested in playing ECU.

Herrion is friends with Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser which caused some speculation that it would lead to a game between Wake and the Pirates. That apparently won’t be happening.

UNC-Greensboro and Appalachian State are also reluctant to continue playing ECU although each managed homecourt wins over the Pirates before Gabriel Mikulas and Moussa Badiane joined the team.

Incidentally, the NCAA is examining the rule against amateur participation in foreign pro leagues that resulted in sanctions against Mikulas and Badiane last season. The situation internationally is that there are often no competitive situations for young players to develop overseas if not for the leagues in which some players receive payment. Foreign countries often lack the scholastic or AAU competitive options available to players in the United States.

Virginia Tech will play in Greenville next season and there is the possibility of an ECU game with Campbell in Fayetteville. One wonders if the Pirates will schedule College of Charleston where Herrion’s brother, Tom, was recently named head coach.

There is more off-season interest in ECU basketball than I can ever recall. Fans are following recruiting, anticipating a more competitive presence in C-USA and talking about when the Pirates will make the NCAA Tournament field.

Grainger Stadium is ready     <<< Top of Page >>>

The City of Kinston has done a $1.5 million renovation on Grainger Stadium since ECU hosted Tennessee in a baseball super regional last season. The improvements involve replacement of the grandstand seating, which should make for a comfortable setting when the Pirates host the C-USA Tournament on May 21-26 at the home of the Kinston Indians.

More improvements are being negotiated by the stadium's home tenant, the Kinston Indians. The City's lease with the Class A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians expires after this season.

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02/23/2007 12:58:58 AM

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