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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Friday, November 8, 2002
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

This was more than an exhibition, folks




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I haven’t seen that type of look on people’s faces since the days of Blue Edwards.

You know the look, when a player skies through the air and comes down with a thunderous slam.

Or the look when a player breezes past the opposition, and scoops home an easy lay-up.

That was the look at Williams Arena on Thursday night on several occasions, and they came after watching a couple of newcomers shine in East Carolina’s 96-65 victory.

Pirate coach Bill Herrion saw some good things, too.

“We have to learn to play hard for forty minutes every time out,” said Herrion. “For the most part I think we did that tonight.

“We still have plenty of work to do, but this team comes to work at every practice."

It was only an exhibition, but Thursday night’s game gave us a quick glimpse of some great athleticism.

Derrick Wiley came to East Carolina with the reputation of being an explosive scorer. He averaged just over 20 points per game for Moberly Community College last year. As a sophomore at Mt. Zion Academy in Durham, he played with NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady.

On Thursday night, he did a pretty good “McGrady” impression at times. Wiley scored twelve points and brought the house down with a couple of rim rocking slam-dunks.

Freshman guard Belton Rivers also turned some heads. He had at least one breathtaking assist of his six for the night. Rivers had extra duty in the exhibition opener, as Travis Holcomb-Faye sat out the game with an injury.

Holcomb-Faye is battling tendonitis in his Achilles tendon. He is expected back for Tuesday’s exhibition game against EA Sports.

Rivers was 5-7 from the field on his way to a 13-point evening on opening night.

Last year, the Pirates didn’t have the services of Gabriel Mikulas and Moussa Badiane in the early going, because of NCAA red tape.

This year, Gabe and Moose are eligible from the start. They should provide a nice one-two punch all season long. In the win over the USMC team, Mikulas led the Pirates with 19 points and 7 rebounds. Moose had six points, three blocks and five boards.

The guy that benefits the most from these two is Erroyl Bing. Without the twin towers of Mikulas and Badianne in several games last year, Bing was absolutely beaten senseless inside. In contrast, he begins the 2002-2003 season with an outstanding 18-point, 9- rebound outing in the opener.

“I thought all of our guys really played hard,” said Bing. “Especially the younger guys came in and really gave us a boost by playing so hard.”

Herrion continued, “I liked the look that I saw tonight. The guys did play hard for forty minutes, and that’s exactly what it takes to win in Conference USA.”

The Pirates are back in action in the preseason on Tuesday night, hosting EA Sports at 7pm. East Carolina will then have ten days to get ready for the season opener at Middle Tennessee State on November 22nd.

ECU opens its home slate on Sunday, November 24th, when the Pirates play host to Ole Miss of the SEC.

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02/23/2007 01:22:53 AM

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