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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
By Brian Bailey

Pirates bogged down by basics


A rebuilding basketball program certainly has little room for error. Just ask East Carolina.

Mistakes are magnified and the little things go a long way in making the difference between a win and a loss.

Turnovers and missed free throws have cost the Pirates dearly.

Turnovers are simply a necessary evil in basketball. A team that never turns it over never gets it inside for easy baskets. However, teams that turn it over 17 times also rarely get it inside, because the other team gains possession.

I’ve often felt that players should treat the basketball as if it were a sphere made of gold. Unfortunately, so many players are trying to make the perfect pass and then they turn the ball over.

Football coaches have often said that three things can happen when you pass the ball, and two of them are bad. Basketball coaches don’t have an option where that’s concerned.

Going into this season, first-year ECU coach Ricky Stokes knew that his team might struggle shooting the basketball. Stokes and his staff have spent long hours working on the shot. That work will have to continue because this team continues to struggle making baskets.

It is baffling to many as to why some teams just can’t shoot free throws very well. After all, there is no defense on a free throw; it’s just the shooter and the basket. I look at it as a personal issue. Each player should do whatever it takes for that particular player to hit 70 percent or better. Maybe it is a mind game, but players at this level should be able to knock down a free shot.

Corey Rouse is East Carolina’s lone threat inside. He HAS to make his free throws, because teams are already sagging back on him. Rouse will continue to get fouled down low and he has to convert for this Pirate team to have success.

“I know I sound like a broken record, but limiting turnovers and making free throws are two things that we have to continue to do to be able to win games,” Coach Stokes said after East Carolina’s 56-48 loss to Western Carolina on Saturday night.

Stokes was very disappointed with the 31 percent shooting from the field and the 3-19 effort from the three point line.

“It’s disheartening not being able to win at home," he said, "but maybe we need some time to work. We have about eight days to try to get better.”

The wait is up for Ingram

A team desperate for a boost gets one this week with the return of Jeremy Ingram.

Ingram won’t be the savior for this program but he has the ability to bring the team some life. Ingram should prove to be an instant crowd pleaser at Williams Arena.

As I have written and said before, they just don’t come any better then Jeremy Ingram. The young man always has a smile on his face and really loves and cares for other people.

He and Corey Rouse were a two-man wrecking crew several years ago at Kinston High School. Coming out of Kinston, East Carolina had hoped to get both Rouse and Ingram, but Jeremy opted for Wake Forest over ECU, Maryland, N.C. State and others.

Ingram then got lost in the “guard shuffle” with the Deacons and saw little hope for playing time. He came to East Carolina last December and had to sit out a year. That year ends this week, with Ingram set to make his debut in the Winthrop game this weekend.

Ingram has had knee problems and a couple of surgeries. Still, he can leap out of the gym and should provide a great spark for this Pirate team.

Earlier this year I asked Jeremy about what he would be thinking when he finally got to play in a real game.

“Wow, it’s been a long time,” Ingram said. “I just can’t wait, though, to finally get to play again. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Pirate fans, and this reporter, are also really looking forward to it!

Send an e-mail message to Brian Bailey.

Click here to dig into Brian Bailey's Bonesville archives.

02/23/2007 01:32:21 AM


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