Pirates Open Exhibition Season vs. Newberry
Pirates Open Exhibition Season vs. Newberry
The East Carolina men's basketball team tips off the 2004-05 season at home when the Pirates take on the Newberry College Indians inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum on Thursday, November 4 at 7 p.m. The game will be the first of two exhibition games before the Pirates open regular season play on Wednesday, November 17, against Pepperdine in the first round of the BCA Invitational at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C.
The game can be heard live on the Pirate Sports Network and on ECUpirates.com, with 17th-year "Voice of the Pirates" Jeff Charles calling the play-play and sixth-year color analyst Si Seymour along side. Greg Pierce returns for his third season turning the dials across the 19-station Pirate Sports Network.
The Pirates have faced Newberry three times in school history, with two of the three games being played in Greenville. Thursday's exhibition game will be the first meeting between the two schools since Newberry knocked East Carolina College out of the North-State Conference Tournament in 1961. The two schools met in Greenville during the 1957-58 and 1958-59 seasons with ECC winning both games by final scores of 96-65 and 82-71.
East Carolina will be without the services of senior Moussa Badiane during the exhibition season after he sustained a thumb injury practice this past Thursday.
With only three returning lettermen scheduled to participate in the game, the Pirates will rely heavily on All-Conference USA candidate Mike Cook to provide points. Cook, an All-Conference USA Freshman Team performer last year, is East Carolina's leading returning scorer at 10.4 points per game.
Cook came of age late last season, blossoming into one of the top guards in C-USA at the end of the year. During the final nine games of the season, he averaged 14.0 points per game and led the Pirates to four wins in their final five regular season contests.
ECU will rely on Cook for a lot of offense with Badiane out, but others are expected to step up as well. Cook will have to depend on his fellow underclassmen to elevate their games as well.
Junior Corey Rouse, who has shown flashes of brilliance throughout this career, is looking for a breakout season in 2005. He has averaged just under four points and over three rebounds per game in his career, but now playing out of the shadows of departed seniors Erroyl Bing and Gabriel Mikulas, Rouse will have the opportunity to prove his worth. Sophomore Japhet McNeil, the team's leader in assists and steals last season, is an excellent on-the-ball defender and his court vision should help the Pirates' transition game.
Along with the returnees, East Carolina has some very capable newcomers who will add depth and make the competition fierce, especially in the backcourt. Freshmen Marvin Kilgore and Tom Hammonds will both become scoring threats as the season progresses and rookie Josh King is expected to give the Pirates' a much-needed three-point threat. Junior Mike Castro ranked among the top five rebounders in all of junior college basketball last season, and freshman Charles Bronson gives the Pirates another 6-10 player on the interior, while freshmen Jonathan Hart is a superb athlete that excels in the transition game.
Scouting the Newberry College Indians
Newberry averaged 70.0 points per game last season and shot 43.8 percent from the field. However, it lost its top two scorers. Junior guard Michael Dease is the Indians' leading returning scorer and averaged 8.6 points per game and shot 37.6 percent from the field as a sophomore. Along with Dease, Newberry returns its top three-point shooter, sophomore Tommy Burke. As a freshman, the Newberry, S.C. native made 40.2 percent of his three-point field goal attempts (37-of-92) and averaged 7.3 points per game.
Tymere Zimmerman, the team's leading rebounder last season with 6.2 rebounds per game, is one of two players on the Indians' roster with Division I experience. Zimmerman spent his freshman season at South Carolina State before transferring to Newberry. Freshman Chris Johnston redshirted at UNC Asheville last season.
Of those nine returning letterwinners, only Dease, Zimmerman and senior Elijah Frasier, the Indians' leader in assists and steals a year ago, averaged over 19 minutes per game.
Herrion To Speak To PC Members Prior To Game