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I got the surprise of my life when people were complaining about a DR editorial. You mean the BYH column is not the...

Dooley, ECU looking for breakthrough recruits

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East Carolina basketball coach Joe Dooley talks with guard Isaac Fleming on the bench during a game against Wichita State on Feb. 6, 2019.

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BY RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Sunday, February 17, 2019

East Carolina basketball coaches have been hot on the recruiting trail, including for Boston 7-footer Charles Coleman who also is a target by Wake Forest, Duke and DePaul, as the Pirates have faced difficulties on the court for another season.

A 79-69 loss to Memphis on Wednesday night, a game in which ECU led 61-60 with 8:11 remaining in Minges Coliseum, dropped the Pirates (9-15 overall) to 2-10 in the American Athletic Conference and recruiting was a focus during the postgame news conference.

That was partly because Memphis and coach Penny Hardaway are prominent in recruiting rankings and the Tigers this year start five seniors, including Jeremiah Martin who has developed into an explosive 6-foot-3 shooting guard and he scored 31 points against ECU.

“I don’t know how long it will take, but we are recruiting high-level guys and we just have to get a couple of them,” said Pirate head coach Joe Dooley, whose team hosts Tulsa today. “We have to develop guys in the program and when we get guys, we have to develop them and retain them.”

The Pirates have been led this year by freshman 6-6 forward Jayden Gardner, last year’s main recruiting target by Jeff Lebo and then Dooley to secure his signature. The in-state product has been slowed some lately by opposing AAC clubs, but he still is averaging 17.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per game for the season.

ECU’s only senior who plays significant minutes is point guard Isaac Fleming, who transferred in from Hawaii in 2016 and suffered an injury to the head versus Memphis. That led to freshman wing Tyler Foster playing 33 minutes and he finished with 10 points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals, one turnover and a block.

“We are not going to be able to get McDonald’s All-Americans, but we need guys who can develop and be really good players,” Dooley said. “They can be part of getting this thing up, and the other point is we have to get to the point where we have upperclassmen. … Something we have tried to emphasize (in recruiting) is that we are in a great league when you look at the number of guys from our league in the NBA, and there will be more in the future.”

Tulsa (15-10, 5-7) is 3-1 in its last four games and coming off an 80-57 victory at last-place Tulane on Thursday. The Golden Hurricane was 18-of-23 from the free throw line, and 6-7, 222-pound bench player Jeriah Horne scored 20 points with 12 rebounds.

ECU will travel to Tulsa, which also beat Temple 76-58 last weekend, on March 3.

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

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Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

ECU

August 24, 2019

Here’s our East Carolina beat writer Ronnie Woodward’s shot at ECU football’s starting lineup against N.C. State. First-year Pirate coach Mike Houston should be releasing the team’s Week 1 depth chart Tuesday during his news conference.

Here it is:

OFFENSE

QB -- Holton…

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August 24, 2019

First-year East Carolina football coach Mike Houston has mainly established his starters and is in the fine-tuning phase of August as the noon kickoff against N.C. State in Raleigh is exactly one week away.

ECU was established as a 17-point underdog to the Wolfpack and has the task of trying to…

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August 24, 2019

East Carolina begins its first season under coach Mike Houston one week from today and is aiming to finish better than its three straight 3-9 records from 2016-18. The Pirates haven’t had a winning record since going 8-5 in 2014 under Ruffin McNeill.

Where are the wins in this year’s…

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August 24, 2019

New East Carolina football players reported to preseason camp on Aug. 1, about eight months after athletics director Jon Gilbert and football coach Mike Houston reported to Greenville as instant leaders of a new era of Pirate athletics.

It is in many ways still a rebuilding project, which Gilbert…

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August 22, 2019

East Carolina’s first athletic event of the academic year started and stopped and continued again and stopped again, then was canceled because of inclement weather.

ECU’s women’s soccer team was not able to finish Thursday night’s match against George Mason, even with the…

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August 22, 2019

First-year East Carolina defensive coordinator Bob Trott and first-year Pirate football head coach Mike Houston were similar with their words Wednesday that they think they know what to expect from N.C. State's offense, but they said preparing for an opponent during Week 1 of the season is…

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August 21, 2019

Many intricacies and focuses for East Carolina football players have changed with Monday's start to the fall semester and the N.C. State game a little more than a week away, but Pirate coach Mike Houston had no plans of intensity dipping with the transition from preseason workouts to in-season and…

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August 20, 2019

No more waiting for Holton Ahlers or the rest of the East Carolina football team or Pirate fans.

With next Saturday’s noon kickoff at N.C. State getting closer and closer, first-year Pirate coach Mike Houston officially announced after Tuesday’s practice that Ahlers will be his…

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August 20, 2019

Quarterback Holton Ahlers led East Carolina’s football team in rushing last season with 592 yards and six touchdowns on 119 carries.

New offensive principles are in place at ECU under a new coaching staff, leading to some intrigue about Ahlers and his run availability. Would this staff, led…

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August 19, 2019

East Carolina first-year football coach Mike Houston described the Pirates' No. 1 center, Branden Pena, as a "tough joker" on Saturday.

The football-centric praise showed how far the relationship has come between Pena and Houston since December.

"Branden Pena is a guy that I didn't know his name…

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