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Previewing East Carolina

Scouting Report
Season Stats

ECU Offense 05-06Four FactorsPercentNat'l RankeFG%44.1324Turnover Rate22.8250Off Reb Rate32.1173FTM/FGA27.580ECU Offense 06-07Four FactorsPercentNat'l RankeFG%45.4274Turnover Rate18.329Off Reb Rate29.0289FTM/FGA23.2197

East Carolina has what I like to call Clemson Disorder (fn. 1). That is, the Pirates fancy themselves a perimeter-oriented team--39% of their field goal attempts are threes, which is the 70th-highest proportion in the country--but they aren't a good (or even decent) three-point shooting team. They rank 331st in three-point field goal percentage, barely hitting more than a quarter of their attempts. It was the same deal last year: 38.7% of their shots were threes, only 29.5% of those threes went in.

ECU has a bunch of guards and mid-sized wing-type players whose games aren't suited to playing inside the arc. (Not that they're especially suited to playing outside of it, either.) Problem is, there ain't much in the way of alternatives. Sure, they'd probably be better off taking fewer long jumpers, but where do you shift those attempts? Tell the guards to attack more, to try to be players they aren't? Give more shots to the forwards? That's not really feasible: of the five players on the roster listed as forwards (uhh...Ricky? A tip from me to you: recruiting more tall reboundy guys would be a good idea.), one starts, one is injured, two barely play, and one has not logged a minute all season.

So what do you get when you can't shoot and are too short to grab a good proportion of your misses? An offense that ranks 301st in offensive efficiency.

Probable Starters:

Darrell Jenkins (5-11, 175) -- Jenkins is ECU's Everyman. He leads the team in scoring and field goal attempts (but isn't a good shooter) and he runs the point. Jenkins is sixth in the nation in assist rate, which is no small feat considering how poor a shooting team that East Carolina is. He sports a low turnover rate (18.6%) and has better than a 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. He's much better served being a distributor first and a scorer second, but the Pirates don't have the personnel that would allow him to take a secondary scoring role.

Courtney Captain (6-1, 185) -- Captain is the other primary scoring option, but he isn't quite as versatile as Jenkins. He takes most of his shots from three, hitting 31.1% (19-61) of them this season. He was no better in 2006 (48-148, .324), so he isn't just off to a bad start in 2007.

Cory Farmer (6-3, 185) -- Like almost everyone on the roster, Farmer is have problems putting the ball through the hoop (42.6 eFG%), but he is one of two Pirates with a passable three-point shooting percentage (34.8%).

Sam Hinnant (6-4, 190) -- Hinnant has had a bad case of the bricks all season: 26.1% (6-23) on twos, 26.7% (8-30) on threes.

Gabe Blair (6-8, 210) -- Gabe Blair, the token forward. Blair is the team's best rebounder but isn't very involved in the offense. Won't get to the line or block shots. Turns the ball over too much.


John Fields (6-9, 200) is a starter if he's healthy. He injured his shoulder on the 18th, missed ECU's last game (on the 21st), and I haven't been able to find anything beyond "out indefinitely." I guess it's possible that he'll be back on Thursday, and if that's the case, it's a huge boost to the Pirates. Take a look at his line in the scouting report and you'll see what I mean. He provides the efficient scoring that ECU desperately needs and he gets to the line a ton. Needs to work on that free throw shooting stroke, though--he has made just 36.7% (18-49) of his FTAs. Even Shaq would be appalled.

Fields has emerged as an excellent shot blocker (averaging 4.7 blocks/40 minutes), and, oh yeah, he gives the Pirates another player who is actually taller than 6-6.

Taylor Gagnon (6-6, 210) and Justin Ramsey (6-10, 250) have been getting about 22 minutes per game between the two of them, and neither will be doing much at the offensive end. Which is a good thing for ECU.

Wake Forest transfer Jeremy Ingram (6-3, 190) will see the most time off the bench--if he doesn't start.

ECU Defense 05-06Four FactorsPercentNat'l RankeFG%49.6163Turnover Rate21.7137Off Reb Rate32.1160FTA/FGA44.7302ECU Defense 06-07Four FactorsPercentNat'l RankeFG%46.367Turnover Rate19.7287Off Reb Rate34.2190FTA/FGA40.7247

East Carolina's strength of schedule ranks 329th, and the Pirates have played NCAA-average defense (giving up about a point per possession) against that slate. I don't think they'll give us too much trouble.

Pomeroy says 77-59 Wolfpack. I've got 75-61.


1.) Clemson hit 31.2% of its threes in 2006, which ranked 298th, all while taking the 66th-highest proportion of threes in the country. I may need to rename the syndrome, however; Clemson is taking fewer threes and making a higher proportion of them this season.