GREENVILLE, N.C. – East Carolina opens its 90th season of intercollegiate basketball Tuesday, when it hosts South Carolina State inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.
The game will be streamed live via ESPN+ with Si Seymour and Patrick Johnson on the call.
The contest is the first of three home games to begin the year. The Pirates wrap their initial homestand in quick succession with non-conference matchups with Canisius and Western Carolina before heading to Conway, S.C., for the Myrtle Beach Invitational.
ECU returns a core group of five lettermen led by senior J.J. Miles, who returns for his third season after the NCAA granted all student-athletes an extra year of eligibility due to the global pandemic. Miles is the Pirates’ top returning scorer after averaging 9.8 points per game in 16 games a year ago. Brandon Suggs also averaged more than nine points per game last season in 18 games played, while Tristen Newton and Tremont Robinson-White each averaged more than eight points per game. Robinson-White and senior Ludgy Debaut are the only returnees to play in each of the Pirates’ 19 games last season.
Head Coach Joe Dooley, entering his eighth season at the helm of the program, added nine new players to the roster during the offseason including a trio of Division I transfers: Alanzo Frink (South Carolina), Vance Jackson (Arkansas) and Wynston Tabbs (Boston College).
East Carolina compiled an 8-11 overall record and 2-10 American Athletic Conference mark during the COVID-affected 2020-21 campaign. The team was forced to pause basketball activities twice during the league season and missed six AAC contests as a result.
In Season Openers
East Carolina holds a 63-26 record in season openers dating back to a 23-17 victory over the Greenville All Stars in its first-ever contest in 1931. The Pirates have won a remarkable 21-straight campaign lidlifters, last losing in the first game of the 1999-2000 campaign – a 58-53 setback to Robert Morris.
Joining The Crew
Veteran coach Steve DeMeo was named an assistant coach for the program prior to the 2021-22 season after spending two years at St. John’s University. He also spent six years as head coach at Northwest Florida State College while holding additional lead roles at Division II Newberry College, as well as Monroe College and Bronx Community College. Numerous players that he recruited, coached and developed have been drafted by National Basketball Association teams including Charles Jenkins (Golden State Warriors), Ryan Gomes and MarShon Brooks (Boston), Herbert Hill (Utah) and Marcus Douthit (Los Angeles). In 2019, Oregon-signee and future 2021 NBA First Round Draft pick Chris Duarte was selected as the NJCAA Division I Player of the Year, the first player to earn that honor under DeMeo.
Against The MEAC
The Pirates are 16-5 against current members of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. In addition to South Carolina State, East Carolina will also battle Coppin State Nov. 27.
Eighth Season In The American
East Carolina is in its eighth men’s basketball season as a member of the American Athletic Conference after spending 13 years as part of Conference USA. The Pirates look to eclipse the six-win mark in league play for the first time since joining the circuit.
On This Date
ECU is 0-1 in games played Nov. 9. The Pirates fell to JMU on that day back in 2018 in Greenville.
East Carolina hosts Canisius Friday, Nov. 12, at 7 p.m.