Phenom Hoops is just like everyone else… they are ready to see talent back on the court this season. We have discussed a ton around the high school level, but we are as equally as excited about the upcoming college basketball season. Which is why we are looking and previewing teams for this upcoming season. Let’s dive into what we are looking at for each team.
East Carolina (Last Season Record: 11-20)
Scoring defense: 72.2ppg
Rebounding margin: +0.6
Turnover margin: -0.4
Shooting percentage: 42.1%
3-point percentage: 28.1%
Free-Throw percentage: 72.2%
There shouldn’t be any discussion on who the top player is for East Carolina this year. Junior Jayden Gardner has simply produced since Day 1 in Greenville. He averaged over 16 points as a freshman and backed that up with a sophomore season in which he averaged 19.7 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game. What may be the only confusing thing around Gardner is how he ended up on the second-team All-Conference team last season. He will again be the guy for the Pirates and it may be hard to wrap your head around on how he can surpass those numbers from last year.
Experience on top of experience:
What will be interesting for Coach Joe Dooley and East Carolina is what strides they make this season especially with so many players returning from last season. That also includes all five starters from last year returning. Most of those players saw solid minutes last year, helping with the chemistry on the court. The staff can only hope that chemistry continues over to this season and they can take a step forward as a program.
Good amount of size:
One thing that East Carolina will have if they need is size. You have Jayden Gardner (6’7), JJ Miles (6’7), Bitumba Baruti (6’7), Ludgy Debaut (7’0), Charles Coleman (7’0), Edra Luster (7’0), and Derrick Quansah (6’11). That doesn’t include a few 6’6 prospects. Now, not all those names will see significant minutes but it will be interesting to see how they may use their size to help on the defensive side.
Improvement in 3-point shooting:
The Pirates didn’t’ find too much success, if any, from behind the arc last season, shooting just 28 percent from behind the arc which ranked 344th in the country. Tristen Newton and JJ Miles were their two biggest threats from deep, shooting over 250 attempts but only making a combined 82 three’s. They finished the season shooting 32 percent from the arc, which ranked near the top for the team. Will ECU be able to make strides in this area to help open up the offense and balance out the scoring attack? We shall see.
Freshmen coming in:
East Carolina didn’t have a big recruiting class but they certainly made the most out of their spots. They were able to secure a big grab from point guard Noah Farrakhan, a 6’2 prospect that was regarded as a highly-touted prospect for much of his high school career. He played in big-time programs at IMG and The Patrick School. ECU was also able to grab Derrick Quansah, a 6’11, 225 center/forward from Hargrave Military Academy. He certainly brings more size and a developing skill set to the court. How much will fans see them on the court? Time will tell but the Pirates did well in grabbing talent with limited spots.