11 New Players: What will this year’s East Carolina team look like?
You read that right. East Carolina head coach Joe Dooley has brought in 11 new scholarship players for this coming season. Dooley and his staff were able to bring in this massive group and create a good class balance in the process. The recruiting class consists of four players out of high school and seven from Junior College. ECU’s team now consists of four freshmen, three sophomores, five juniors, and one senior. Let’s take a look at the new faces as well as the two returning players.
Charles Coleman: 7-0 Center from Boston, MA
- Held offers from Duke, Wake Forest, UCONN, and Pitt
- Looks like Dwight Howard
- Averaged more than five blocks per game in three of four years in high school
Tristen Newton: 6-5 Guard from El Paso, TX
- Averaged 37.4 points per game his senior year
- Lead the state of Texas (6th nationally) in scoring his senior season
- 3,266 career points
Brandon Suggs: 6-6 Guard/Forward from Woodstock, VA
- Averaged 14 points per game as a senior with Massanutten Military Academy
- Held offers from Auburn, Georgia Tech, and Texas A&M
Logan Curtis: 6-3 Guard from Baltimore, MD
- 2018-19 Maryland Intercollegiate Athletic Association All-Conference Team
- Four-year Letterman at Calvert Hall College High School in Baltimore
Incoming Players from JUCO
Tyrie Jackson: 6-2 Jr. Guard from Tifton, GA
- Spent two years at Virginia Tech (red-shirted 1st season)
- Helped Northwest Florida State College reach NJCAA Division I Elite Eight last season
Ludgy Debaut: 7-0 Jr. Center from Les Abymes, Guadeloupe
- Spent two years at Northwest Florida State College
- Helped them to back to back conference titles and national Elite Eights
Edra Luster: 7-0 Jr. Center from Oakland, CA
- Spent two years at Tyler Junior College in Texas
- His field goal percentage last season was 50.9%
Bitumba Baruti: 6-7 Jr. Guard from The Democratic Republic of Congo
- Spent two years at The University of Washington (red-shirted 2nd year)
- Shot 38.2% from three last season with Chipola College (27-5)
- Had six double-doubles last season
Tremont Robinson: 6-1 So. Guard from Little Rock, AR
- Shot over 40% from three during his first season with Northwest Mississippi CC
- Averaged nearly 20 points, leading his team to a final NJCAA ranking of 12
- Held offers from Auburn, Mississippi, Virginia Tech, and California
J.J. Miles: 6-7 Jr. Guard from Garysburg, NC
- Shot 34.6% from three last season with Cape Fear CC
- Spent his freshmen season at Chipola College, playing in 29 games
Miles James: 6-6 So. Guard from Inglewood, CA
- Shot 37% from three with Palm Beach State College
- Named to First-Team All Conference as a Freshmen
Jayden Gardner and Seth Leday are the lone returnees on this year’s team. They were both starters last season up until Leday’s season-ending injury at Wichita State late in the season. Leday was averaging 11 points per game in 24.9 minutes. He doesn’t have the best shooting touch but he is a freak athlete and an elite defender.
Gardner was the runner-up for AAC Rookie of the Year and a unanimous selection to the All-Freshmen Team. He averaged 16.3 points and 30.5 minutes as the Pirates’ only consistent scorer. Teams seemed to be more successful stopping him as the year went along with double teams and traps as they noticed he had little help around him. This year, with all of the new talent, Gardner will look to build upon his historic freshman season.
ECU’s non-conference schedule is far from difficult. Their toughest test will be at home against Liberty on November 16th. Liberty made the NCAA Tournament as a conference champion and beat Mississippi State in the first round. Other than that, the most challenging games are probably at James Madison and a home match-up with Charlotte. I believe that they will pretty much cruise through but have a couple of down games and finish 11-2 in their non-conference schedule.
The conference schedule will be a huge step up in competition, as the AAC will likely have three or four teams go to the big dance this season. There are multiple teams that are going to be extremely tough to compete with like Memphis and their top recruiting class and Wichita State who should finish in the top-three of the conference. I think that the Pirates will be a very good team at home and steal a couple on the road to go 9-9 in conference play. That would give them an overall record of 20-11 and a potential trip to the NIT. This would be a huge step in the right direction for this historically bad program.