Finding Local Angles
in National Sports

by Brian North

The Carolina Hurricanes have captured a lot of the local attention in their quest to win the state's first professional championship. But the NBA Finals also have several Eastern North Carolina connections.

The most obvious is Kinston native Jerry Stackhouse. The all-star guard is the first player of the bench for the Dallas Mavericks, and is the teams fourth leading scorer. Stack is trying to win his first title at any level. One of Jerry's teammates is Winston-Salem product and former Wake Forest star Josh Howard. Howard has found a home in Dallas and is really starting to blossom. Also on the Mavericks roster is former NC State star Josh Powell.

The Miami Heat boast the talents of guard Dwayne Wade. ECU fans remember Wade in his days at Marquette. And they were much happier days, the Pirates beat Wade's Golden Eagles a couple of times.

Former ECU baseball star Chad Tracy continues to have another solid season with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Tracy is hitting .280 with 11 home runs and 37 rbi's 64 games into the season, and he has the D-Backs in contention for first place in the National League West. And the minor leagues are littered with former ECU stars and eastern North Carolina products.

In NASCAR, Former ECU Football player Jeff Kerr is the jack man for the #1 team of Martin Truex, Jr. Kerr won the Pitt Crew Challenge in Charlotte in May.

Greenville native Will MacKenzie is playing on the PGA Tour for a second straight year. MacKenzie has played in 13 events and made the cut five times with one top 25 finish. He has made over $143,000 and is currently 167th on the money list. Will needs to be in the top 150 on the money list to keep his tour card.

Former ECU golfer Adrienne Millican just won the North Carolina Women's Amateur.

Former ECU soccer star Clyde Simms is playing professional soccer in the U.S. He is on the roster of the D.C. United. Simms has played in eight of the teams 12 games and started five of those. The defender is 10th on the team with 470 minutes played, but has yet to score a goal for the first place squad. He anchors a defense that is giving up less than a goal per game.

The NFL season doesn't start for a couple months, but the Canadian League kicks off regular season play this weekend. Several former ECU football players are playing in Canada this summer. Richard Alston plays for the Edmonton Eskimos, Keith Stokes suits up for the Toronto Argonauts, and Marcus Crandall throws passes for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

I am sure there are more local athletes out there playing their own unique sport. Drop me a line and let me know about them. In the mean time, enjoy watching these home grown athletes this summer.
Brian North