Pirates' Early Christmas Present
by Brian North

ECU's basketball team will get a big boost Sunday when they travel to Rock Hill, South Carolina to face Winthrop. Wake Forest transfer Jeremy Ingram will be eligible to play in his first game for the Pirates. The Kinston native will bring a load of athleticism and quickness to the court that should help the Pirates.

But don't expect Jeremy to be a savior right away. The sophomore hasn't played in a competitive game in almost two years. Ingram saw limited action as a freshman at Wake Forest and re-aggravated a knee injury which has hampered him ever since. But after several surgeries, Jeremy says he is as healthy as he's ever been. Sitting out a year per transfer rules was probably a blessing in disguise. It gave him adequate time to rehabilitate his knee. Now it's a matter of working off the rust.

When Jeremy played at Kinston high school, he was a good defender with rim rattling explosiveness. He averaged 19 points and 8 rebounds per game for the Vikings. His one weakness was a consistent outside shot, but he has three point ability, something the Pirates desperately need.

The other quality Ingram brings to the program is good character. You will never meet a nicer, more genuine person than Jeremy. He has a megawatt smile and a kind word for everyone he comes into contact with.  He also has the ability to make everyone feel good about themselves with the simplest of greetings.

No doubt Jeremy will be a good teammate and a great leader. But will he be enough to lead ECU to its first winning season in nine years? We know he and Corey Rouse have great chemistry. They helped lead Kinston to the state finals in 2001, and back to the regionals in Greenville 2002. Here's hoping he is the missing ingredient in Ricky Stokes' plan. Either way it will be fun to see a guy I've been watching for seven years suit up in the purple and gold. Call it an early Christmas present for all Pirate fans.

Brian North