Johnson City, Tn. – As the final horn sounded, the mercy of North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams could clearly be seen. The Tar Heels played all 16 players listed on the roster, and would’ve probably played the intramural champions and members of the football team if NCAA rules allowed it. No player for the Tar Heels played over 23 minutes, with starters James McAdoo and Dexter Strickland showing the way in minutes played. What clearly could’ve been a record setting day for the Heels in points allowed, points scored and just about every other statistical category, was more of a sign of sportsmanship and the chance to get some role players in the scorer’s book. Anyone who watched knows this game could’ve been 120-24, easily.
So what did ETSU gain (besides a paycheck) for this game? With such a young roster, valuable experience, film and the chance to play against one of the most storied programs in all of college basketball. Players like Lester Wilson, Rashawn Rembert and John Walton will continue to grow as players, which may not help much this season but as upperclassmen will pay huge dividends. The adversity that this group of young men are having to overcome is something Buc fans haven’t seen in a long time, you have to go back to late in the Alan LeForce era and the early days of Ed DeChellis to find a team so short on scholarship athletes and division I experience. The Bucs move on Friday to Ole Miss, where all things point to another difficult outing, even if grades are posted on time and Jarvis Jones gets cleared (Hint: get your butt in gear ETSU and get the grades up).
As we continue through what potentially could be a very difficult season, we’ve seen to this point out of these “Young Bucs” what true ETSU Pride really is. They’ve gone out in every game, played as hard they can, given the best effort they can night in and night out. It’s clear it will continue to be a struggle as they learn to play together, and play at the Division I level. We’re going to continue to see this team struggle, frustrating losses potentially could be the norm this season and not the exception along with some plays that will leave even the most novice of fans