Thursday, January 14, 2010

East Meck Eagles the best 8-9 team in North Carolina?

Here's something you don't see everyday: the team that is leading the Southwestern 4A, nearly halfway through the season, doesn't have a .500 record.

The East Meck boys, the 2008 N.C. 4A champs, are 8-9, but are tied with Providence atop the conference standings at 4-1. And because East rallied to beat the Panthers in OT Tuesday, the Eagles are the top dog for now.

East Mecklenburg plays at South Mecklenburg (2-13, 0-5) Friday night.

"We had to go through some things," East coach Jason Grube said. "This team had to learn me a little bit and then we got some football players back who were totally out of shape, then they had to learn their roles. And that's a tough thing for high school kids to do."

In the summer, East looked like it would have a strong season, led by senior guards Paris Roberts and Jeremy Ingram, who started on the 2008 state champions. East beat private school power Raleigh Ravenscroft by more than 20 points in the summer, won a summer league at N.C. State and nearly won another in Virginia.

But just before school started, Roberts transferred to United Faith in southeast Charlotte, where he is repeating his junior year.

"With him," Grube said, "we had a really good team. Without him, we had to adjust."

The turmoil didn't end there, however. Grube had to suspend seven players before a game with Mallard Creek Dec. 1 for what he called "undisclosed team violations." East played with six players: two freshmen, two sophomores, a junior and a senior. Grube moved junior varsity players up to fill out his team.

"It's what boys do," Grube said. "They challenge you, and we had to set the tone."

The Eagles have had a wicked schedule, playing N.C. 4A powers West Charlotte and Vance and playing three regional powerhouses in Christmas tournaments. Grube feels like his team has played one of the toughest schedules around. It's paying off now. East has won three straight since the Christmas tournament.

Ingram is averaging 27 points per game in the conference and 26.4 overall. "If he doesn't get player of the year in the conference," Grube said, "there needs to be an investigation."

Senior Dustin Harp and sophomore Jalen White, who had been averaging 6 and 7 points are averaging double figures against conference teams. The Eagles, despite their record, are looking dangerous.

"Five of the kids played on that state championship team and walked around here last year, as juniors, like they were big time," Grube said. "That permeated through the team this year. They thought they would show up, put the uniform on, like some of the other teams at East have done, and get the job done. We had to have a rude awakening. Those guys realized they can be good but they can't just go through the motions."

Southwestern 4A League Standings
East Mecklenburg 8-9, 4-1
Providence 11-5, 4-1
Myers Park 9-6, 4-2
Ardrey Kell 11-6, 3-2
Butler 5-10, 2-3
Independence 3-13, 1-4
South Mecklenburg 2-13, 0-5
Friday's Games
East Meck at South Meck
Ardrey Kell at Providence
Myers Park, bye
Butler at Independence


Anonymous said...

I'm pleased that the basketball team has gotten itself together, but for coach Grube to state that the Football players were "totally out of shape" is not only a slap in the face of these young but also to the East Meck football program. These young men had just finished a 14 game season advancing to the third round of the State Playoffs. A season that started back in January 2009 with weightlifting and conditioning. These young men had to overcome many physical and very stressfull Emotional obsticals over the course of the year. These boys were TIRED and worn out, but they had to go to basketball the next Monday after their Friday night loss. If coach Grube had any CLASS he would have choosen his words more carefully.

Anonymous said...

There is a difference between basketball shape and football shape.

Anonymous said...

then butler is probably the best 5 and 10 team in the state, look for them to make a run

Anonymous said...

Butler sucks! Stitt should have just moved on after sitting a year while being penalized for living out of district.

Anonymous said...

maybe losing 1-2 games, but 9? Why not play them as able until they get into shape? It's not ther fault the seasons overlaps. Butler postponed their season waiting on their players, give these student atheletes a break.I hear a couple have a gpa of over 4.0 too. Make points in practice coach, not in games.Play them and win.

Anonymous said...

ive been around charlotte basketball watching my kids and other games for a while and ive seen east play a few time. i'm sure points were made in practice and i guess if those dont work then the only other option is to make them in games. come on no one really thinks a coach or anyone for that matter enjoys losing, but if it has to be done to get the kids attention and get things going in the right direction then sometimes coaches do that. i mean lets not forget east won a state championship a couple of years ago. like him and his methods or not maybe the guy knows what hes doing

Anonymous said...

Bad for team chemistry to pit "football" players against those that don't play another sport. Many students play more than one sport. Some coaches think it is actualy a good idea.Doesn't sound like this one does.

Anonymous said...

Maybe an indiction of why Paris Roberts left, as well as another star player in recent years?? Coaching sure is not easy, but does this guy have any compassion? It could inspire some loyalty and dedication.

Zebra91 said...

Some of you leaving comments are obviously not very intelligent. Maybe he should of said "basketball" shape, because anyone with common knowledge knows there is a difference. Have you ever been interviewed before with a recorder next your face? Probably not. Before this rebuilding year his program has produced more wins over the last 5 years than any in CMS. Oh, and 1 of his former "star" players did transfer and oh, by the way, they won the State Championship the same year. A major part of coaching are the life lessons you teach kids. So is 9 games worth it? The answer is yes when these kids call you up 5-6 years later and say THANK YOU COACH! Don't hate a coach til you've been a coach! from the longtime Zebra!!